Idaho Samizdat – Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko has issued an apology via the White House to the other four commissioners who jointly signed a letter complaining about his management practices.
A hearing by the House Oversight Committee scheduled for Wednesday December 14 will not see the fireworks that were expected as a result of the heated accusations that were exchanged today between committee chair Darrell Issa (R-Calif) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass) on the MSNBC TV network. Their verbal fireworks threatened to derail any effort to contain the conflict.
Now, it is more likely that the hearing will include acts of contrition and pledges for better communication among the five commissioners. Skeptics think it won’t last much longer than the late night news coverage, but stranger things have happened in DC.
Rep. Issa is not convinced that an olive branch has been extended by Jaczko or the White House. He said in a statement released late Monday evening that “the White House is in denial” about the serious nature of infighting at the NRC.
Many who have rankled, with some justification, at Jaczko’s erratic tenure at the NRC feel this may be a time when he might be forced to leave the agency or to step down as chairman. Neither is likely to happen as replacing him would be politically difficult.
Jaczko was given the job for one reason, and that was to bottle up the Yucca Mountain project by preventing the license application from ever getting a hearing.
In the world of political appointments in Washington, DC, when people get mission focused tasks like that, they are supposed to do their job, and then keep their head down on all other matters.
Jaczko became a liability because he disregarded this salient piece of advice getting into a high profile series of ego driven personality conflicts with the other commissioners. Again, from the point of view of realist politics, it was an unwise series of moves that could mark the rest of his career because he blew up the one reason he was useful to the Obama White House.