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SPSR Advocacy Toolkit

SPSR Advocacy Toolkit

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Published by neethusree7188
This is the SPSR advocacy toolkit, built to help students grow into successful medical advocates.
This is the SPSR advocacy toolkit, built to help students grow into successful medical advocates.

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Published by: neethusree7188 on Aug 06, 2010
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Preventing what
we cannot cure
A training guide for future health professionals

Table of Contents

Part I: Mission & Vision
Strategic Priorities
Part II: What is Advocacy?
Medical Advocacy
Part III: Building Your Chapter
Step 1: Getting Started
Step 2: Organization & Structure
Step 3: Resources
Step 4: Building rapport
Overall Goals
Part IV: Advocacy Strategies
Strategy 1: Reaching Congress
Strategy 2: Reaching the media
Strategy 3: Hosting events
Strategy 4: Building partnerships

Page 2

"Physicians have an obligation to consider the entire public as their
patient. Even without prior activist experience, medical students can
make a huge difference in their own community through student
groups, while building the skills necessary to tackle threats from
government legislation. SPSR is a great starting point for those who
have the desire to create change."
÷Marie Kim, President of SPSR University of Iowa Chapter

¨7hroughout m, o|most 30 ,eors o[ med|co| odvococ, through PSß,
l hove o|wo,s 5e||eved thot one person`s e[[orts con moke o d|[[er-
ence. As health professional students, you are fortunate to have
each other. Your energy and fresh ideas are an inspiration for the
rest of us. Thank you so much for embarking on this journey with
,our co||eogues |n SPSß.¨
÷ Dr. Peter Wilk, Executive Director PSR

Page 3

We would like to thank the following
individuals for their continued support:
Marie Kim for her helpful edits, Craig
Levoy for his diligent, prompt work ethic,
and Molly Rauch and Rebecca Abelman
for their revisions and advice.

Page 4 Part I: Mission & Vision

Part I: Mission & Vision

Who are we?

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), founded in 1961, is the medical
and public health voice working to prevent the use or spread of nuclear
weapons and to slow, stop and reverse global warming and the
degradation of the environment. PSR is the U.S. Affiliate of International
Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the recipient of the
1985 Nobel Peace Prlze. PSR stresses tbat a pbyslclan's job ooes not stop at tbe
clinic ÷ a physician must be concerned about the greater good of mankind. As a
health professional, your work extends beyond the hospital or clinic÷you are
an advocate for implementing and changing policies to protect the rest of the
population. PSR has over 50,000 members and 31 PSR chapters, all committed
to the same mission. You are a part of PSR!

Student Physicians for Social Responsibility (SPSR) is a program of PSR
ano ecboes PSR's vlslon, brlnglng tbese lssues to tbe meolcal stuoent communlty.
SPSR has 41 chapters and is headed by two national student representatives who
both sit on the Board of Directors for PSR and guide SPSR as a whole.

Student Physicians for Social Responsibility is a group of
student health professionals working to promote
environmental justice, address social disparities, and
advocate for a peaceful and secure world.

Page 5 Part I: Mission & Vision
SPSR has three different focus areas:

These focus areas each have a few ´VWUDWHJLF SULRULWLHVµ or goals that
drive the overall mission.

Social Justice

Fairness for all
Guided by the values and expertise of medicine and public health, PSR seeks to
protect human life worldwide from the impact of social injustice and structural
violence. The root causes of social injustice are many and include a widening gap
between rich and poor, unequal distribution of resources worldwide,
discrimination, and the disenfranchisement of individuals and groups from the
political process. SPSR is committed to highlighting the disproportionate negative
effects that issues like environmental degradation, war, and nuclear waste have on
poorer communities of color both nationally and internationally.

Equal Access to Healthcare
Whether it is through promoting legislature for equal access to healthcare or
providing the homeless with healthcare services, student PSR chapters support
universal access to basic health services.


