USCEA, ANEC &
ANEC stands for the American Nuclear Energy Council. USCEA is the United States Committee on Energy Awareness. These trade organizations were the critical advocacy groups for Yucca Mountain over the last ten years: USCEA for the energy industry as a whole and ANEC concentrated on the nuclear issues. These organizations are now being reorganized under the National Energy Institute (NEI), but many of their original activities will continue.
The most prominent citizen's group with pro-repository sentiments is the Nevada Nuclear Waste Study Committee, whose operation is now subsidized by the USCEA. Although there is a monetary linkage to the nuclear industry, members of the Study Committee have interests that are independent of the industry. In fact, the Study Committee predates the presence of industry lobbyists by a number of years and was funded out-of-pocket by citizens concerned over the safety of Yucca Mountain.
THE NEVADA NUCLEAR WASTE STUDY COMMITTEE
The first lobbying presence in Nevada on behalf of the Yucca Mountain repository was the Nevada Nuclear Waste Study Committee (NNWSC). Officially neutral on Yucca Mountain, the members of NNWSC are for the most part citizens who support geologic disposal in Nevada with the dual provisos that the site be studied thoroughly and the state be given sufficient compensation.
The Study Committee started by Jack Regan, the late Bob Dickinson, Dave Cooper, Hugh Andersen and a small core of Las Vegas businessman who first met in a garage. The Yucca Mountain safety issue was first raised by Jack Regan at the North Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce in 1984. This evolved into an independent group which only later made connections to the USCEA in 1985 through the efforts of Dave Cooper.
Bob Dickinson, Jack Regan and other Study Committee members traveled the state addressing what they viewed was obstructionism by Bob Loux and the Nevada Nuclear Waste Project Office. The two issues that drove the Study Committee members was the feeling that NWPO was conducting biased science and that their refusal to negotiate for benefits left the state vulnerable.
Bob Dickinson, first director of the NWSC brushed against Judy Treichel's lockstep opposition to Yucca Mountain as far back as May, 1985, at a debate titled "The Nuclear Waste Forum" at Clark County Community College. Representing the PRO side of the issue were Dr. Donald Vieth, then Director of the DOE's Waste Management Project Office and Robert C. Dickinson, for the Nevada Nuclear Waste Study Committee. The CON side was represented by Fran Polk of the Franciscan Center for Peace and Justice, Judy Treichel, coordinator of Clergy and Laity Concerned, and William Vincent, staff member of Citizen Alert. Obviously, battle lines formed early in the Yucca Mountain debate, with anti-nuclear protest and religious groups arrayed against the business interests of the Nuclear Waste Study Committee.
It was Bob Dickinson who later in 1988 provided the most opposition to the curious way in which the Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force was created out of thin air by Judy Treichel and Citizen Alert. The Nuclear Waste Study Committee had submitted a similar educational plan to the state in 1986 but had been rejected out of hand. Even after having shown such an interest, NNWSC was not even given a Request For Proposal from the State to submit a bid to act as the informational source for the State. The Nevada Monitor reported on this in an article titled "Committee Proposes Sweeping Public Education Program to Nuclear Projects Commission."
At its February 7, 1986 meeting in Las Vegas, the Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects (Sawyer Commission) received a proposal prepared by the Nevada Nuclear Waste Study Committee for a comprehensive program of public information and education on the Yucca Mountain repository issue. Committee spokesman Bob Dickinson urged the Commission to take the lead in implementing such a program with its resources. . . .
The special collections should be promoted by the state, said Dickinson, "as a resource people can readily access to get the objective and technically accurate information they must have to form a sensible opinion on this vital decision we all might soon be facing.
An important role was envisioned for the University of Nevada in creating instructional materials not only for its own faculty and students, but for the general public as well. Community colleges, business and labor organizations and such public-interest organizations as the League of Women Voters would be enlisted in the marshaling of an effective statewide information system. ["Committee Proposes Sweeping Public Education Program to Nuclear Projects Commission", Nevada Monitor, Spring 1986]
The Nevada Nuclear Waste Study Committee had built a membership list of 13,000 and began to flex its muscle under new director "Ace" Robison. Nevertheless, the state and its allies attempted to portray the Study Committe as a stooge for the nuclear industry:
CITIZEN GROUP A FRONT FOR NUCLEAR POWER
Who and what is the "citizen" group called the "Nevada Nuclear Waste Study Committee" (NNWSC)? Follow the money trail.
In politics we clearly see the link between politicians and money. It is well recognized that finding the source of their funds reveals who influences and controls them. We commonly condemn them as being bought. And so it should be.
Whose interests are represented by the NNWSC? Look to who funds the NNWSC. They are funded by the nuclear industry, as recently acknowledged by their northern Nevada information advocate, Patti Smith.
