Letters to the Editor
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More Nukes Are Not the Answer
Dear Bay Weekly:
With the reality of global warming beginning to sink in come many calls to action. Some elected officials from Calvert County tout more nuclear-generated electricity as a way to reduce the carbon dioxide pollution that intensifies the greenhouse effect. But every action to improve our environment carries tradeoffs. Whether Southern Maryland should host another large nuclear reactor is a proposal that must be analyzed carefully.
While nuclear power does not pollute the air as does burning fossil fuels like oil and coal, the storage and management of radioactive spent fuel for hundreds of years is a massive problem. The proposed national repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev., is not open and perhaps never will be, leaving us with tons of nuclear waste at Calvert Cliffs for the foreseeable future.
The cost of building one nuclear reactor is staggering: $2.5 to $3 billion. Constellation Energy expects Maryland and federal taxpayers to heavily subsidize its venture. Calvert County has already granted $300 million in tax breaks to Constellation as an incentive for expected tax revenues and 450 permanent jobs.
Options to combat global warming exist. The Sierra Club joined with the American Solar Energy Society to advocate that “an aggressive, yet achievable increase in the use of energy efficiency and renewables alone can achieve a 60 to 80 percent reduction in U.S. global warming emissions by 2050.” That’s a do-able two percent cut each year for the next 40.
Transition away from dirty, fossil fuels can promote new jobs and manufacturing in the United States while creating safe, clean energy. American ingenuity can also vastly expand conservation through development of fuel-efficient vehicles, energy-saving lighting and innovative building techniques. These methods would be far cheaper than more reactors and radioactive waste.
This year both houses of the Maryland General Assembly considered the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2007 (SB 409/HB 890) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This bill would require reductions of global warming pollution to 1990 levels by the year 2020 and calls for a greater reliance on clean, renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. It would also provide companies flexibility in meeting the pollution-reduction goals through a cap-and-trade program.
Neither SB 409 or HB 890 was voted out of committee. We must encourage passage of this strong legislation next year to fight global warming, clean up the Chesapeake Bay and protect our health.
Frank L. Fox, Mechanicsville,
Chair: Sierra Club Southern Maryland Group
The Power of the Press
Dear Bay Weekly:
We’ve had a terrific response to Margaret Tearman’s article about SPOT [Got a Nose for a Bargain? Sniff around SPOT thrift shop in St. Leonard: Vol. xv, No 13: March 29]. Even my husband’s family, who have obviously known about it all along, have taken a sudden, renewed interest.
Thanks for doing it so well and for supporting SPOT and our mission.
Ellen McCormack, SPOT co-founder, Lusby