Social Justice


Peace &

Page 6 Part I: Mission & Vision
Environmental Justice

Individual and community health are intrinsically linked to the environment; in order
to improve our own health, we must develop a more sustainable relationship with
the environment. Environmental degradations such as the use of environmental
toxins and consequences related to climate change disproportionately affect the
poorest communities and communities of color. Student PSR aims to raise
awareness of the health effects of environmental destruction and their effect on
communities, and to act in support of a verdant and just world. Through education
and advocacy, SPSR addresses a wide range of issues such as climate change, toxins,
clean energy, and greening healthcare at the local, national, and international level.

Peace & Security

Supporting a nonviolent and fair world
War threatens the health and livelihood of military personnel and civilians
alike. Modern warfare takes a direct toll on the physical and mental health of those
involved. Furthermore, war is expensive, leading to the diversion of considerable
amounts of resources from worthy endeavors including healthcare and
education. Student PSR recognizes that peace is the precursor to a better world,
and supports the promotion of a truly secure global environment.

Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament
Nuclear weapons pose the single greatest security threat to our global
existence. The use of a nuclear weapon would completely overwhelm the public
health infrastructure, rendering any current strategies ineffectual. In facing the
nuclear threat, SPSR's motto is especially relevant: we must prevent what we
cannot cure. SPSR seeks to minimize this danger through global disarmament and
by lobbying for steps toward zero nuclear weapons.

Safe Energy

SPSR is committed to promoting research of and use of alternative energy sources.
Coal-fired power plants are not only the leading climate change culprit in the US,
but also one ot tbe natlon's largest sources ot alr pollutants. Tbls alr pollutlon bas
been linked to cardiovascular and respiratory compromise. Nuclear energy is
economically unsound and mired in unresolved safety issues that pose a threat to
public health. SPSR advocates for focusing on real energy solutions from
renewable, efficient sources.
Page 6

Page 7 Part II: What is advocacy?

Step 2: Organization & Structure

There must be a hierarchy within your SPSR chapter in order to successfully
propel your ship forward. Here is an example:

Knowing who is responsible for what tasks in your chapter will help ensure and
improve the efficiency of your advocacy work. Also, by giving your core leaders
titles and specific responsibilities it will help maintain the stability of your

Draw your own structure and list the main responsibilities of each position:
Step 2: Organization & Structure

Part II: What is advocacy?

Guru: Now let me teach you the ways of ad-
vocacy, young one!
Four Step Problem
Solving Process:

1) Identifying problems
2) Finding solutions
3) Planning advocacy strategies
4) Finding the common ground
between those three steps
Changes in
policies &
That "sweet spot" is where we need to
be. We must identify problems, find so-
lutions, and plan advocacy strategies,
and ultimately create change in policies
and programs.
Advocacy is not just identifying
problems or solutions. While
identifying problems and finding
solutions are both integral parts
to the process, advocacy is an
independent action dedicated
to changing policies, positions or
programs of an institution.
cacy is only one part of a four
step problem solving process, as
illustrated below.

Part II: What is advocacy?
What is medical advocacy?

Medical advocacy aims to change policies that are relevant to medicine. Student
Physicians for Social Responsibility (SPSR) concentrates on three sectors:
Environment & Health, Peace and Security, and Social Justice. For example, nuclear
disarmament is a medical issue, as nuclear weapons can potentially cause many
health-endangering consequences, such as radioactive contamination. SPSR
advocates for complete nuclear disarmament. You are a SPSR medical

Most SPSR groups choose a few issues that they are passionate about and focus on
tbose core lssues tor tbe year. PSR asks tbat you support ano aovance PSR's loeals
in at least one of its main program areas÷Peace & Security, Environment & Health,
and Social Justice. Communicate your ideas with your National Student
Representatives (NSR). You can also focus on other areas of interest; for example,
Philadelphia SPSR groups mainly focus on gun violence.

Which issues will your SPSR chapter focus on? Plan in the box below:

Don't forget to teII us your pIans! E-mail studentpsr@psr.org.

Page 8

Dr. Peter Wilk, Executive Director PSR

Page 9 Part III: Building Your Chapter
Part III: Building Your Chapter

Now tbat you know wbat SPSR's mlsslon ano strateglc prlorltles are, as well as
what medical advocacy is, you are ready to build your own SPSR chapter! In
order to construct a united front to advocate for a change in a specific policy,
you must have a cohesive, organized and strong group of energized advocates.
This section provides helpful advice for building a successful SPSR chapter.

