Kucinich Amendment Passes, Creates New Jobs + CA Wildfires + Ohio’s Nuclear Power Plants

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Kucinich Amendment Passes, Creates New Jobs

by Dennis Kucinich

Washington, Dec 6 – As the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to update the nation’s energy sources today, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) claimed a major victory with the passage of his amendment. The amendment would create new jobs and training programs for people to perform personalized building energy efficiency evaluations.

“This amendment will put America on a path toward making substantial increases in energy efficiency,” Kucinich said. “If we’re serious about energy efficiency, we need experts that can give an individualized analysis of opportunities to eliminate waste.”

The Kucinich Amendment provides training services to veterans, at-risk youth and unemployed people to provide comprehensive energy audits to homes, businesses and industries.

Energy audits provide information on where to get the greatest potential efficiency gains, at the least cost. Because the workforce that performs these audits is currently small, the audits are expensive. The Kucinich Amendment will create a new cadre of these experts.

On June 27, 2007, H.R. 2847, the Green Jobs Act of 2007, which provided for training for thousands of new green collar jobs, was considered in the House Committee on Education and Labor.  Kucinich, the only Member from Ohio on the Committee, offered an amendment to the act, which was accepted by Chairman George Miller (D-CA), and passed unanimously. The Green Jobs Act was included in HR 6, the energy bill which passed the House today.


Domestic Policy Subcommitte Hearing: What the October Wildfires Reveal About Preparedness In Southern California

by Dennis Kucinich

Washington, Dec 6 
– On October 21, a wildfire began in Witch Creek, a rural area in the foothills of San Diego. At the height of the disaster, 23 fires were burning. By the time all the fires were contained, 368,000 acres of land had been burned; 1,700 homes were destroyed; and 10 people died.

The damage caused by the Witch Creek fire could have been much worse were it not for the capable response efforts of local, state and federal emergency responders. The absence of additional fires in San Diego’s surrounding counties and in Northern California also helped make the story of southern California’s October wildfires a success.

This hearing will examine southern California’s preparedness for future wildfires.

What the October Wildfires Reveal About Preparedness In Southern California

Monday, December 10, 2007
9 a.m.
Fallbrook Public Utilities District
Board Meeting Room
990 East Mission Road
Fallbrook, CA 92028

Witnesses for the December 10 hearing include:

Panel I
•    Mr. Tony Morris, Founder and Researcher, Wildfire Research Network
•    Mr. Jeffrey Bowman, Former Fire Chief, City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department
•    Ms. Tracy Jarman, Fire Chief, City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department
•    Mr. P. Michael Freeman, Fire Chief, Los Angeles County Fire Department
•    Mr. Chip Prather, Fire Chief, Orange County Fire Authority
•    Mr. Ruben Grijalva, Director, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
•    Mr. Ron Roberts, Chairman, Board of Supervisors, County of San Diego

Panel II
•    Ms. Nancy Ward, Region 9 Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
•    Mr. Mark Rey, Undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Panel III
•    Mr. Steve Poizner, Commissioner, California Department of Insurance
•    Ms. Tracy Nelson, Chairman, La Jolla Indian Reservation


Kucinich Asks Ohio Governor For Greater Emergency Preparedness For Ohio’s Nuclear Power Plants

by Dennis Kucinich

Washington, Dec 6 – In a meeting with Ohio Governor Ted Strickland today, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), asked the governor to look into updating and improving emergency preparedness for Ohio’s nuclear power plants.

“Malfunctioning nuclear power plants in Ohio have become systemic,” Kucinich said. “Over the last several years, these facilities have become unsafe and unreliable because of poor management by FirstEnergy.

“Nuclear power plants in Ohio are famous to regulators for being mismanaged and FirstEnergy is responsible. There is something fundamentally wrong with the way FirstEnergy is running its nuclear power plants and the results of their poor management could be fatal.”

Kucinich has actively sought greater government oversight for FirstEnergy in looking out for the health, safety and safe water supply for Ohio’s residents. The Davis-Besse and Perry plants are on top of the largest supply of fresh water in the world.

Just last week, FirstEnergy’s Perry Nuclear Power Plant automatically shut down. The emergency closure occurred as two water cooling pumps malfunctioned and portions of the backup system failed. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is still investigating exactly what caused the water cooling pumps to malfunction.

Kucinich wrote a letter to the NRC last week, detailing the history of poor management at the plant and requesting a briefing a soon as is “reasonably practicable.”  The NRC has stated that their inspection would be finished in seven days, with a report to follow in 45 days. This incident was not the first time the Perry plant had an unplanned shutdown. Most recently, in July, the Perry plant closed for a month when FirstEnergy had to replace a reactor recirculation pump motor.

The Davis-Besse nuclear facility, also operated by FirstEnergy, nearly caused a massive disaster for the residents of Northern Ohio in February 2002. A football-sized crater was found in the reactor vessel and experts predicted the plant might have been as close as 60 days away from bursting the slim steel liner that stood in the way of the radioactive release into the air.

“It is vitally important that Ohio residents have an emergency preparedness procedure in place. We need improved planning, response and communication by federal, state and local governments to deal with the frequent reactor accidents.

“FirstEnergy’s record of incompetence and deception proves that their nuclear plants pose a hazard to public health and safety. The least the State of Ohio must do is adopt robust plans to provide Ohio residents with the safety and security they deserve,” Kucinich said.

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