Rohrabacher Invites Energy Secretary Perry to Visit San Onofre
WASHINGTON – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, in a Wednesday hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, invited Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to accompany him on a tour of the shuttered nuclear power generating facility at San Onofre.
The committee was deliberating over the Energy Department budget when the Orange County Republican engaged in this exchange with the secretary:
Rohrabacher: But let me just ask you this, Mr. Secretary. Mr. Shimkus of Illinois has a piece of legislation aimed at trying to offer us at least a moving forward with some kind of plan that will make it safer. Right now the nuclear energy that is being stored throughout the country, including San Onofre, California, is enormously expensive. And I’m not sure that it is safe to have all the nuclear energy stored like that. Shimkus would reopen the Yucca mountain debate. Do we have a position on that?
Perry: Yes sir, from the standpoint there are 38 states that have nuclear materials stored in less than satisfactory places, one of them being San Onofre. I have got great concern about San Onofre being in the circle of fire. It’s exactly the same geological area that Fukushima was in. So the idea that you could have a major earthquake and with that a tragic event. That whole inland empire, … it could be disastrous to our country.
Mr. Rohrabacher: Let me invite you to San Onofre and we can go through that together. Have you ever been there?
Perry: I’ve driven by it a number of times, but I have never been in it.
Mr. Rohrabacher: That will be a good thing to do, and I appreciate your leadership, and again leadership quite often means saying “No,” and that’s the hardest part of the job here in Washington is saying no to people who want money. So thank you.
On Thursday the House passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus, R-IL, by a margin of 340-72, Rep. Rohrabacher voting “yes.” The bill, which goes on to the Senate, directs the Department of Energy to move ahead with the Yucca Mountain Project, which would store nuclear waste at the southern Nevada location.