Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Two Utah Lawmakers Have Ties to Nuclear Plant"

Update: The Utah Amicus puts it far more succinctly than I. "No conflict of interest, my ass!"

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.'"
And one more fact:
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


Ohadi Langis said...

Been following this story since July. Details at Idaho Samizdat.


bekkieann said...

Thank you so much for your comment. I hope readers here will follow the link to your blog post. I found it very interesting--particularly the off-the-record comments from Tilton. Very excellent reporting.

Frank Staheli said...

Although I am a registered Republican (I stayed this way more than anything because I support Ron Paul for President) I am embarrassed far more often by members of the Republican party in Utah than by Democrats.

If Tilton really said that he had no conflict of interest, and if the story was reported correctly, then I think Tilton is an immoral doofus that should be voted out of town on a rail come the next election.

Utahns somehow equate morality with the Republican party, largely on the auspices of the abortion issue. After this point many of them stop thinking.

bekkieann said...

I agree, Frank. I once heard Gayle Ruzicka on the radio say she would never vote for a Democrat purely because of the abortion issue alone.

Whether she meant it or not, there are plenty of people in this state (and country) who think that way literally, and never realize the abortion issue is nothing more that a political ploy effectively wielded by the Republican Party - only during election cycles.

WP said...

Time to switch Frank. Enjoyed the post bekkieann!

Is it really surprising these kinds of things go on when so many of our legislators have their entire campaigns paid for by lobbyists? Our man here in Centerville, R Rep. Roger Barrus, had his entire campaign financed by these folks, except one $100.00 donation from his brother in law Don Wood.

bekkieann said...

It shouldn't surprise us. More argument for campaign finance reform. Thanks for the comment, George.