On the campaign trail, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has claimed, “I oppose subsidies. Not just ethanol subsidies. Subsidies.” However, McCain also says he will not support climate change legislation without a “dramatically increased role for nuclear power.” In an interview today on Gristmill, top McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin attempts to square the circle:
And if there’s a genuine national interest in using nuclear power as an available, feasible, zero-emissions technology, I don’t think he would argue that that’s a special-interest thing. It’s something the nation needs to do as a priority, and if that means a subsidy, then we need to make the agreement we’re going to do that for those reasons. I think that’s an appropriate role for government, in his view.
Holtz-Eakin went on to claim that nuclear subsidies are needed because of “powerful political obstacles” to nuclear power:
He views this as leveling, not subsidizing.
McCain may frequently praise himself for using “straight talk” to oppose all subsidies — but will change his tune for the nuclear industry, perhaps because Arizona is home to the nation’s largest nuclear power plant.
But home-state pride can’t fully explain McCain’s obsession with a dangerous and permanently toxic energy source. Arizona’s deserts offer the highest solar power potential of any state in the country. Yet McCain thinks the nascent industry “is doing fine” — and he’s backed up this talk by repeatedly killing incentives for solar power.