Step 1: Getting Started

1) Register as an SPSR advocate on the PSR website: http://www.psr.org/

2) Contact PSR National at psrnational@psr.org and your local PSR
chapter. Find your local PSR chapter: http://www.psr.org/chapters/

3) Identify three to four core helpers who are interested in starting this
SPSR chapter with you.

4) Hold a kick-off event. See below and Part IV: Advocacy Strategies for
details on holding events.

5) Make a plan or start an initiative, and then request a mini-grant from PSR
Ex. Design a campaign that asks Congress to get rid of
environmental toxins. Write up a concise, yet well explained grant
request for this campaign.

Part III: Building Your Chapter
Step 2: Organization & Structure

There must be a hierarchy within your SPSR chapter in order to successfully
propel your organization forward.

Knowing who is responsible for each task in your chapter will improve the
efficiency of your advocacy work. Also, giving your core leaders titles and specific
responsibilities will maintain the stability of your chapter.

Draw your own structure and list the main responsibilities of each position:
Secretary Treasurer

Page 10

Page 11 Part III: Building Your Chapter
Step 3: Resources

You will need some help building your chapter ÷ wbetber lt's wltb capltal, loeas,
or organization.

1) Knowledge of school assistance: What does your school offer to
student groups? Make sure to ask! Sometimes student groups are
provided free office space, conference reimbursements, free poster
printings, etc.
2) Email studentpsr@psr.org: This e-mail address is for any questions or
comments eltber about PSR natlonal's lnltlatlves or about your own
3) Contact your local PSR chapter: Use the PSR website (http://
www.psr.org/chapters/) to find your local PSR chapter. Perhaps you
can hold a joint event or share some of their resources.

Step 4: Building rapport within your chapter

This step is essential to building a strong, cohesive chapter.

1) Use a social media network, such as Facebook, to create a group or
fan page. You can have members post relevant articles or thoughts on
that page, creating a living space for your group!

2) Create a ¨wiki.¨ Wlkl ls a oatabase ot pages tbat anyone can eolt at any
time. Some wikis are moderated, meaning someone reviews the changes
before they are made. A wiki can be a useful tool for information sharing.
Visit www.wiki.com to read more and create one today!

3) Create an e-mail listserv to facilitate shared communication by using a
Yahoo or Google group. This allows you to send an e-mail to all
members by just e-mailing one Yahoo or Google group address.

Where we need to be

Overall goals for your chapter:

How do you gauge the success of your chapter? This is what every chapter
should strive for:

1) Events: Events are essential to maintaining a successful chapter. They
are what attracts members and keeps members, as events tend to be
both informative and fun ÷ and students love free food! Successful
chapters should be hosting at least two large events as well as three
fundraisers per year.

2) Funds: PSR offers mini grants for SPSR chapters for specific initiatives
that an SPSR chapter is launching. For example, if an SPSR chapter
launches a campaign on environmental health and sends an advocacy plan
to PSR National, PSR consider sending a grant to that chapter.
Furthermore, try to keep a target amount of around $500 to hold events
and for meetings.

3) Members: There is power in numbers: members may have useful
contacts, draw attention and thus generate more members, and give your
SPSR chapter credibility. Extending invitations to public health, pre-
medical and dental students helps increase awareness, resources, and
funds, and as an added benefit, you may gain potential members! Aim for
a core group of 20-25 dedicated members.

Part III: Building Your Chapter Page 12

Page 13 Part IV: Advocacy Strategies
Part IV: Advocacy Strategies
How do you implement your advocacy agenda? Detailed below are some
strategies that you and your SPSR chapter can use in order to be successful

Strategy #1: Reaching Congress
One of the most important aspects of advocacy is meeting with those who
impact policy. These meetings are used to persuade lawmakers to take a course
of action that you support. This is called lobbying. Your congresspersons are
there to represent the views of their constituents÷lt's tbelr job! Leglslators
expect to be contacts and need to be
contacted in order to perform their
duty well. Elected officials and their staff
regularly meet with constituents to
hear their views, though the majority of
visitors are paid lobbyists representing
industry and corporations. The
corporate interest is not always
retlectlve ot tbe lnolvloual's lnterest, so
it is critical to counterbalance those voices with opinions of concerned citizens
like YOU!

