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Issue Statements

Energy Independence

Graham Opposes Obama Decision on Keystone XL Pipeline

"Mr. President, what are you thinking?"

06/25/2013 3:27:00 PM

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on President Obama's decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Graham Says Folly Beach To Receive $20.4 Million

"I appreciate Secretary Darcy working with us to get these funds reprogrammed."

06/25/2013 11:12:00 AM

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said Folly Beach will receive $20.4 million in beach renourishment funding.

Graham Legislation Provides 'Rebate' to Consumers, Utilities, and Communities for Obama Administration's Refusal to Open Yucca Mountain

Posted by Tate, Press Assistant

03/12/2012 9:26:00 AM

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), one of the strongest supporters of nuclear energy in the Senate, has introduced legislation, The Nuclear Waste Fund Relief and Rebate Act.


Electric utilities have been paying into the Nuclear Waste Trust Fund to construct and operate a permanent federal nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.  The utilities have been charging their costumers a monthly fee in each electricity bill to make these payments.  According to the latest information, South Carolina residents alone have already contributed more than $1.3 billion to the fund, which has collected a total of more than $35 billion in fees.


The legislation introduced by Graham would rebate these monies back to electric utilities and consumers.  Seventy-five percent of the amount rebated to utilities would be returned to their customers and the remaining portion will be used to make upgrades to on-site storage facilities.


Additionally, the legislation authorizes payments to states currently housing defense nuclear waste scheduled to be transferred to Yucca Mountain.  These payments begin in 2017, the date in which Yucca Mountain was to set to receive shipments of defense nuclear waste.


“No one should be required to pay for an empty hole in the Nevada desert,” said Graham.  “The decision by the Obama Administration to close Yucca Mountain was ill-advised and leaves our nation without a disposal plan for spent nuclear fuel or Cold War waste.  It was a political, not scientific, decision.  It is incumbent on the Administration to come up with a disposal plan for this real problem facing our nation.”


The major provisions of the Graham legislation include:   
  • Presidential Certification:  The Department of Energy has spent billions of dollars and decades studying the suitability of Yucca Mountain as the nation’s repository for spent nuclear fuel and defense waste.  Consistently, the science has borne out that Yucca Mountain is the best site to dispose of nuclear waste.  Within 30 days of passage, the President must certify that Yucca Mountain remains the preferred choice to serve as the federal repository for spent nuclear fuel and defense-related nuclear waste.
  • Failure to Certify Leads to Rebates:  If the President fails to make the above certification, or revokes the certification at a later date, all funds currently in the Nuclear Waste Trust Fund shall be rebated back to the utilities.  Seventy-five percent of the amount rebated to utilities would be returned to their customers and the remaining money will be used to make security and storage upgrades at existing nuclear power plants.
  • Defense Waste:  Currently, there is at least 12,800 metric tons of defense-related waste at nuclear weapons complex facilities around the country.  Unlike commercial spent fuel, this waste has no potential future defense or civilian uses.  In many states, the accumulated waste poses the largest potential public health threat.  In order to help mitigate the risk associated with the indefinite storage of defense waste, the legislation authorizes payments of up to $100 million per year if defense waste has not begun to have left the states by 2017.
  • Waste Confidence:  In order to continue to renew or issue licenses for civilian nuclear power plants, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) must have reasonable confidence that the waste will be disposed of safely.  The legislation includes waste confidence language that allows for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue to license nuclear reactors in the event the Presidential certification is not made.  

“Our nation needs real options as a result of the uncertainty created by the Obama Administration’s change in policy,” said Graham.  “I will push this legislation forward and hope to have the full Senate on-the-record on this important issue.”


Co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), John McCain (R-Arizona), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin).



On Nuclear Power Permits Issued by NRC

By Senator Lindsey Graham

02/09/2012 9:12:00 PM

I am very pleased the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted 4-1 today to approve the nations’ first nuclear reactor construction permits in more than three decades.

This is a major step on the road to a nuclear renaissance in the United States.  NRC approvals will allow us to move forward as a nation in building new reactors for the first time in more than 30 years.  When it comes to the development of nuclear power, America has been sleeping like Rip Van Winkle, plus another ten years.

Now that Southern Company has gotten the green light for the new Vogtle facility, I am hopeful SCANA and Santee Cooper will be the next in line to receive permits for Jenkinsville.  I will continue to do everything in my power to keep the next generation of nuclear power on track and moving forward in the United States.

On Sponsoring Legislation to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline

by Senator Lindsey Graham

01/30/2012 2:12:00 PM

Today, I joined 43 Senators in sponsoring legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.  In addition to providing stable oil supplies, Keystone XL is also expected to create approximately 130,000 jobs.


The Obama Administration’s decision to delay construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was irresponsible.  Keystone XL will create thousands of jobs in the United States and also help reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East and Venezuela.


The legislation approves Keystone XL under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8.


