September 21, 2011
San Antonio Current Blog – The Que Que
Remember when we suggested Rick Perry was looking for stooges to help turn one of his top funder’s nuclear dumps into a national enterprise? Well, he had to look no further than former CPS Energy CEO Milton Lee. Perry’s new appointments to the state commission governing the two-state Texas-Vermont Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission, announced last week, brought in a slate of new faces who will help determine the future of radioactive-waste dumping in Texas — and how much Dallas billionaire Perry donor Harold Simmons will make on the state’s favored Waste Control Specialists’ site in Andrews County.
Lee, who made his exit as CEO of San Antonio’s city-owned power utility last year, enjoyed a rocky tenure. One of the chief architects of the proposed expansion of the South Texas (nuclear) Project, now on hold as the Fukushima radioactive dust continues to settle, Lee helped implement years of aggravated attrition at CPS, forcing the exit of hundreds of employees and prompting a lawsuit from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers alleging dozens of cases of sex-, age-, and race-based discrimination.
Karen Hadden, director of the Austin-based SEED Coalition, said Lee’s appointment to the radwaste commission raises serious questions, given the gravity of decisions the commission will make in the coming years – namely, whether or not to make WCS the nation’s radwaste dumping grounds. Lee’s track record for environmental concern, she claims, is dubious, pointing to Lee’s role in helping form the Climate Policy Group, which consisted mostly of publicly-owned utilities heavily invested in coal power. Under Lee, the utility spent more than $120,000 lobbying against cap-and-trade policies through member dues to the CPG and trips to Washington D.C.
What’s notable, but unsurprising, is whom Perry failed to reappoint — Bobby Gregory, the commission’s persistent opposing voice, who had been a thorn in the side of radwaste expansionists. Perry had tried to coax Gregory off the radwaste commission by offering him a prestigious board-of-regents appointment, which would have conveniently required him to step down from the radwaste commission before it voted on whether to open up the West Texas dump to waste from an additional 34 states, something Gregory openly opposed (the commission ultimately passed the proposal).
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