In her weekly newsletter, Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler assures constituents they have nothing to worry about from the Callaway nuclear power plant:
I should first tell you that I am keeping an eye on the fallout from the earthquake and tsunami that have devastated parts of Japan. Our prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones during this trying time.
You should know that the U.S. nuclear energy industry has already started an assessment of the events in Japan and is taking steps to ensure that reactors here in the U.S. can respond to events that might present safety threats. Each plant’s capability to manage major challenges such as aircraft impacts, fires, explosions, and natural disasters is being verified. Nuclear officials are also verifying each plant’s capability to deal with flooding and the impact of floods on systems inside and outside the plant. In addition, inspections of important equipment are being conducted to point out the chances of equipment malfunctions during seismic events like earthquakes.
Many of the residents of the 4th District live near the Callaway nuclear power plant and receive a portion of their power from Ameren’s nuclear facility. Ameren has responded to concerns by informing Missourians that while the Callaway plant is in the vicinity of the New Madrid fault, the plant was built to withstand what is called the “worst case” seismic event for our area. Ameren adds that the Callaway plant is located in the middle of the continental United States where the chances of a major tidal wave or tsunami are non-existent.
On Capitol Hill, this week, the House of Representatives passed a budget measure, with my support, known as a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open and to provide citizens of the 4th Congressional District with government services. This three-week measure cuts an additional $6 billion and brings to $10 billion the amount the U.S. House has led Congress to cut in five weeks. Cutting spending through a continuing resolution is rare but we have done it twice and we’d like to do more. We are pressing forward and making great progress to bring about fiscal sanity and reduce spending. Unfortunately, the Senate still refuses to seriously consider the $100 billion spending cut we passed to keep the government funded through the end of the year. We hope the Senate will come around to once and for all settling our spending issues for the rest of 2011. Rest assured, I am going to continue to make sure Washington only spends money it has.
In other news, the House took up and passed legislation to prohibit federal funding of National Public Radio as well as the use of federal funds to purchase programming for NPR stations. In the 2010 fiscal year, NPR received more than $5 million in direct funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, and the National Endowment for the Arts. With so many free radio choices available to Missourians, it is unwise during a time of budget constraints for Missourians to be forced to subsidize National Public Radio or any other media. NPR must stand on its own without taxpayer dollars and I believe it can do so.
This week the House also passed a bill to end an irresponsible federal program that provides taxpayer dollars to state and local governments to buy, renovate, rebuild, and resell abandoned and foreclosed property. The program has been plagued with problems since its inception. Furthermore, the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has identified many cases of misused funds within this program. The General Accountability Office - the “Congressional watchdog” - has also noted HUD’s inadequate tracking of funds for this program. It is essential that Congress put an end to government programs that are not working or that are wasting taxpayer dollars. This is one such example which the House dealt with this week. By repealing it, we saved taxpayers $175 million. You can be sure I will join my colleagues in looking for more government waste in future weeks and months as I work on behalf of 4th District taxpayers.