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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
EnergySolutions describes itself as "an international nuclear services company with operations throughout the United States and around the world." Its services include "decommissioning and remediation of nuclear sites and facilities, management of spent nuclear fuel, the transportation of nuclear material and the environmental cleanup of nuclear legacy sites such as the uranium mill tailings site in Moab, Utah." The company operates "a metal melt facility in Tennessee and a low-level waste disposal facility in Utah." 
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
EnergySolutions was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC's) Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force as of August 2011. A company spokesperson told the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) in July 2012 that it had cut ties with ALEC because it was "not in a position to continue at this time." However, it was still listed as member of the host committee of ALEC's 2012 annual meeting, and rejoined ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force on June 12, 2013, according to internal ALEC documents. See Corporations Which Have Cut Ties to ALEC and ALEC Corporations for more.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
Storing nuclear waste in Utah
EnergySolutions dropped plans to expand its low-level radioactive waste disposal site in Tooele County, Utah, in March 2007. "With waste literally backed up at the disposal site's gates, EnergySolutions began asking state regulators in 2005 to expand," reported the Salt Lake Tribune. However, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. opposed the expansion of the waste site, and the environmental group Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah) filed a lawsuit, seeking to stop the expansion. When EnergySolutions "asked state regulators to scrap its boundary expansion plans," HEAL Utah agreed to drop the lawsuit. 
In the summer of 2009, EnergySolutions will become "the sole commercial option for waste generated in 36 states -- and, if allowed, foreign countries -- under the national system for managing low-level radioactive waste." The company raised concerns again in Utah when it applied "for a license to import 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy." The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has said it will consider state concerns and rules when deciding whether or not to allow the importation of foreign-generated nuclear waste. Utah governor Huntsman said "he would not object to material from any source -- domestic or foreign -- as long as it falls within the state's hazard standard and fits in the currently licensed site," according to a December 2007 Salt Lake Tribune article. 
In February 2009, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that EnergySolutions had been working "quietly with state lawmakers on a proposal to have the state split EnergySolutions' profits from the disposal of foreign waste," with Utah's share being an estimated "$100 million or more a year." Like many states, Utah is expecting a severe budget shortfall. "We think there's an opportunity for the governor, the Legislature and EnergySolutions to come together and find a solution to this issue and also to provide a benefit and assistance to the people, the citizens of the state of Utah," said company spokesperson Jill Sigal. However, a spokesperson for Utah Governor Huntsman said he "is against having the Italian waste come here, or the foreign waste in general." The Tribune noted that EnergySolutions' 2007 filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said that "disposing of foreign waste was crucial to its [financial] future." 
In March 2009, the NRC "voted to regulate depleted uranium as Class A low-level waste." The move "opens the door to 1.4 million tons [of depleted uranium] coming to Utah," for storage at the EnergySolutions site. 
Operating nuclear plants
In June 2007, EnergySolutions bought control from BNFL of Britain's "Reactor Sites Management Limited (RSMC) which -- through its subsidiary Magnox Electric -- holds the contracts and licences to operate and decommission 10 nuclear sites and 22 reactors with a value of about £350m." Since "two of the facilities, Oldbury and Wylfa, are still producing electricity," the deal resulted in EnergySolution's first "sole responsibility for sites that generate atomic energy." 
Lobbying and political donations
EnergySolutions "has made $538,580 in political contributions to candidates and political parties" in Utah since 2006, reported the Salt Lake Tribune in February 2009. "The Utah Republican Party is the leading recipient, receiving $154,520 from the company, followed by the Utah Democratic Party, which has received $44,900." Overall, the company has contributed "to more than 80 percent of sitting lawmakers." 
"Moreover, the company employs at least 10 of the most influential lobbyists in" Utah, such as "former Senate President Miles 'Cap' Ferry and former House Speaker H. Craig Moody and their spouses. Ferry's son is House Rules Committee Chairman Ben Ferry and his nephew, David Stewart, is also lobbying for the company. In addition, EnergySolutions has Scott Sabey, who has lobbied for the Utah Bar Association and others, and well-connected lobbyists Spencer Stokes and Charles Evans." 
On the federal level, EnergySolutions reported spending $1,020,000 on lobbying in 2007, and $420,000 in the first half of 2008. Its Washington, DC in-house lobbyists are Dirk Bartlett and Jill L. Sigal. The company also retains the lobbying firm Miller & Chevalier, Chartered. Leonard Bickwit Jr. is the lobbyist on the EnergySolutions account. 
423 West 300 South Suite 200
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
E-mail: info AT energysolutions.com
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- American Council on Global Nuclear Competitiveness
- Nuclear companies
- Clare Spottiswoode - board member
- EnergySolutions news feed on the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah website.
- Press release, "EnergySolutions Cowers Before HEAL Utah's Legal Challenge," Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, March 26, 2007.
- Judy Fahys, "Congressmen ask: What if EnergySolutions wins? Judge to decide: Can a multi-state group control the SLC nuclear-waste company?," The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), March 10, 2009.
- Brock Vergakis, "NRC: No difference between foreign, domestic nuke waste," Associated Press, April 13, 2009.
- Judy Fahys, "EnergySolutions hot waste ruling headed for appeal: Judge had ruled regional group can't bar foreign radioactive waste," The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), June 2, 2009.
- "Our company," EnergySolutions website, accessed February 2009.
- Rebekah Wilce, EnergySolutions and Connections Education are 27th and 28th Corporations to Leave ALEC, PRWatch.org, July 20, 2012
- American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC 40th Anniversary Annual Meeting Board Meeting packet, organizational documents, August 6, 2013, released by The Guardian December 3, 2013.
- Judy Fahys, "N-dump court fight ends," The Salt Lake Tribune, March 27, 2007.
- Judy Fahys, "Nuke panel: Utahns have a say over foreign junk," The Salt Lake Tribune, December 25, 2007.
- Judy Fahys and Robert Gehrke, "EnergySolutions seeks deal with state for its N-dump: Secret plan - It would split profits from imported waste with state," The Salt Lake Tribune, February 13, 2009.
- Andrew Adams, "NRC decision means EnergySolutions could store depleted uranium," KSL-TV 5 (NBC, Utah), March 19, 2009.
- Terry Macalister, "Salt Lake City firm takes over UK nuclear sites," The Guardian (UK), June 7, 2007.
- Robert Gehrke, "EnergySolutions donates to many Utah lawmakers," The Salt Lake Tribune, February 14, 2009.
- "EnergySolutions, Inc.," Lobbyists.info (sub req'd), accessed February 2009.
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