Under the legislation, TransCanada will be authorized to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The bill allows the company to move forward with construction of the pipeline in the United States while the state of Nebraska works to determine an alternative route.  When completed, the pipeline will transport an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries.


The construction and operation of Keystone XL is an economic and energy must-do for the United States. I am pleased to support this effort and am hopeful it will pass the Congress in a strong, bipartisan vote.

On President Obama's Decision to Reject the Keystone Pipeline

By Senator Lindsey Graham

01/18/2012 3:19:00 PM

I am deeply disappointed in President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone Pipeline.  Today’s decision ensures that we will continue to be dependent on oil from the Middle East and Venezuela indefinitely.  Today the President not only rejected the pipeline, but he rejected the thousands of “shovel-ready” jobs that come along with the pipeline’s construction.

Canada will continue to develop the oil sands, only instead of selling us the oil, they will send it to China.

The benefits of the pipeline are clear.  Well over 1,000 American companies supply goods and services to Canadian oil sands and pipeline companies and the ripple effects are creating employment in numerous other industries.  Keystone XL is expected to create 20,000 direct jobs during construction and 118,000 indirect and spinoff jobs. It will also contribute $20 billion of economic stimulus to the United States during construction.  Every state will benefit economically from this activity.

Beginning the construction of the Keystone pipeline while Nebraska decides on routing is the smart decision. Construction should begin without further delay.

I Am Pleased With the DOE Decision to Keep H-Canyon Operable

by Senator Lindsey Graham

10/31/2011 2:57:00 PM

I am pleased the Department of Energy has reversed course and agreed to allow the H-Canyon at Savannah River Site to be used to produce approximately 3.7 metric tons of plutonium oxide feedstock for the MOX facility.  In President Obama’s budget submission to Congress earlier this year the Administration had proposed putting the canyon in ‘cold standby,’ likely rendering it inoperable for future use.


I have worked very closely with the Savannah River Site, the Department of Energy, and NNSA to reverse this decision and guarantee future work for H-canyon.


Allowing H-Canyon to produce the initial feedstock for MOX is most welcome news.  I’m pleased they have recognized the versatility of this unique asset. The use of H-Canyon will begin the process of converting weapons grade plutonium into nuclear fuel and setting a pathway for the material to ultimately leave South Carolina.  As a long-time supporter of MOX, I believe it is the ultimate example of turning swords into plowshares.


The Savannah River Site’s H and F canyons played an important role in our nation’s nuclear weapons complex.  Constructed in the 1950s, the versatility of the canyons were shown through their work in manufacturing components of nuclear weapons, fuel for our NASA missions, and most recently through H-canyon’s conversion of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) into commercial nuclear fuel.


After the Cold War ended, the Department of Energy decided that they did not need two canyons and closed down F-canyon.  This left H-canyon as the only facility in the country that could perform critical separations work.


Despite the canyon’s age, it still remains one of the backbones of SRS.  There is a significant amount of research reactor fuel and other nuclear material that needs to be processed through the canyon.  The canyon can also play an important role in developing the next generation of spent fuel recycling.


By providing feedstock for MOX, H-canyon will continue in its historical national security work.  It should also not preclude other work from happening in the canyon.  There remains room to work on spent fuel recycling and other important missions.  I look forward to continuing to work with the site, the community, and the Department of Energy as we move forward.

In Support of the Coburn Amendment on Ethanol Subsidies

by Senator Lindsey Graham

06/14/2011 4:04:00 PM

Just voted in support of the Coburn Amendment to eliminate $6 billion in ethanol subsidies. These subsidies skew the costs of corn in the United States up and down the supply chain. The Coburn Amendment would have also helped us begin paying down our national debt.

In Support of the McConnell Amendment

by Senator Lindsey Graham

04/06/2011 6:10:00 PM

EPA regulation of carbon is the worst possible outcome and a disaster in the making.  The EPA will put burdens on consumers and businesses they cannot handle.  It has long been clear to me that elected representatives should write the rules, not the EPA.  I believe it is a noble endeavor for our country to pursue the cleanest air and purest water in the world. But the worst way to pursue those objectives is through heavy-handed EPA regulation.

Graham on Nuclear Energy in Committee Hearing

Posted by Meghan, Press Secretary

03/30/2011 6:06:00 PM

Lindsey Graham Questions Secretary Hilary Clinton

Posted by Meghan, Press Secretary

03/02/2011 3:55:00 PM

Graham on Meet The Press

Posted by Meghan, Press Secretary

01/04/2011 4:04:00 PM

Senator Graham Reacts to President's Speech

Posted by Meghan, Press Secretary

06/16/2010 10:39:00 AM

Senator Graham on Bloomberg TV, "Political Capital"

Posted by Meghan, Press Secretary

06/14/2010 1:12:00 PM

Graham Floor Speech Opposing EPA Regulations

Posted by Meghan, Press Secretary

06/10/2010 12:02:00 PM

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