Home > Uncategorized > PSE&G Is Desperately Trying To Avoid Ohio Nuclear Bailout Scandal From Derailing Renewal of Pending Round II NJ Nuke Bailout

PSE&G Is Desperately Trying To Avoid Ohio Nuclear Bailout Scandal From Derailing Renewal of Pending Round II NJ Nuke Bailout

NJ Spotlight And ENGO’s Are Helping Them

Will all those who have taken PSE&G money please raise your hand?

PSE&G’s “Money Talks” In NJ

Perhaps you missed it, but yesterday, the NY Times published a hugely important Op-Ed – written by a former NY Times reporter – aptly titled: “When Utility Money Talks” (please read the whole thing. The courage and integrity to write a piece like this just might explain why the writer is a “former” NY Times reporter).

The focus of the Op-Ed was on the Ohio nuclear bailout scandal and the tactics that allow utility “money to talk”, which has parallels to NJ’s own billion dollar nuclear bailout.

Those cases are only the most recent examples in a wave of utility wrongdoing that has come to light in recent years across the nation. […]

Taken together, these and other cases demonstrate that too many power and gas companies have sought to exercise undue influence over the governments that nominally control them. Utilities spend lavishly on campaign contributions, dinners, hunting trips for politicians and more. They set up fake citizens’ groups to support their undertakings. And they have been known to ply nonprofit community organizations with “donations” to take public stances that favor the utility — and against the real interests of the people these organizations ostensibly represent. …

For citizens elsewhere, the big message from all these scandals is that you cannot assume your state government is working in the public interest as it oversees the energy transition. …

… citizens are getting a clearer picture of what they are up against. They are not just fighting dirty energy — they are also fighting the dirty money in politics that keeps it alive.

It is instructive to compare the NY Times’ critical description of the Ohio scandal with NJ Spotlight’s cursory coverage of that scandal.

NJ utility giant PSE&G is desperately seeking to avoid that Ohio scandal story getting attention and investigation in NJ, because if it did, not only would PSE&G face possible criminal sanctions, the public outrage that would ensue very likely would derail renewal of PSE&G’s nuke bailout, which is currently pending before the NJ Board of Public Utilities.

NJ legislators who supported and rammed the NJ nuke bailout through the legislature and Gov. Murphy who signed it into law face the same criminal and political vulnerability.

NJ environmental groups who supported the deal also face embarrassing disclosures of how PSE&G “money talked” in influencing their support.

So, how did NJ’s premier media outlet, who focuses on energy policy, report the Ohio story?

Did NJ Spotlight explain in detail what happened in Ohio and raise potential similarities with NJ’s nuke bailout?

Did NJ Spotlight report on how PSE&G’s money talks in NJ? (even at their own publication).

No, they didn’t.

After the July 28 superficial coverage, today NJ Spotlight printed PSE&G propaganda, which was designed to create a bright shiny object to divert the attention from the Ohio scandal and put PSE&G in a positive light and influence the BPU’s upcoming nuke bailout renewal decision.

This is not the first time NJ Spotlight has reported PSE&G diversionary propaganda news management.

PSE&G pulled exactly the same propaganda stunt back when PG&E announced closing of Diablo Canyon nuke plant and California regulators announced that they were phasing out nuclear power.

The California regulatory phase out decision was made just at the time that PSE&G was seeking a bailout – not a phase out – of its nuke plants.

While PG&E Diablo Canyon closure and California were phasing out nukes, NJ DEP was subsidizing and deregulating them: DEP Says Salem Nuclear Good to Go Without Cooling Towers. (I testified in opposition to that permit – another example of how PSE&G money talks to conservation groups and regulators – and wrote about it here).

Instead of reporting on California’s phase out – a policy option never even on the table in NJ – the discussion in NJ was limited to assuring the economic viability of nukes as a “zero carbon” emission source, see: Will NJ Consumers Be Hit with Zero-Emissions Surcharge for Nuclear?

And later, at precisely the time while California regulators were phasing out nukes – a major policy of national significance that NJ Spotlight never reported on –NJ Spotlight provided a platform for PSE&G sponsored content, provided former Gov. Florio a platform to support PSE&G, provided the business community a platform to support PSE&G, gave PSE&G another platform.

In a remarkably corrupt move – not reported by NJ Spotlight – NJ’s US Senator Booker and NJ Senate President Sweeney kicked off the nuke subsidy campaign in support of PSE&G, see:

Even before bailout legislation was introduced, back in January 2017, Spotlight, gave PSE&G a platform to make their case,

In a move to tamp down opposition, in August 2016, Spotlight even reported this “fake news”: New Jersey Unlikely to Follow New York’s Subsidies of Nuclear Industry

While the Ohio scandal was downplayed and the California nuke phase out story was ignored completely, NJ focused NJ Spotlight did manage to report an out out of State story from Illinois: favorable to the nuke industry, see: Federal Court Upholds Illinois Decision to Subsidize Nuclear Plants.

And from Pennsylvania, see: Without Subsidies, Three Mile Island Could Go Dark, Operator Asserts

And before all that, back in February 2017, Spotlight reported PSE&G line: PSEG Still Looking for Subsidies to Help Keep Nuclear Fleet Afloat

Of course – just like the Ohio nuke bailout scandal – the California nuke phase out story had to be squashed because it was an existential threat to PSE&G – and NJ Spotlight played right along with PSE&G’s news management diversion.

Yes, PSE&G’s “money talks” in NJ – at NJ Spotlight, in the Legislature, in the Gov.’s Office, and even in certain environmental circles.

Paraphrasing recently deceased writer William Greider, Who will tell the people about all that?

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