Category Archives: Rep. Bart Gordon

>The Tea Party That Wasn’t

>Ooops. Looks like some folks went to a tea party at Bart Gordon’s office and a healthcare reform rally broke out instead:

With less than 24 hours’ notice, Change That Works Tennessee and its coalition partners staged a massive counter-demonstration at a Tea Party in front of Rep. Bart Gordon’s office in Rutherford County. Our action turned the ‘Tea Party’ into a health care reform party.

A mere seven anti-reform “Teabaggers” were overwhelmed as over 60 health care reform supporters converged on the square in downtown Murfreesboro to urge Bart Gordon to support H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.

“They didn’t know what hit them,” said Tony Cani, the state director of Change That Works. “Rutherford County is ground zero for conservative politics in Tennessee and we went right into their house and took over their event. I think a couple messages were sent today at this rally. First, the Teabaggers and the other enemies of change are not going to keep going unchallenged in Tennessee. Second, Bart Gordon needs to do the right thing and vote for health care reform because it isn’t only conservatives who are watching his vote on H.R. 3200.”

Wait a minute: only seven people showed up for a tea party? So much for that movement.

Watch the video:

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Filed under healthcare, Rep. Bart Gordon, Tea Party, Tennessee

>Follow The Coal Money

>Back in August, Appalachian Voices launched, tracking Big Coal’s contributions to members of Congress. I was not surprised to see Senators Mitch McConnell, James Inhofe and John D. Rockefeller listed as the top three recipients of campaign contributions from Big Coal. Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia are all big coal producers; Inhofe is also a vocal global warming denier.

Both of Tennessee’s Senators received coal money, but neither received an eyebrow-raising amount. According to FollowTheCoalMoney,

Lamar Alexander Received $31,500 in coal contributions during the 110th congress. $29,500 of those dollars were from industry PACS.

Bob Corker Received $12,000 in coal contributions during the 110th congress. $11,500 of those dollars were from industry PACS.

Tennessee is no longer considered a major coal-producing state, though we certainly use enough of it: SourceWatch says Tennessee ranks 14th in the country in coal-energy production.

Over in the House, however, it’s a different story. Bart Gordon, D-06, received the largest amount of Big Coal contributions in the 110th Congress of any Tennessee represenative–$55,500 worth, to be exact.

Zach Wamp was a distant second, at $17,800. David Davis was third, at $7,550. Marsha Blackburn received a paltry $3,500 and Jim Cooper just $1,000.


Rep. Gordon, why are you taking more money from the coal lobby than both of our U.S. Senators — combined?

Does this DOE contract awarded to Tennessee Tech have something to do with it?

It’s all very puzzling.

Since 2000, Alexander has received $71,500 from the coal lobby. Certainly not peanuts, but less than half what Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell took in this campaign year alone.

So now that we know neither of our Senators are bought and paid for by Big Coal, maybe we can ask them to take some action to ensure the state’s other coal-fired power plants are handling their coal ash waste safely, and maybe we could urge them to look for cleaner, safer alternatives for our power generation needs.

Just a thought.

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Filed under ash spill, clean coal, environment, Rep. Bart Gordon, Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee

>No More Nukes!


Glenn at Pax Americana informs that he’s just begun a series of stories on nuclear waste. Check it out.

Thank you, Bart Gordon:

Tennessee Congressman Bart Gordon is urging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission not to allow foreign radioactive waste into the United States.

An American company called Energy Solutions wants to import 20-thousand tons of waste from decommissioned nuclear power plants in Italy. The material would be processed in Tennessee at Oak Ridge, then hauled to the company’s dump in Utah.

Gordon says that would set a precedent the nation can’t afford.

“It reduces our capacity to maintain the waste stream here in the United States, and quite frankly, we don’t have an adequate amount of storage here. Makes no sense to me that we would waste our limited storage capacity on foreign waste when virtually every country in the world does not allow foreign waste to come into their countries.”

And Gordon warns, if the existing American facilities fill up, there will again be pressure to create a dump in Oak Ridge.

You know what I love about this story? That there’s a company calling itself Energy “Soutions” claiming it’s

“solving the problems of global warming and energy dependence in addition to cleaning up the environmental consequences of the cold war.”

No, you’re not! You aren’t “solving” anything. You’re moving nuclear waste around the globe. That’s not a solution, that’s a huge problem! How’s this stuff supposed to get here, anyway–container ship? And since when has America The Beautiful been Europe’s radiocative dumping ground, anyway? It’s bad enough we have China dumping their toxic waste here in the form of pet food and children’s toys.

Calling nuclear energy a solution to global warming is laughable. At its most basic, global warming is a waste problem: greenhouse gases are the waste produced by burning fossil fuels. What’s the big problem with nuclear energy? Dealing with radioactive waste. Europe hasn’t figured out how to do it–that’s why they want to send their junk here. There is no “solution,” not yet, and until there is one, we shouldn’t be trading one global energy waste problem for another.

Nuclear energy is also one of the most heavily subsidized industries we have. Free market advocates take note: Without the intervention of the U.S. government nuclear energy wouldn’t exist. The reason is the Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act, passed into law in 1957 and renewed ever since (most recently in 2005). The act basically acknowledges the potential for widespread, catostrophic damages from a serious nuclear accident, the cost of which would be far beyond the reach of any energy company to pay for. Price-Anderson provides a pool of money, primarily from the government although industry contributes, to cover the costs of insuring nuclear reactors.

When this legislation was first conceived back in the 1950s, nuclear energy was a scary new technology that no private insurance company would touch. Everyone expected that to change once the nuclear industry proved itself with a strong safety record, so the bill was set to expire in 1967. Except, of course, nuclear energy never did prove itself not to be the scary technology we all have every right to fear; the bill has been renewed repeatedly, because private insurance companies won’t go near it.

Have I mentioned I hate insurance companies? Here’s one case where I think they’re right on. Say what you will, but the insurance industry knows about risk.

Back when I was a young pup, working toward a degree in environmental science, nuclear energy was a hot button issue. Industry types and politicians tried to tell us it was our only path to energy independence. I call bullshit. It is a path, but not the right one. It has all the same problems that we have with fossil fuels, save the fact that “our” uranium isn’t under “their” sand. Instead, it’s in Australia, Niger and Namibia. And the open-pit uranium mines are an environmental disaster:

Lovely, yes?

(h/t, Volunteer Voters)

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Filed under Energy Solutions, nuclear energy, Price Anderson Act, Rep. Bart Gordon