Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) renewed his accusation that the Carter administration would be cutting factory safety inspections as part of its anti-inflation budget-cutting in a speech before a mostly cheering state AFL-CIO convention yesterday.
On Tuesday, Vice President Mondale received only a modest welcome from the same convention as he sought to rebut Kennedy's charge that the administration cuts would mean 20,000 fewer inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Mondale said the administration actually was going to add 10,000 inspections.
"Fritz Mondale said they're going to add 10,000 inspections -- that's right," Kennedy said. But he added that this will still put the administration at 200,000 inspections, "which is still 20,000 below" what the administration had originally budgeted for the previous year.
Kennedy's reception, spurred by planned demonstrations from unions supporting his candidacy, was more enthusiastic than that accorded Mondale a day earlier, when he was serving as President Carter's surrogate campaign speaker.
Later, Kennedy traveled to Harrisburg, flying over the now familiar towers of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant just outside the city. And in a speech before a large and basically enthusiastic crowd on the steps of the capitol, Kennedy had some tough words for the nuclear utility industry.
"The members of this community did not decide on the siting of [the Three Mile Island plant]," Kennedy said."It is not wise to vent krypton into the air."
He added that the utility companies should not be limited to a $500 million liability or cleaning up after nuclear accidents, as the law now provides. "It shouldn't be the consumers who make up the difference," he said. "It should be the utilities."