1) Visiting your congressperson's office, either in your district or in
Washington, is the most effective lobbying strategy. This way, one gains
face-to-face contact and can build rapport with the congressperson. First,
call and make an appointment with your member of congress. If you
cannot get an appointment, ask to meet with the staff person that is most
qualified to talk about the issue in which you are concerned.

2) Before the meeting:

x Gather an interested group of people to show that this issue affects
more than one person.
x Establish your agenda and goals.
x Researcb your member's stance.
Lobbying is the action of
attempting to influence a
congressperson's actions,
especially in terms of voting.

3) During the meeting:

x Be concise and to the point, as you have to remember that your
member of congress does have a busy schedule.
x Press for commitment; do not let
your member of congress evade
the issue. Ask specifically for his or
her position on the issue.
x Stress why this issue concerns you
and others. Cite local statistics and
give examples of those who will be
most affected.

4) After the meeting:

x Make sure to thank the member
or the staff person for his or her
x Provide a follow-up e-mail or fact
sheet, or perhaps schedule a
second meeting. Keep in touch, so
you can eventually build a
x Share the knowledge you learned
and tell the PSR national office.

Best Practices

Prepare a convincing

Explain the problem, and
then explain your solution

Pick a few tacts: oon't
throw too many at them!

Explain why it is important
for the community.

Bring a business card or
contact information with

Bring PSR resources or
fact sheets if relevant.
Part IV: Advocacy Strategies Page 14

Strategy #2: Reaching the media

The media is influential in educating the public
and shaping public policies. If you want Congress
to pass clean air legislation or ratify the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, you have to
keep those issues in the public eye. As a SPSR
advocate, you must ensure tbat SPSR's vlews are
heard above voices of the high-priced lobbyists
for the coal and oil industries, military
contractors, or pro-gun lobbyists.


2. Letter to the editor ÷ These are among the most popular and widely read
parts of every daily newspaper. Most importantly, elected officials carefully
monitor this section of the newspaper ÷ along with the editorial page ÷ to
discern local opinion. (For example, see Appendix C.)

3. Ask local media sources to come cover your events ÷ By covering your
events, you will be keeping the public informed and keep SPSR issues in the
spotlight. This will attract attention from the public, other advocates, and
elected officials.
x One page at maximum with a brief headline
x Print "MEDIA ADVISORY" in the top left corner
x Provide contact names, phone numbers and e-mail.
x Highlight the date, time and place.
x Briefly describe the purpose, speakers and if there will be
photo opportunities.
x Indicate the end of the page by placing a "###".
Page 15 Part IV: Advocacy Strategies
1. Write a media advisory ÷ A media advisory is written to media outlets
before an event, alerting them of an upcoming event. It only includes the very
basics of the event ÷ tbe ¨wbo, wbat, wbere, wben ano wby.¨ Tbe objectlve
of a media advisory is to persuade the media into coming and covering the
event. Present your event as worthy of coverage!
(For example, see Appen-
dix A.)
The media is a means of
communi cati on that i s
designed to reach vast
amounts of people.

There are four basic types:
1. Television
2. Radio
3. Newspapers & magazines
4. Internet

4. Write a press release ~ A press release is a report written for press to read
during an event. It is generally 1-2 pages describing the basic findings of a
report, sometimes including quotes by speakers, and is released on the day of
the event. Press releases should be distributed during the event. Sometimes
press releases are used to issue statements in reaction to news events. For
example, PSR might issue a press release in support of proposed gun control
legislation. Make sure to send PSR National a copy of the release! (For
example, see Appendix B.)

Best Practices

Be concise and keep press
releases short.

Be sure to include a contact

Always have the date of the
event on all materials.

