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Markey Questions Bush's Saudi Oil-for-Nukes Deal

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Markey Questions Bush's Saudi Oil-for-Nukes Deal

Responding to a new energy deal brokered by the White House with Saudi Arabia, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today questioned the judgment of choosing nuclear power over solar and wind power in a region that has ample sunshine and worries over security and terrorism. In a letter sent today to President Bush, Rep. Markey asked for a reconsideration of this policy, especially given the context that the president was unable to acquire more oil from the Saudis during last week's visit.

Rep. Markey is Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Co-Chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation.

The letter is available HERE:

"In a land filled with ample sunshine and potential terrorists, the United States should not be spreading enriched uranium throughout the Middle East when solar technology could be far safer and more productive," said Rep. Markey. "President Bush should not be Johnny Appleseed for the nuclear industry, spreading uranium throughout dangerous parts of the world."

Rep. Markey argues in the letter that the White House is playing directly into a high-stakes nuclear game in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia pumping up their nuclear capabilities in response to Iran's current activities. The letter notes that in 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney said, "[Iran is] already sitting on an awful lot of oil and gas. Nobody can figure why they need nuclear, as well, too, to generate energy."

In the letter, Rep. Markey argues this same logic applies to Saudi Arabia as well, and that the potential for safe, clean renewable energy in Saudi Arabia is extensive. A square kilometer of desert typically receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil.

"Just as Iran has no economic rationale for nuclear energy, Saudi Arabia doesn't need nuclear technology to generate power," continued Rep. Markey. "It is shockingly irresponsible for President Bush to enable and encourage this kind of explosive posturing in the most volatile region in the world."

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