Environmental advocates are launching a television and web advertising campaign to pressure Congress to remove a $50 billion energy technology plank from the Senate stimulus plan, money they contend willbe used to promote nuclear energy and coal. Friends of the Earth is running this ad in Utah, home to the amendment's author, Sen. Robert Bennet.
The ad calls the $50 billion a "bailout" for the nuclear industry. White House officials have not said whether President Obama supports the proposal. Proponents insist that the Department of Energy will have wide latitude to spend the money, and that it will benefit all types of energy technologies, not just nuclear power.
"Congress wants taxpayers to waste billions more to build new nuclear reactors," the FOE ad's narrator says. "But with cheaper, safer energy sources, why is Sen. Bob Bennett sneaking a $50 billion bailout in the stimulus bill? Could it be the thousands in campaign cash he's taken from the nuclear lobby? Tell Sen. Bennett: no bailouts for the nuclear reactors."
A web campaign also targets Democrats leaders including Sen. Harry Reid.
House Democrats have indicated that they'll try to strip the provision out of the stimulus if it survives to a conference committee.