Call to confirm that your
press material s were
received and maintain a
relationship with the media
Part IV: Advocacy Strategies Page 16
x Two pages maximum, double-spaced, one-sided
x Brief headline
x Highlight the release date
x Provide contact names and numbers
x Indicate the end of the page by placing a "###".
x Include a sentence or two about your organization.
5. Editorials and op-eds ~ An op-ed is an
opinion piece that generally runs in a daily
newspaper showcasing a specific issue that
an authorized individual feels passionate
about. Op-eds can raise the profile of an
important issue, establish your group as a
player in the solution of a problem, and
encourage citizen action. (For example, see
Appendix D.)

6. Facebook and other social media
networks ~ Social media networks, such
as Facebook, are great tools and resources
to use in order to get a message out to a
large mass of young people. Facebook has
many potential SPSR advocates ÷ take ad-
vantage of the opportunities and networks
that social media gives you access to.

Strategy #3: Hosting events

Events are a perfect way to invite outsiders to learn more about your issues and
the mission of your group. Planning events also gives your group members the
opportunity to have a greater involvement in the activities of the organization.
Ultimately, by holding events, you will be expanding your support base and
educating your local community.


1. Book signings ~ Book signings are a great way to attract new, potential SPSR
advocates as well as current ones. By having a popular and knowledgeable
author (a sort of celebrity) speak about an issue that SPSR focuses on, i.e.
nuclear proliferation, you can draw current as well as potentially new members
to unite for an interesting event. Offering discounted books, personally signed
by the author, may be a magnet as well.

Best Practices

Always provide food and

Provide biographies of
speakers or panelists,

Keep a sign-in sheet
available to keep track of all
attendees. Include space for

Be sure to follow up with
attendees via e-mail or
phone call.
Page 17 Part IV: Advocacy Strategies
2. Panel discussion ÷ Panels with experts in
a relevant field speaking about SPSR issues
draw many students, as students are gen-
erally interested in gaining contacts and
networking. By hosting these panels, you
may be able to expand your SPSR chapter!

3. Campus organization fairs ÷ These
fairs are a perfect way to introduce your
chapter to the rest of your college cam-
pus. Generally, each club will be assigned
one table that they can use to advertise
their group. Make fliers or brochures, and
a poster to olsplay at your cbapter's table.
Make sure to have a few sign-up sheets
handy with fields for names and e-mail ad-

4. Movie screenings ÷ Movie screenings are generally centered around a
movie that is relevant to your specific issue. For example, if you are
interested in nuclear disarmament, you could have a movie screening in
wblcb all ot your members watcb tbe oocumentary ¨Countoown to Zero.¨
Hold a reception afterwards that involves a discussion and some free food to
allow members to discuss how they felt about the movie! Movie screenings
increase awareness in an entertaining way, and thus can be really popular and
well attended events.

5. Grand Rounds on Medical School Campuses ÷ This is generally a
presentation delivered by an expert, often based on a specific patient or case,
with a question and answer session at the end. Before the presentation, give
a short summary of your SPSR chapter and its recent activity, and after the
presentation, make sure to encourage the medical students present to attend
one ot your cbapter's meetlngs. Remlno tbem ot tbe oate ano tlme ot tbe
next meeting, and persuade them to come.
Part IV: Advocacy Strategies Page 18

Strategy #4: Building partnerships

Working on climate change? Safe energy? There are probably dozens of other
organizations that are working on the same topic. Research other local groups
that seem like good matches. Partnering with these other groups such as civic
groups or academic programs may be helpful as you will be able to pool
resources. Attend their events, network, look for opportunities to partner, and be
sure to support their campaigns, because they are likely to support yours! PSR
leaders are a unique contribution to the advocacy movement because they add
the medical perspective to an otherwise policy-only advocacy strategy.


Best Practices

Consider the list of organi-
zations that PSR has histori-
cally worked with, and find
a local chapter.

