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Opponents of nuclear plant criticize MidAmerican donations

The Duane Arnold Energy Center nuclear power plant near Palo, Iowa, is seen in a photo from April 20, 1999. The site may
The Duane Arnold Energy Center nuclear power plant near Palo, Iowa, is seen in a photo from April 20, 1999. The site may be the location of a second nuclear plant being proposed by MidAmerican Energy. (AP Photo/ The Gazette, Mark Tade)

Political donations by MidAmerican Energy Co. are being criticized by groups opposed to legislation that would ease the way for MidAmerican to build a nuclear power plant in Iowa.

Iowa public records from last year show MidAmerican donated $70,000 to a political committee with ties to Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal and $20,000 Gov. Terry Branstad's committee, after the election.

Sonia Ashe of Iowa Public Interest Research Group says such donations are greasing the wheels for bad legislation.

Gronstal told The Des Moines Register that MidAmerican got no special favors for its contributions.

MidAmerican Energy spokeswoman Ann Thelen says neither contribution had anything to do with the legislation.Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says Branstad has not made a decision on the legislation. It has not reached Branstad's desk for signature.

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