Energy and Commerce Leaders Urge Senate Majority Leader Reid to Abandon Smear Campaign and Swiftly Confirm NRC Commissioner Kristine Svinicki

May 8, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), today urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to swiftly schedule a vote on the nomination of NRC Commissioner Kristine Svinicki to another term. Today President Obama formally re-nominated Svinicki for another five-year term as a commissioner; her current NRC term expires June 30, 2012. White House spokesman Jay Carney recently stated that President Obama “doesn’t want to have a break in service in June when her current term expires.”

Upton, Whitfield, and Shimkus made the following statement:

”We are pleased the president has finally nominated Kristine Svinicki to serve another term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Now, it is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s turn to do the right thing, follow President Obama’s cue, and allow for Commissioner Svinicki’s swift confirmation.

”Unfortunately, Harry Reid has a history of playing politics with our nuclear safety. In 2005, Reid held nearly 175 Bush appointees hostage to muscle his own employee, the current NRC Chair Gregory Jaczko, onto the commission. Employing similar tactics to block Svinicki’s nomination because she bravely spoke out against hostile work conditions would be shameful.

”We are disturbed at the baseless attacks against Kristine Svinicki that have already come out of Senator Reid’s office. Kristine Svinicki is one of the nation’s finest, most thoughtful and conscientious nuclear experts. She and her three fellow commissioners - all nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed under Senator Reid's leadership - recently approved the licensing and construction of the nation's first nuclear reactors in three decades, demonstrating a commitment to the safe and continued use of nuclear power in the United States.

”Commissioner Kristine Svinicki has stood up in an effort to make the Nuclear Regulatory Commission a better place and deserves expeditious confirmation. As the Commission works to improve safety in the wake of Fukushima and permit new plants, it is imperative for the NRC to operate at full strength, benefitting from the expertise of all commissioners. We cannot afford to play politics with our nuclear safety.”