Tom Crawford’s scathing column on the Public Service Commission’s role in the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Georgia’s Power’s Plant Vogtle was encouraging. Maybe people are finally waking up.
I’ve attended PSC’s public commentary hearings for several years, and I can attest to Mr. Crawford’s observation “critics are treated like dirt.” At the last meeting, Commissioner “Bubba” McDonald announced, “We don’t need to hear the same thing over and over and over.” He then tried to move the public comment period to the end of the meeting instead of its appointed hour.
When that didn’t work, he limited the time each person could speak to two minutes. That, too, was not what had been promised. Eventually he allowed three minutes.
However, one of the first people to testify was Steven Prenovitz, an economist who analyzed Georgia Power’s annual reports for the last 10 years showing that power usage has been going down while profits are going up. Commissioner Doug Everett threatened Prenovitz with removal when his testimony exceeded the time allowed. That is when it became a shouting match.
In a way, I can sympathize with the commissioners. I don’t want to repeat the same thing over and over, but until the public begins to realize it is paying for a project that is 39 months behind schedule, $5 billion over budget and less than halfway complete, I will continue to protest.
Those two reactors may never be completed, but ratepayers will get nothing back. The most ironic thing about it is this: Georgia doesn’t need the extra power. We don’t need it now, as Prenovitz’ testimony proves, and we won’t need it in the future as more clean renewable energy sources come on line.
For more details, check out Nuclear Watch South.