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April 03, 2002

 



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Regional News | Article published Wednesday, April 3, 2002
'POLITICAL GRANDSTANDING'
Kaptur’s Davis-Besse remarks incense Ottawa officials
Congresswoman stands by belief that nuclear plant should close
Picture
Kaptur: She understands why county leaders are upset.
(THE BLADE/LISA DUTTON)

ZOOM 1 | ZOOM 2

By TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER


OAK HARBOR, OHIO - Ottawa County officials have come to the defense of FirstEnergy Corp.’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant by telling U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) that they are displeased by her position to permanently shut down the facility.

Fellow Democrat Carl Koebel, Ottawa County commission president, said in a letter he sent Miss Kaptur on Friday that he believes the comments she made in that day’s edition of The Blade were "nothing more than political grandstanding that will have a very negative impact on Ottawa County."

"I wish you had addressed your concerns with us before publicly attacking the nuclear power industry," he wrote.

Darrell Opfer, a former Ottawa County commissioner and Oak Harbor Democrat who served nearly seven years in the Ohio House of Representatives, expressed similar views in a letter he sent Miss Kaptur on Monday.

Closing Davis-Besse would hurt Ottawa County as much as closing the Toledo Jeep Assembly Plant would hurt Lucas County, he wrote.

"I am very concerned that the [Sept. 11] tragedy and the corrosion problem at the local plant are being used by those who oppose nuclear power on ideological grounds," Mr. Opfer wrote. He became director of an economic development agency, the Ottawa County Improvement Corp., following his resignation from the Ohio House in 1999.

Mr. Opfer’s successor, state Rep. Chris Redfern (D., Catawba Island), said he agrees with Mr. Opfer’s analogy, but would not elaborate.

FirstEnergy President Robert Saunders said in a letter to Miss Kaptur that his company "would not place the public, or our company’s future, at risk by operating the plant under anything but the highest standards of safety and reliability."

Miss Kaptur said last night she stands by what she said last week.

She said she believes Ottawa County officials are "obliged to speak their mind" because of Davis-Besse’s role as a major employer.

"They are doing their best to represent a major economic interest in their county," she said.

In his letter, Mr. Koebel said he and Miss Kaptur "will never see eye-to-eye on this issue."

During an interview yesterday, he said he believes she "jumped the gun."

"It floored me that she took that stand," said Mr. Koebel.


Related articles »
Iodide pill supported as nuclear safeguard 04/03/2002
Keep Davis-Besse running 04/02/2002
Davis-Besse designed with safety in mind 04/02/2002
Kaptur: Shut down Davis-Besse 03/29/2002
Warning signs went unheeded 03/27/2002
Regulators issue acid-damage alert 03/20/2002
More damage found on Davis-Besse reactor 03/19/2002
Outage at Besse extended 2 months 03/14/2002
Boric acid leak eats 6-inch hole in cap of Davis-Besse reactor 03/12/2002
Davis-Besse, Fermi II pass safety evaluations 03/07/2002
No leaks found in Davis-Besse’s cracked nozzles 03/06/2002
Tests spot 5 defects in safety devices at Davis-Besse 03/05/2002

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