Letter to the Editor: Eco-alarmists should leave Emery County alone
I recently read the article written by Barbara Galler in the Jan. 31 issue of the Progress. What a load of anti-nuclear power, alarmist clap trap. The only thing that was missing from this environmentalist apocalyptic diatribe was the Photoshopped image of a massive atomic cloud overshadowing pristine red rock arches with the skeletal remains of little children in the foreground. I found this anti-nuclear opinion piece as devoid of fact as most alarmist tirades, relying on fear mongering instead of sound argument in its discussion but I will give the author kudos though for the creativity of interviewing herself.
Out of an abundance of curiosity, I searched for their website and stopped when I came across their Care2 "petition" site (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/no-nuclear-power-in-Green-River-Utah/); it told me all I needed to know. What I found was that their "petition" contained 453 "signatures" as of Feb. 1. What struck me was, as I suspected, that of the 453 "signatures" they collected only 10 name connected "signatures" belonged to Utahns, four additional Utahn's "signatures" were listed as "name not displayed" and the remaining 439 "signatures" were of individuals from either other states or other countries. Once again I found that, as is the case with most environmental issues, it was non stakeholders that were attempting to dictate to those of us that are stakeholders (in this case Utahns and residents of Emery County) how best to use our resources.
I don't know about the other 10,975 residents of Emery County but I, for one, am sick and tired of being told what we should do or what is the best use of our lands by what are, in my opinion, eco-bullies. I am equally sick and tired of every time something positive is happening in Emery County of having myopic naysayers jumping up to beat the opportunity down.
I can't help but remember that the dust had hardly settled from the Japanese earthquake last year when environmentalists began their attack on American energy independence by calling for a moratorium on construction of new nuclear power plants in the United States and, of more relevance to those of us living in Emery County, a renewed attack on the nuclear power plant planned for Green River. These "renewable energy" environmentalist bullies support their position by playing the "fear card" while totally ignoring the facts as in Ms. Galler's piece.
On their webpage "No Green River Nuke" attacks the proposed nuclear power plant raising visions of a potential for an impending Japanese type disaster and projects such a scenario as a possibility for Green River but conveniently fail to note that the power plant affected in Japan incorporated 40 year old technology, that the reactors in Japan maintained their structural integrity throughout the 9.x magnitude earthquake, that all the systems and backup systems performed as they were designed to when the tsunami compromised the fuel source of the generators and inhibited the cooling of the reactors, and that it was the tsunami, not the earthquake, that caused the damage that created the nuclear crisis the Japanese were facing. They also fail to mention that the proposed Green River nuclear power plant will be built with current technology and will be engineered to withstand seismic events greater than anticipated to ever affect the Green River area and, additionally, they fail to even mention that, if Green River were to experience a tsunami sufficient to compromise the proposed power plant the potential of a nuclear meltdown would be the least of our concerns both locally and nationally.
The fallback position of this fear mongering site is that nuclear power plants require large amounts of water for cooling and safe operation and that developers are planning to build this nuclear power plant in a "drought prone" area falsely and intentionally giving the impression that drought is an instantaneous, cataclysmic event and that operators would not have an opportunity to cease operations before the plant's cooling systems would be compromised and fail for lack of water resulting in a "nuclear core" melting down. Drought would be a cataclysmic event for Green River, it is not however an instantaneous event and the plant's design would address interruption in water supply. Additionally, with respect to water, what the opponents of the Green River nuclear power plant fail to mention is that the water proposed for this use is currently being sent down stream to other states as an unused portion of Utah's allocations under the Colorado River Compact and that the waters for the project were already approved and allocated for electric generation by Utah's State Water Engineer for use in coal fired power plants that were never constructed.
Ms. Galler and her group seek to raise more fears by stating that "Our buffer against disaster is an unreliable and over-appropriated river...", however the results of the environmental assessment presented at the Jan. 12, 2010 public hearing conducted by the Utah Division of Water Rights based on the examination four factors physical, chemical, biological and recreational concluded that "The applications will not unreasonably affect the natural stream environment or public recreation", "Changes in river depths are less than 1.5 inches at flows as low as the 99 percent exceedance level", "Given the very small changes in flow volumes, depths, velocities, channel widths, and cross section area, no detrimental loss (change) in fish or wildlife habitat is expected", "The analysis of physical changes do not support the claim that the proposed diversion would have an impact to recreational fishing given the small changes in depths, velocities, channel width or cross section area".
I think it is long past time to confront the "eco alarmists" amongst us who are destroying our economy, inhibiting our energy independence, and restricting our ability to realize the full enjoyment and use of our public lands. I encourage each and every one of us to make this issue, the proposed power plant in Green River, our "line in the sand" and contact our the Governor and our state and federal legislators to indicate our support for the proposed Green River Nuclear Power Plant...it has the potential for adding 50 percent to Utah's power generation while consuming only 1 percent of the state's water resources, would provide employment for up to 4,000 people during the seven years of construction (from what I've read the average construction wage for such a project is about $85,000 per year) and provide permanent, high paid employment for between 1,000 to 1,400 people to operate the facility after construction is complete not to mention the economic benefit to Green River as well as surrounding counties and cities which will be derived from businesses that would be needed to service this increased population and prosperity.
I urge you to take a stand; if you love our country, our state, and our county add your voice in the confrontation of these "eco alarmists" and regain control over our future and the futures of our children and grandchildren...don't believe the lies, half truths, manipulated "facts", and fear mongering that they are using to fool you...nuclear energy is a safe component of a comprehensive energy policy.