Read the sub-heading, "But Tilton and Noel see no conflict of interest." Here are some facts. Let the readers decide for themselves whether or not a conflict exists for either of these public servants:
- They both serve on ". . . an interim legislative committee considering legislation that would help utilities build nuclear power plants."
- "Rep. Aaron Tilton, R-Springville, is an owner of Transition Power Development, a private equity group that has signed an agreement to secure water rights for a nuclear power plant. If approved by water regulators, the plant's enormous water demands would be supplied by the Kane County Water Conservancy District, whose executive director is Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab."
- "Transition Power has agreed to pay the conservancy district $1 million a year for almost 30,000 acre-feet of water once the plant starts producing power."
- "Noel is chairman of the Legislature's Public Utilities and Technology Committee, and Tilton is vice chairman. Also, both men are members of the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee, which is co-chaired by Noel. The interim committee has heard extensive testimony for and against nuclear power in its July and September meetings."
- "Transition Power is considering building a nuclear power plant in Utah. "
- "Transition Power has already paid the district $10,000 upon signing the water agreement. The private equity group will pay $100,000 annually for five years until construction starts. Then, the payment becomes $500,000 a year until power generation begins, when it jumps to $1 million annually."
- "A bill to assist utilities in building nuclear power plants was discussed extensively by the Public Utilities Interim Committee on July 18 and Sept. 19."
- "Concerning the bill that was discussed July 18 and Sept. 19, Tilton said Monday that he has no conflicts of interest.
"I really don't have a conflict of interest, because I'm not a regulated utility," he said, and the bill dealt with those utilities."
- "On his Declaration of Conflict of Interest form, Noel noted that he was associated with several groups: Michael E. Noel Environmental Consulting, Flood Canyon Ranch and Kane County Water Conservancy District. But Monday he said it was not a conflict to co-chair the committee that is considering legislation involving a nuclear power plant. 'The district is a public entity, like a city, a community, leasing water to them,' meaning the nuclear power plant, he said. 'We're a public utility. I work for the water district as a paid employee.'"
A poll this past May by Dan Jones & Associates found that 84 percent of Utahns want lawmakers to be able to abstain from voting on a bill on which they have a personal or professional conflict. The poll also found that 77 percent of Utahns want greater disclosure of conflicts of interest.
So why does Utah keep electing guys like this? One reason: They run on the "R" ticket which equates to MORALITY in many voters' minds.
Source: Deseret Morning News, October 16, 2007 http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695219044,00.html