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The NRC head under fire for stonewalling the Yucca Mountain repository probe fits the pattern of sneakiness found in this administration's high-level appointees.

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Latest Obama ‘Transparency’ Shroud: Nuclear Regulatory Chief Jaczko

The NRC head under fire for stonewalling the Yucca Mountain repository probe fits the pattern of sneakiness found in this administration’s high-level appointees.

Three weeks after his treatment of colleagues came under harsh fire from a report by his commission’s inspector general and two weeks after he was grilled by the House Energy Subcommittee on the Environment, Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Gregory Jaczko looms large as the next likeliest official to exit the Obama administration.

Jaczko, who worked as a science adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid before assuming the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) helm, has been working assiduously on one of his old boss’s cherished causes: ending the Department of Energy’s program for a nuclear waste repository at the Yucca Mountain in Nevada.  Backed by President Obama (who fully supports Nevada Democrat Reid in moving the repository to a site other than Yucca), Jaczko issued a directive that stopped an NRC evaluation of the Yucca project.  As a result of the lack of supporting data, work on the project was ordered to halt by Jaczko—in effect, doing the bidding of Reid and Obama.

This led to to the recent and highly critical report on Jaczko by NRC Inspector General Hubert Bell.  Two weeks ago, Bell testified before the environment subcommittee that Jaczko abused his legal authority by deliberately withholding key decision-making information from fellow commissioners and intentionally blocking issues for resolution that were long overdue.

“It appears that Chairman Jaczko has let politics trump science here, that he’s manipulated the process,” Rep. and subcommittee member Joe Pitts (R.-Pa.) told HUMAN EVENTS.  “He’s misled some of the fellow commissioners about the consequences of the actions that were taken, and I think the credibility of the NRC has been damaged.  Its reputation has been damaged.  There’s some real serious questions about the agency’s independence and scientific integrity.”

Pitts stopped short of demanding Jaczko’s resignation.  But it is quite clear from his tone and the conclusions of the inspector general’s report that this is only the beginning of what could easily be a controversial Obama appointee twisting slowly in the wind.

The particular criticism that the Obama-named NRC chairman appeared to operate independently and not inform colleagues on the panel is not unique among the President’s appointees to important regulatory bodies.  Just last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) voted 3 to 1 for new rules on workplace elections favored by organized labor, including reducing the period before elections from a current median time of 37 days to as few as 10 days.  The three Democratic members voting for the rules change (which severely limits the response time for business) did so by communicating through staff “and never brought [Republican appointee Brian] Hayes into the discussion, as he noted in his dissent,” said former NLRB Chairman Peter Schaumber.

Given the behavior of the NLRB majority and now Jaczko at the NRC, one has to ask, whatever happened to the President’s vow of a transparent administration?

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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