Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sen. Bennett for $9,000, Alex

It seems that $9,000 from a literally radioactive local company can get you favorable treatment from a embattled and still sitting U.S. Senator.
A Utah-based nuclear waste disposal firm fighting to allow the continued importation of foreign radioactive waste for disposal here has chosen who it is backing in the state's crowded Republican field for a U.S. Senate seat.

EnergySolutions Inc.'s political action committee has donated $9,000 to Sen. Bob Bennett's re-election campaign this year, snubbing fellow Republican Mark Shurtleff, who received a $10,000 donation from the company last year on his way to winning his third term as the state's attorney general.

Bennett is seeking his fourth term.

"EnergySolutions' PAC is funded by EnergySolutions employees and we are a very strong supporter of Sen. Bennett," said company spokeswoman Jill Sigal. "The EnergySolutions PAC supports pro-nuclear members of Congress and pro-nuclear candidates."
Would those employees also include management? What percentage of that money comes from management versus the lowest-paid employees, 90%?

So while Rep. Jim Matheson, who father developed cancer and died because of nuclear testing in Nevada, attempts to ban foreign nuclear waste from coming into Utah, Sen. Bennett is non-committal. Must be waiting for a few more checks to clear.
Bennett has not signed on as a co-sponsor to [Sen. Lamar] Alexander's bill [the Senate companion bill to the Matheson-Bart Gordon bill in the House].

In a one-sentence statement to The Associated Press, Bennett didn't say whether he supports a federal ban on importing radioactive waste. Instead, he said he would review a court decision saying whether a regional compact system Utah is a part of can ban foreign waste at a private dump.

In May, U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart ruled that the compact doesn't have authority over EnergySolutions' Utah facility.

Utah has filed notice saying it will appeal the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

"I will carefully review the court's decision after the arguments have been made and the parties present their evidence," Bennett said.
What about the Democratic candidate for Senate, Sam Granato? Not much better.
"(Granato) is concerned that EnergySolutions is a business that is here in Utah that employs a lot of people in the Tooele area, and he doesn't want to turn them into the boogeyman like a lot of candidates have for political posturing," [Granato Campaign Manager Rob] Miller said.
Does that mean that Granato is doing a preemptive strike against Matheson? Is he worried Jim will get into the Senate race last minute after all? Why else would you make a not-so-subtle attack on Jim Matheson, the state's leading Democrat?

Personally, I think it is only fair that those who use nuclear to power their communities store it themselves near themselves and not outsource it to poor and/or rural areas. If you don't want it in your backyard, why should a private company get to trampse it through ours?

This stuff has a LONG half-life, longer than humans have been around and longer than we will probably be around. It isn't "political posturing" to be concerned about how this stuff can be safely transported through Utah (and other states) and safely stored for millienia. A private company interests are not aligned with these long-term needs. Rather, they want to make a buck and keep shareholders happy, which are extremely short-term interests.

Winning a Senate primary (and ultimately a general election) is only a slightly longer time horizon.


Rob said...

To be clear: Sam Granato is against allowing foreign radioactive waste from coming to Utah.

The article with the above quote from me for the Granato campaign was in no way a "Hit" on Congressman Matheson.

Sam Granato believes that Congressman Matheson's position is sincere, legitimate, and well researched. Let me also add that Sam has nothing but the highest respect for Congressman Matheson, and all those who have suffered or lost loved ones because of the atomic tests conducted in Nevada.

Over the last few election cycles there have been candidates that have jumped on anti-ES band-wagon without doing their due-diligence when researching this issue, or without consideration that ES is a major employer in Utah. To me this was disturbing and I'm glad that Sam agrees and is not doing the same.

We also recently discovered that
an organization that is working against ES may be receiving funding indirectly from competitors of ES. If that is indeed true shouldn't that organization be honest about where their funding is truly coming from?

Understanding Sam's dedication and desire to better represent Utah I have advised him to look at all sides of this issue to better represent Utah. That was the intent I was trying to convey in that article. My apologizes if that message was lost in translation.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or thoughts on this or any issue you can contact The Sam Granato campaign at 801-867-1704, or by e-mail at We want to hear your stories, we want to know what you are thinking.

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to better explain my quotes in that article; at least it is my hope that I have.

Rob Miller

Unknown said...


As always thank you for your comments and filling out the picture. I am sorry I wrote in such a provocative manner, but it seemed like the most interesting part of the story, which caught my eye. Obviously, I read more into it than was warranted and the reporter did not give you the space to fully explain Granto's position such that it wouldn't have been seen as a remark aimed at Jim Matheson.

My post was successful in that I got the real story out that wouldn't have come out without posting, but please don't think I was impugning anything to you or Granato. It was merely a crude way of eliciting a response and the full picture.

This Senate race is shaping up to be more exciting than I thought possible. As you might have guessed, I wholeheartedly agree with Jim. I do agree with you though that every group's true motives should be out in the open via the internet.

Rob said...

No problem.

I appreciate the opportunity to better explain Sam's position.

This is going to be an exciting race and I am hoping you will help.