If the event was a success,
stay in contact with the
group, inviting them to your
SPSR meetings or other

Always write a thank you
note to the officers of the
club and anyone else who
helped make your event a
Page 19 Part IV: Advocacy Strategies

1) Engage your local government office
÷ Chances are if you get someone from
local or national government to attend an
event, the media will cover it. This puts
your cbapter ln tbe publlc's eye ano possl-
bly will attract more members! Maybe
you'll even lnsplre someone else to create
an SPSR chapter.

2) Co-chair events with other campus
organizations ÷ Be sure to participate in
campus events that can give your chapter
exposure to the student body, and find
groups that are interested in the same top-
ics as your group. This way, you can co-
host your events with them, and have each
otber's support!

3) Media Outreach ÷ Build relationships
with your local media. The stronger the
relationship, the more likely they will come
cover your events. You can never have
enough media contacts!

Appendix A
Example of Media Advisory

TO: Oregon media Contact: John Smith 202-666-6661
RE: Media Advisory for Feb. 26, 2010 Joe Schmoe 202-666-6662
Jane Doe 202-666-6663


Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) releases
"Degrees of Danger" report at press briefing in PortIand

EVENT: At a press briefing in Portland, Oregon, PSR speakers will present key
findings from Degrees of Danger: The Health Effects of Climate Change and
Energy in Oregon, a new report alerts Oregon residents to the health effects of
climate change.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, February 26, 2010 ÷ 10:00 am

PLACE: The Galleria, 921 SW Morrison St, Room 533


x John Smith, Ph.D., Board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

x Joe Schmoe, MD, is an Internal Medicine physician at XYZ University and
Board member of PSR.

x Jane Doe, MD, is an Oncologist in California, and Board member of PSR.

Degrees of Danger will be posted on-line on February 26. An embargoed press
release and report can be viewed by request prior to the release.

Appendix Page 20

Page 21
Appendix B
Example of Press Release

Defeat of Dirty Air Act represents a big win for safeguarding public

June 11, 2010

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Senate defeated, 47 ÷ 53, the Murkowski Dirty Air Act
resolution, which would have tied the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) hands
to control carbon pollution. By rejecting this resolution, the majority of the Senate voted
to base U.S. climate policy on the burgeoning scientific evidence that climate change is
underway, that human activity is a major driver of carbon pollution, and that urgent action
is needed to protect human health and the environment.

The vote upheld the legitimacy of the EPA's endangerment finding last December, which
established the legal basis for establishing rules to limit carbon pollution from large
emitters of CO2, including coal-fired power plants, heavy industry and motor vehicles.

Physicians for Social Responsibility Executive Director Dr. Peter Wilk had the following

"The Clean Air Act is our most successful environmental law on record and it has
effectively controlled many dangerous air pollutants for the past forty years. We must
use every tool available, including EPA authority under the Clean Air Act, to limit
greenhouse gas emission from large sources immediately. The vote today echoes the
call heard across the country for action to limit carbon pollution. In an ongoing effort to
delay capping these dangerous pollutants, Senator Murkowski attempted to obfuscate
her protection of Big Oil and Dirty Coal, claiming that EPA regulators should not be
setting climate policy. This vote against her resolution demonstrates a resounding
rejection of her intent to place corporate and private interest politics before the health of
our nation. PSR is grateful to all the Senators that voted to protect current and future
generations. And we thank all our PSR members whose calls to the Senate helped make
this happen."

Kristen Welker-Hood, kwelker-hood@psr.org, 202-587-5244


PSR is the medical and public health voice working to prevent the use or spread of
nuclear weapons and to slow, stop and reverse global warming and the toxic degradation
of the environment. For more information on the work of the largest physician led
organization in the country, please visit www.psr.org.

Appendix C
Example of Letter to Editor

Dear Editor,

As a citizen who believes that nuclear weapons are the greatest threats facing our
country, I am pleased that Senator Corker, as a critical member of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, joined the bi-partisan consensus (from Sam Nunn to
Robert Gates) and voted in support of the New START Treaty. It is reassuring that
we have leaders like Senator Corker who put national security over partisan politics
and provided bi-partisan support for New START. I hope that Senator Alexander
will follow Senator Corker's example and vote for New START when it comes to the
floor of the Senate.

