Greg M. Schwartz
“Hey Hardberger, whatta ya say? We want clean energy and we want it today!”
“Hey hey, ho ho, nuclear energy's got to go!”
These were two of the boisterous chants from members and supporters of the Southwest Workers Union as they demonstrated in front of City Hall yesterday afternoon.
SWU was there to deliver an open letter to Mayor Hardberger and members of City Council, in which the union pleads for the city to back off of its support for CPS Energy's ongoing plan to expand the STP nuclear project.
“`We ` call on the City officials to follow through on its vision of sustainability by adopting binding commitments to implement a free low-income weatherization program, abandon its nuclear path, mandate transparency on the part of CPS Energy and the allocation of rate-payer dollars, and take immediate steps towards reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” read the letter.
After two years of stalling, Hardberger finally threw his hat in the nuclear ring last month when he joined his fellow CPS board members in authorizing another $60 million investment toward the nuclear expansion project. A final decision on whether CPS will go through with the investment is set for this fall.
The SWU members and supporters held artful banners across the stairway to City Hall with various anti-nuke messages, while also chanting a variety of slogans.
It's only too bad they didn't have a naked PETA model taking a shower, or they might have drawn more media attention. The TV camera crews on hand were just a fraction of those present earlier in the day for PETA's action on vegetarianism at the Alamo.
Some demonstrators also wore puppet heads, with one that looked like Hardberger and another that was three-eyed and lime green from the type of radioactivity that one might associate with Montgomery Burns' nuclear plant on The Simpsons. SWU Environmental Justice Organizer Diana Lopez said the puppet show portrayed the two-faced actions of Hardberger.
“We've got to tell Mayor Hardberger that we `San Antonio` don't want to invest any more money at STP,” said Lopez. She chastised Hardberger for trying to make himself seem like an environmentalist with his Mission Verde project while simultaneously backing the CPS nuclear plans.
“It `nuclear power` costs a lot of money for the ratepayers of San Antonio,” added Lopez about the financial issues of nuclear power. She said SWU and a number of student supporters will be headed to Washington D.C. at the end of the month for the Power Shift conference, where they'll attempt to lobby their Congressional reps to stand up for environmental solutions and against supporting nuclear energy.
SWU also passed out flyers imploring citizens to ask city leaders to oppose the CPS nuclear plans by phoning or e-mailing Mayor Hardberger at 210-207-7060 or email@example.com, as well as City Council members at 210-207-7040 and the CPS Board of Directors at 210-353-2787 or MJBraggs@cpsenergy.com.
Lopez said SWU was also signing on to a letter protesting federal loan subsidies for nuclear power plants, an issue currently being debated nationally, after the Senate Appropriations Committee inserted $50 billion of loan guarantees into their version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 last week. Such loan guarantees would likely be used for nuclear subsidies. CPS Energy has made no secret of the fact that those loan guarantees are one of the primary factors in whether they will go through with the STP expansion.
Democracy Now hosted a heated debate today between independent journalist and longtime anti-nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman and Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace co-founder and now member of the pro-nuke Clean and Safe Energy Coalition. They sparred over all of the nuclear issues, especially on the question of that $50 billion in federal loans. View the debate at: