Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Japan's nuclear crisis calls for examination of energy solutions
Posted by Letters editor
Nuclear energy is no alternative
The events around the Japanese quake and nuclear-reactor damage are tragic and will be repeated again in some other iteration as long as we embrace nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. The damage to the nuclear reactor and release of nuclear waste compound the tragedy of the earthquake because they now likely condemn the people of Japan (especially the children) to higher rates of cancer over the following decades as well as an expensive cleanup of waste that has an extraordinarily long half-life.
The Japanese government put down the most sophisticated system possible to prevent this exact course of events and it still happened. As we mourn this catastrophe, I hope we do not forego the opportunity to learn from it as well. We owe it to ourselves and the Japanese people.
— Richard Grady, President, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, Seattle
Invest in clean energy
Regarding the earthquake in Japan and resulting tsunami warnings, I have two observations:
1. I commend President Obama’s clear and decisive communication to the American people: “If someone tells you to evacuate, do as you’re told.” This is stated paternalistically, yet clearly with our highest good in mind — our safety. A far cry from the wishy-washy instructions that happened before Hurricane Katrina.
2. There is quite some concern over the stability of and the radiation emitted from the nuclear power plant in Japan. I just want to point out that this is yet another reason not to have nuclear power. Stop it already with the shortsighted Republican chants of “clean” coal, nuclear power and “drill, baby, drill.” Nonrenewable, toxic and intrinsically dangerous power supplies are not viable. Invest in solar and wind power, and electric cars.
— Carolann Driver, Seattle
Invest in nation’s resources
During the 2008 Democratic primary campaign then-Sen. Barack Obama made several promises as to what he would do if elected president. Among these was that, by implementing his “green energy” plans, we would reduce our dependence on foreign oil while creating millions of jobs. While I agree we need to develop alternative-energy sources, this isn’t going to solve our problems anytime soon.
Are we less dependent on foreign sources? Your gas pump will give you the answer. We’re more vulnerable than ever to world events. Instead of developing our natural gas, coal, nuclear power and oil, Obama has done the opposite. He’s shut down oil drilling. No refineries have been built. No nuclear power plants have been authorized. He’s stated he would “kill” coal-burning plants that provide 50 percent of our energy. He has said by implementing his green plans, prices would necessarily skyrocket. Is this what we need? Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens has thrown in the towel on wind power stating it doesn’t work. American Indian tribes are protesting the covering of desert lands with expensive solar panels. Incidentally, General Electric Co. is a big supplier of solar panels and wind generators. Its CEO, Jeffery Emmelt, is chairman of Obama’s Economic Council and a big campaign supporter.
Imagine how many jobs would be created by turning American investors and workers loose on developing our resources. Think of the positive impact on our balance of trade. It’s time the Democrats and this administration apply some practical common sense to our energy needs.
— Robert Johnston, Camano Island
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