Nuclear Industry Lobbying: Data


The New York Times ran a story today on the nuclear industry’s lobbying efforts over the past decade to revive the industry. The lobbying and PR campaign has been brilliant and effectively catapulted the nuclear industry into the discussion of clean energy in Washington that brought both parties together on a pro-nuclear consensus. That consensus looks to be fraying after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor disaster currently unfolding in Japan.

The Times story cites and links to a story I wrote earlier this week, so I thought I’d share some of the data directly. Here’s the relevant Times quote:

And the industry has spent tens of millions more lately on lobbying. Last year, electric utilities, trade groups and other backers spent $54 million hiring lobbyists, including former members of Congress, to make their case, according to a separate analysis by the Sunlight Foundation, which also tracks money and politics.

And here’s the relevant quote from my post:

An analysis of the lobbying expenses of electric utilities operating a majority of the nation’s nuclear reactors and the main industry trade group show a doubling on lobbying spending since 2004. The industry’s lobbying jumped from $27 million prior to the nuclear-friendly Energy Act of 2005 to nearly $54 million in 2010.

In collecting this data I looked at the thirteen major companies operating nuclear reactors and the main industry trade group, the Nuclear Energy Institute. Some reactors are operated by government cooperatives or the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), so these were excluded. I also had to exclude Pacific Gas & Electric because they file their lobbying disclosure reports in a dramatically different way than the other utilities. Including PG&E’s numbers would have wildly skewed the data upwards.

PG&E reported spending over $45 million on lobbying in 2010. Only a small fraction of this number was actually spent on lobbying the federal government. The rest was spent on state-level lobbying and campaigns against propositions they opposed. PG&E does list, as a note, a separate amount for federal lobbying on their quarterly filings, however, this is not consistent for the number of years that I covered in reviewing the nuclear industry’s lobbying.

Anyway, here’s the list of companies and trade group that I looked at and their lobbying spending year over year. (All data came from the Center for Responsive Politics):

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