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EnergySolutions Inc. That name has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? But whose energy problems is this company trying to solve?
Italy’s, for one. That country has 20,000 tons of nuclear waste that it wants to dump somewhere, so this Salt Lake City corporation says that, for several million dollars, it will gladly import Italy’s waste and bury it in Western Utah. Great. Our country can’t figure out what to do with our own nuclear nasties, yet this corporate huskster would throw open our borders to everyone’s trash. Send us your tired, your poor… your nuclear waste!
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Not wanting America to be turned into a global dumpster, some lawmakers are trying to ban the importation of radioactive foreign waste. EnergySolutions has responded by applying the handy, dandy solution used for wiping away all corporate problems in Washington: money. In the last four years, company executives and investors have upped their political giving tenfold, dumping nearly $400,000 into congressional campaign coffers. They’ve also ramped up the corporation’s spending on Washington lobbyists, topping a million bucks last year.
When confronted with the obvious charge that they are trying to buy votes, Energy Solutions asserted that it is merely buying “access” to lawmakers. As a corporate spokesman explained, campaign cash “gives us the opportunity to participate with elected officials.”
This is Jim Hightower saying … In other words, “the opportunity to participate with elected officials” requires a major cash transaction – a corruption that shuts out ordinary citizens, perverts the public interest, and mocks our democracy. This is a bigger, more toxic problem than nuclear waste, and one solution is to take the corrupt money out of the system with public financing of congressional elections. Learn more at www.publiccampaign.org .
“Nuclear waste company in Utah boosts donations,” Durango Herald, April 27, 2008