Greenwash of the Week: Exelon’s nuclear astro-turfing

Written by Luke

Topics: Climate

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This week’s greenwash is a double-whammy: greenwash meets astro-turf. If you’re not familiar with that last term, it refers to a “grassroots” organization that’s actually the phony creation of a powerful, moneyed interest group.

As reported by the good people over at PR Watch and the Asbury Park Press, Exelon, a New Jersey nuclear power provider, paid to lobbyists to set up a front group called the “New Jersey Affordable, Clean, Reliable Energy Coalition.” The mission of the group was to support nuclear in general and license renewal for an aging local plant in particular. Exelon also funded a “study” on the supposedly high cost of shutting down the plant. From PR Watch:

The coalition will “advocate for nuclear energy and, more specifically, a 20-year license extension for the aging Oyster Creek plant” in Lacey, N.J. However, “the lobbyists neglected to point out they are being paid by Exelon Corp., Oyster Creek’s owner. There also was no mention of that fact on the coalition’s Web site until a news story about their being front men for Exelon appeared in Friday’s Asbury Park Press.” Since the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “is expected to reach a decision on relicensing by January,” reasons the paper, “much of the lobbyists’ energy will be directed at the decision-makers themselves.” Judging by a press release, one of NJ ACRE’s arguments is that “the loss of Oyster Creek and the need to replace its electricity in the face of steadily rising demand would cause significant economic hardship.” The release says shutting down Oyster Creek would cost $190 million in increased energy prices and $126 million in lost “economic activity,” citing a study funded by Exelon.

For more on the trouble with nuclear power, check out Toben’s post from last month. RAN recently signed on to this simple statement about nuclear power, reproduced in its entirety below:

We do not support construction of new nuclear reactors as a means of
addressing the climate crisis.
Available renewable energy and energy
efficiency technologies are faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner
strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than nuclear power.”

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