U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s vote to allow nuclear waste dumping in the state is another example of her willingness to ignore the best interests of the people she represents, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said.

A bill banning the importation of low-level nuclear waste into the United States was approved by a two-thirds bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives today (Wednesday, Dec. 2). Blackburn, however, voted against the measure, which was co-authored by U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon of Murfreesboro and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.

“Rep. Blackburn doesn’t have the best interests of Tennesseans in mind when she makes that kind of vote,” Forrester said. “She is either clueless about her role as a representative of the people who elected her to office or too partisan to care.

“Her vote would let the U.S. become the world’s nuclear dumping ground. That is insane. Most of us understand that exposure to radiation can be harmful to your health. We have enough problems dealing with our own nuclear waste. Why do we want to deal with another country’s problem? No other country in the world allows the importation of foreign nuclear waste.”

Gordon, who chairs the House Science and Technology Committee, and Alexander introduced the legislation after a Utah-based company applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to import 20,000 tons of radioactive waste from Italian nuclear facilities for processing at a company facility in Oak Ridge and storage at a company site in Utah.

According to press reports, Blackburn made her vote because she believes dumping nuclear waste in Oak Ridge would create jobs for the area.

“Congressman Zach Wamp sure didn’t agree with Mrs. Blackburn’s vote,” Forrester said. “If she is so concerned about jobs in Oak Ridge, does that mean she would be in favor of processing nuclear waste in Franklin and Germantown, too?

“I applaud Congressman Gordon for doing the right thing for Tennessee families. Mrs. Blackburn, however, is another story. She has a history of doing things counterproductive to Tennessee concerns and values. She is a shameless shill for the far-right wing of her party who will say and do anything to promote an extreme agenda.”

Forrester pointed to the following examples of Blackburn’s demagoguery:

• Blackburn claimed an independent panel of experts’ findings concerning mammograms would lead to health-care rationing by the federal government.
• Blackburn said Hurricane Katrina was not a real emergency during a House floor debate about deficit-reduction legislation before voting against the measure.
• Blackburn criticized a stimulus package approved by Congress and used by the state to put unemployed Tennesseans to work in Perry County, a county she represents that at one point recorded a jobless rate above 27 percent.
• Blackburn sponsored legislation requiring future presidential candidates to show their birth certificates proving Constitutional requirements to serve during a debate questioning President Barack Obama’s birthplace.



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