A television advertisement targeting U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for his support of the MOX project and the Savannah River Site began running today.


The 30-second commercial, funded by Friends of the Earth, points toward Graham’s advocacy of the project in less-than-flattering terms.


Friends of the Earth is an organization where members refer to themselves as stewards of the planet, placing an emphasis on protecting the environment.


The advertisement began being broadcast on Wednesday in the Washington, D.C., market on FOX, MSNBC and on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” and is also being aired in the Columbia and Aiken-Augusta markets.


The commercial uses well-dressed porcine characters to depict lobbyists, with the revelation that one of the primary benefactors of the plant design and construction project is a French company, condemning the U.S. senator for his advocacy of what the Friends of the Earth believes is unnecessary spending, calling for the elimination of funds to be used for the building of the MOX fuel fabrication facility at SRS.


“We wanted to call out Sen. Graham’s determination to continue uncontrolled spending on a project that is $6 billion over budget, behind schedule and has no market for its product,” said Tom Clements, Friends of the Earth’s South Carolina-based nuclear campaigner. “MOX has become nothing more than a pork-barrel project used by Sen. Graham to line the pockets of special interests.”


However, Graham remains steadfast in support of the $7.7 billion project, and cited that the U.S. Department of Energy has already made a commitment to the State of South Carolina on plutonium disposition, and has a responsibility to fulfill its obligations on the program which removes a substantial amount of weapons-grade plutonium – which can be used to make nuclear warheads – off the market.


“President Obama and DOE must be held accountable and forced to carry through on the commitments which have been made,” said Graham, in a press release. “Never before has the local community had their faith in DOE and SRS tested as they do now. Delays in the MOX program have caused the community to once again fear that the plutonium currently at SRS will remain there indefinitely.


“South Carolina has always been a willing partner in carrying out the missions critical to our national security at SRS. In fact, the community surrounding the site is widely regarded as the most supportive community of any DOE site in the country. We want to be able to continue this partnership, but recent actions from President Obama and DOE are hurting the partnership.”


Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004.