Now is the time to confront the dangers of nuclear proliferation head on ÷ and we
can't do that without both of our Senators' votes. Senator Corker refused to allow
the New START agreement to be held hostage by the reactionary measures and
bitter Senate politics that have characterized other issues. Now we need Senator
Alexander to follow Senator Corker's lead and vote for ratification when New
START comes to the floor of the Senate.


[Your name]
[Your address]
Appendix Page 22

Page 23
Appendix D
Example of Op-Ed

Lessons from the Gulf for nuclear reactors
By Dr. Jeffery Patterson, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility - 07/16/10 12:09 PM

One crucial lesson from the BP oil spill is that measures to speed licensing, cut corners on
safety and undermine regulation can lead to tragic consequences. Yet Congress appears on
the verge of repeating mistakes that led to the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf.
Federal lawmakers are weighing a BP-type deregulation of new nuclear reactors ÷ the one
energy source in which damage from a major accident could dwarf harm done by a ruptured
offshore oil well.
In this effort, the nuclear industry's backers are working both sides of the street. On one hand,
they proclaim that the current nuclear regulatory system is so superior it could well serve as a
model for regulating the petrochemical industry.
At the same time, those nuclear proponents are working behind the scenes for regulatory
rollbacks that would dramatically reshape safety and environmental requirements for new
reactors. These provisions might be incorporated into a climate bill, or into a narrower "energy-
only" bill that could be voted on by the Senate as early as this month.
The result of the changes making the rounds of Capitol Hill would further undermine Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC) safety reviews by truncating the licensing process for new
reactors, scaling back environmental-impact reviews, and limiting public transparency in reactor
licensing decisions. All are bad ideas.
Here are a few of the problematic provisions proposed in draft legislation that should not be
included in a final climate or energy bill:
÷ The NRC would not be authorized to prevent startup of a new reactor, even if fundamental
safety components already inspected were later compromised in the construction process.
÷ The NRC would be required to propose and implement an "expedited procedure" for issuing
construction and operating licenses for new reactors under certain conditions.
÷ An impossibly high standard would be set for including an evaluation of the need for power,
the cost of the new reactor, and alternative energy sources within the NRC licensing process.
÷ The NRC could no longer hold a mandatory hearing to do an independent safety and
environmental review in new reactor licensing.

Appendix D-2
Example of Op-(GFRQW·G

Nuclear reactors already have the most streamlined licensing process of any type of industrial
facility in the United States. What is delaying the review of reactor applications isn't the
licensing process, but the fact that the industry has been unable to submit adequate design
proposals for reactors or to respond to the NRC in timely fashion.
Rather than weakening reactor safety rules, Congress should send the NRC the right message
÷ safety over speed ÷ by strengthening them.
For example, the NRC should be required to take into consideration "worst-case" accident
situations. The NRC has resisted pressure to analyze risks posed by terrorist attacks on spent
fuel storage casks, although such an attack could cause a severe release of radiation. As with
the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, mere assurance that the worst-case situation won't
happen is a hollow promise.
The notion that lack of a recent major reactor accident makes such an occurrence a "remote
possibility," therefore justifying lax safety regulation, is the same illogical and irresponsible
thinking that set the stage for the BP disaster.
As the oil spill illustrates all too well, the more complex the technology, the greater the chance
of catastrophic failure. Because of human error, technological failure or unforeseen events, it is
virtually guaranteed that there will be other major disasters. The catastrophic effects of these on
human health and our environment will continue for generations. As we have seen at Chernobyl
and are seeing in the Gulf, our environment cannot sustain this continued onslaught.
We must drastically change the direction of our energy future. This is possible through the use
of clean, renewable and sustainable technologies. When it comes to disasters caused by
technologies such as deep offshore drilling or nuclear power, even one accident is one too
Patterson is president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and a professor in the Department
of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in
Page 24

Citations Page 25
Works Cited

Sharma, Ritu R.. "What is Advocacy?". An Introduction to Advocacy, SARA/AED Advocacy Training

"The Press Advisory." Physicians for Human Rights. 2009. <http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/toolkit/

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