The NNWSC is simply a front group for the nuclear power industry. The nuclear power industry's paid representatives on the "Study Committee" state that the "Study Committee" doesn't take sides on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. The reality is that the "Study Committee" is nothing more than a part of that public relations campaign to sell the dump. The evidence is overwhlming. Follow the money trail. [DeWitt, Dennis; Letters to the Editor, Reno Gazette-Journal, May 31, 1994, p 5A]
Missing from this analysis was the observation that the Nevada Nuclear Waste Project Offifcem the Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force and to some extent Citizens Against Nuclear Waste In Nevada, Rural Alliance and Citizen Alert are all either funded by nuclear waste funds or backed by state politicians. In any event, the Study Committee's most important objective was assuring that Nevada was not eliminated from consideration for compensation in the likely ewvent that Yucca Mountain is eventually commissioned. In fact, the Study Committee's Citizen Advisory board began to develop a white paper on the benefits issue in 1994 as preparation for the expected rewriting of the Nuclear waste Policy Act in 1995. Thus, while the Study Committee obviously served some of the purposes of the nuclear industry, this was more of a symbiotic relation with Nevadans based on making sure the repositorey study was conducted without while assuring the state compensation.
AMERICAN NUCLEAR ENERGY COUNCIL INVOLVEMENT
While the USCEA had a strong presence in Nevada from the start of the Yucca Mountain campaign, it wasn't until 1991 that the American Nuclear Energy Council was forced to throw its cards into the pile as well with the start of the Nevada Initiative. ANEC was forced to enter the public relations wars and wage an aggressive advertising campaign to counter the adverse image of Yucca Mountain created by former Governor and now Senator Richard Bryan, NWPO director Bob Loux and the protest establishment. The risk was that endless delays due to political manipulation could lead to possible cancellation of the site. Public sentiment had been raised to such a fever pitch that the political situation simply couldn't be ignored.
ANEC approached Kent Oram of OIZ Advertising and the lobbyist Ed Allison with the prospect of trying to turn public opinion around. OIZ Advertizing was long a premier political campaign consulting agency in the State of Nevada and their choice to lead a pro-nuclear charge was inspired though not necessarily a natural match. Interestingly, Kent Oram was originally against Yucca Mountain and had even helped the city of Las Vegas draft a statement against the repository in the early 1980s.
As one of the most successful political campaigners in Nevada, Oram was an obvious choice for ANEC, especially because of his close ties to Governor Miller. However, Oram wouldn't accept the Yucca Mountain job without first being convinced 100% that he was both fighting on the right side of the war and secondly that he had a chance to win.
Oram's most difficult task with ANEC and USCEA was to turn their tactics around. Engineers, lawyers and accountants are notoriously shy (if not inept) at confrontation politics, especially the kind waged by a lawyer like Richard Bryan. However, in the public's mind if a misstatement isn't vigorously challenged in front page media, it is accepted as fact. ANEC and USCEA, composed of traditional lobbyists, weren't used to this confrontational approach. Bryan, Loux and the environmental groups had consequentially gotten away with murder in the press.
NWPO spared no chance to paint the nuclear industry's position as one entirely opposed to the interests of Nevada. In fact, the only reason there was a public relations battle and a plan called "The Nevada Initiative" was because of the industry's desire to settle accounts with Nevada in a favorable and fair way. Had they wished to merely "screw Nevada" as often was claimed, there would not have been a media campaign nor any need for public relations consultants, the industry would merely have crammed the repository down Nevada's throat through its lobbying clout in Congress. Nevertheless, NWPO claimed in its position paper "Why Nevada Opposes Yucca Mountain" that:
The American Nuclear Energy Council also is funding lobbying efforts in the State to influence unions, business readers, of the media, legislators and others to support the Yucca Mountain Project.
Part of this effort has involved offers to pay Nevada millions of dollars to give up its right to disapprove of DOE activities and its right to mitigation and compensation.
Nevada's Governor Bob Miller called this approach "a cynical new strategy to try and buy Nevada's surrender." ["Why Nevada Opposes Yucca Mountain", NWPO, 1993]
In fact, the nuclear industry supports both benefits and the right of Nevada to retain veto rights. In a letter sent from Ed Davis, President of the American Nuclear Energy Council to Nevada Governor Bob Miller and dated April 19, 1993, Davis made the industry position clear:
At an April 7 press conference held in Carson City to discuss the Yucca Mountain study, it was stated that the industry has misled Nevada state officials by urging negotiations to accept benefits during the study, because acceptance of such benefits would lead to the state's "implied consent" to allow the repository to be sited in Nevada. This statement fundamentally misstates the industry's position.
Rather, the industry believes that the state should be allowed to receive benefits during site characterization as well as retain its right to disapprove the repository following completion of the study an that such right could be made an essential part of the state's negotiations. Moreover, the industry stands ready to support a legislative provision to protect the state's right for disapproval as part of a negotiated benefits package during characterization.
[Ed Davis, president American Nuclear Energy Council to Governor Miller, April 19,1993]