Is Cash Warming Doyle to Nuclear Option?
New owners of Point Beach plant made big donations to governor
shortly before Doyle shifted his position on nuclear energy
September 3, 2008
Madison - Executives of a Florida utility with large stakes in nuclear and wind power contributed nearly $24,000 to Democratic Governor Jim Doyle a little more than a month before Doyle announced he was willing to consider new nuclear plants as a future energy option, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has found.
Doyle’s latest campaign finance report shows 30 executives, and one of their spouses, with Florida Power & Light Company and three of its nuclear power plants contributed $23,750 to the governor on June 27, 2008 (see Table). No employees of Florida Power & Light or their three nuclear power plants in Florida, Iowa and New Hampshire had contributed to Wisconsin legislative or statewide candidates before.
Florida Power purchased the Point Beach nuclear power plant near Two Rivers from WE Energies in October 2007 for $924 million. The utility, which says it’s one of the largest owners and operators of wind turbines in the world, also has operated the Montfort wind power project near Dodgeville since 2001. The two-reactor Point Beach plant was originally designed for four reactors, and the ban would have to be lifted for more reactors to be added. Part of the Point Beach sales agreement gives WE Energies the option to own up to 40 percent of any power plant – nuclear, coal or natural gas – Florida Power is allowed to build at Point Beach in the future.
WE Energies is one of Doyle’s biggest contributors, with $121,360 coming from company executives and its political action committee from 2002 through June 30, 2008, including $15,000 in the first six months of this year.
Wisconsin’s 25-year-old ban on new nuclear power plant construction was an issue in the 2006 campaign for governor with Doyle supporting the ban and GOP candidate Mark Green opposing it.
But on August 6 – six weeks after the contributions by Florida Power executives – Doyle said he was open to studying the possibility of new nuclear power plants in Wisconsin. His statement followed the July 24 release of a report by his Task Force on Global Warming which made numerous traditional and alternative energy recommendations for the future, including modifying Wisconsin’s current ban on new nuclear power plants to let them be considered. The task force also recommended creating statewide standards for siting sometimes-controversial wind power projects.
|Name||Occupation||Amount||Report Page #|
|Deborah H. Caplan||Vice president||$1,000||17|
|John Didonato||Executive director||$500||21|
|Richard L. Anderson||
-Duane Arnold Nuclear Power Plant
|Mark E. Warner||Vice president||$500||49|
|Larry O. Martin||Vice president||$1,000||61|
James L. Robo and
Meredith B. Trim
Chief operating officer/
|Gregory Schneck||Vice president||$500||73|
|James P. Higgins||Vice president||$500||90|
|Mark R. Sorenson||Vice president||$500||107|
|Don E. Grissette||Vice president||$500||118|
|Ryan K. O’Keefe||Senior vice president-development||$250||127|
|Ron Scheirer||Vice president||$500||137|
|James H. McCarthy||Vice president||$500||154|
|Dennis M. Klinger||Vice president||$500||167|
|Gordon L. Johnston||
-St. Lucie Nuclear Plant
|Michael A. O’Sullivan||Vice president||$500||189|
|Robert B. Sendler||Vice president||$500||198|
|Gene St. Pierre||
-Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant
|K.M. Davis||Vice president||$500||209|
|Mano Nazar||Vice president||$1,000||219|
|Manuel A. Sanchez||Vice president||$500||228|
|John A. Stall||Vice president||$1,000||234|
|Terry O. Jones||Vice president||$500||246|
|Mark Palanchian||Vice president||$500||253|
|Mitchell S. Ross||President||$500||257|
|John L. Seymour III||Executive director||$500||263|
|Keyvan Bohloohli||Vice president||$500||271|
|Matt S. Handel||Vice president||$500||308|
|Rajiv S. Kundalkar||Vice president-nuclear engineering||$500||311|
|Ronald R. Reagan||Vice president||$500||317|