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Project on Government Oversight

POGO Opposes White House Nomination of Industry Cheerleader for Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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October 15, 2009

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) expressed its strong concern about President Obama’s choice of William Magwood to fill a vacant seat on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). In a letter sent to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chair Senator Barbara Boxer and Ranking Member James Inhofe yesterday, POGO questioned Mr. Magwood’s ability to effectively oversee and regulate the more than 120 licenses and renewal applications currently and soon to be before the Commission, and opposed his nomination.

“This nomination flies in the face of the spirit of President Obama’s commitment to high ethical standards for the Administration’s appointees,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian.  “We believe it should be examined in the full light of public and congressional scrutiny.” 

Since his retirement from government service in 2005, Mr. Magwood has been actively involved in efforts to advance nuclear industry business opportunities domestically and abroad. Mr. Magwood has also been an investor and an officer at Secure Energy North America Corporation, a company that is “working with industry and investors to develop novel approaches to finance new nuclear power stations in the United States.

”POGO also expressed its concern that, should Mr. Magwood be confirmed, it would undermine the oversight and regulatory function of the NRC.  POGO asked the Committee to examine whether Mr. Magwood’s independence from the nuclear energy industry was sufficient to effectively regulate the uses of nuclear materials and facilities in the United States, enforce health and safety standards, and hold licensees accountable for damage to property caused by nuclear activities. 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.