More pieces fell into place today regarding the new Administration’s desire to end America’s access to low-cost energy, and replace it with high-cost wind and solar power.
Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee heard from Treasury Secretary Geithner, who said that it’s the wrong policy choice to “subsidize” oil, gas and coal producers by allowing them to operate as they always have.
Today, Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that using the Yucca Mountain underground repository for storing nuclear waste is no longer an option. In fact, the Administration’s proposed budget eliminates all but token funding for the site.
Senator McCain sharply questioned Chu, who replied smugly that “we have better options” than Yucca Moutain (conveniently located in Senate Majority Leader Reid’s state of Nevada) for storing commercial nuclear waste.
The waste storage problem has long been considered a key barrier to the expansion of nuclear power generation in America, and there are no clear alternatives to the Yucca site. Today, America’s nuclear plants store their waste on-site, above ground.
What Chu and his boss, the President, are saying in veiled language, is that they have no intention of allowing nuclear power to stage a comeback. If these guys get everything they’re looking for, America faces a future of much higher energy costs. On top of the powerful disincentives to business investment and expansion that are also contained in the new budget, the net result will be a severely underperforming economy in the years ahead.