Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute, a self proclaimed libertarian think tank, recently visited Fox Business to explain his opposition to nuclear energy. The episode was on the Stossel Show and is called Nuclear Power: Republican Junk Economics?.
If you listen really closely, you will hear him using almost exactly the same words about government involvement in the industry that Amory Lovins uses. He claims that private investors will not spend “a single red dime” on the technology and compares its economic viability to solar energy. He also has some very good things to say about the ability of the United States to generate even more electricity using natural gas.
Based on what I know about accelerated depreciation schedules, depletion allowances and even alternative fuel credits, I cannot understand why a true libertarian would give natural gas a pass while focusing on the nuclear plant loan guarantee program. That program, with its carefully designed and implemented due diligence requirements for project viability, should actually produce revenue for the government. It should also enable the restart of a formerly lucrative US manufacturing industry that was decimated, partly through government regulatory action.
Others might disagree with my categorization of this video as a smoking gun, but Source Watch indicates that the Cato Institute was co-founded by Charles Koch. Here is what the entry says about that co-founder – he is “the billionaire co-owner of Koch Industries; the largest privately owned company in the United States. Though diversified, the company amassed most of its fortune in oil trading and refining.” It is also worth noting that Cato is a leading climate change skeptic and employs Dr. Patrick Michaels as a senior fellow. It is pretty clear that Cato was founded with oil and gas money and is a strong advocate for oil, coal and natural gas.
Since this story indicates that Cato is also a committed opponent of nuclear energy, based on faulty logic that calls a loan guarantee a government give away, it qualifies for the smoking gun designation.