A new survey of Iowa seniors shows strong opposition to a bill pending in the Iowa Senate that’s related to nuclear power.
The survey was commissioned by the AARP and targeted 400 likely voters over the age of 50. Seventy-two percent said they’re opposed to legislation that would allow MidAmerican Energy to charge utility customers up front for a potential nuclear power plant in Iowa. Anthony Carroll, the “advocacy director for the AARP in Iowa, says the opposition isn’t based on the safety of nuclear energy, but about allowing MidAmerican to charge ratepayers before constructing the plant.
“The results show that Iowans know a bad deal when they see it. Iowa lawmakers need to find a way to ensure that the state will be able to meet our growing energy needs without saddling ratepayers with unknown, uncapped cost burdens that put all the risk on consumers.”
Carroll says the results of the survey will be shared with senators who may be asked to vote on the bill before the 2011 legislative session concludes.
“The survey finds a 57 percent majority of Iowa likely voters 50-plus say they would be less likely to vote for a state lawmaker who supports such a proposal,” Carroll says.
Tony Vola, the AARP’s Iowa volunteer state president, says seniors are very worried about higher utility bills.
“It is not how we produce the electricity in any way, shape, or form,” Vola says. “It is the language in the bill that allows these rates to be charged prior to any construction being committed to or even starting.”
Supporters of the legislation say any rate hike proposal would still have to be approved by the Iowa Utilities Board. Others, including Governor Brantad, argue the state has to diversify into other sources of electricity, including nuclear power, to meet rising consumer demand for power.