Issa tightens pressure on Obama’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Evidence is piling up that the White House-appointed chairman of Nuclear Regulatory Commission lied to Congress last December, according to a four page latter signed by House government oversight chairman Rep. Darrell Issa.

“Making false statements to Congress is a serious matter,” said Issa’s May 7 letter to Gregory Jaczko, the NRC’s chairman. “The committee has afforded you ample opportunity to clarify your [December] testimony, only to be met with silence.” (RELATED:Issa appeals to more Democrats to join him on Fast and Furious inquiry)

The letter ended with a clear threat of further House action. “Your failure to respond will be taken into consideration as the Committee evaluates further investigative actions,” it said.

Jaczko is a protégé of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who asked President Barack Obama to appoint him to the NRC.

Once at the NRC, Jaczko effectively shut down the nuclear waste storage site at Yucca Mountain in Reid’s home state of Nevada.

The Yucca Mountain facility, which has long been opposed by Nevada lawmakers, cost taxpayers billions of dollars to build and was almost complete when Jaczko’s NRC shut it down in 2009. Without the site, the federal government is paying nuclear energy companies roughly $400 million a year to store nuclear waste in less secure facilities around the nation.

Jaczko’s management of the NRC also generated complaints from his subordinates.

Those complaints prompted the December hearing at which Jaczko denied abusing his employees to the point of causing them to cry or even hearing of their complaints.

“Evidence obtained by the committee directly contradicts [your December] testimony,” Issa and several members of the committee charged in the May 7.

“Though you testified that you were not aware of these [abusive] events prior to the December 2011 hearings, multiple sources have reported that you personally apologized to at least three female employees following these hearings… [and] you [earlier] sought professional assistant with a managing your temper and its effects on the staff,” Issa’s letter declared.

But instead of acknowledging the problems, “you impeded this [House] Committee’s investigation into the management of the NRC and ignored or provided questionable responses,” said Issa’s letter.

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