Earth-friendly politics in Ohio: Politics as usual?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - 22:43
Question: Do Ohio politicians care about the Earth? My search for an environmentally friendly politician in Ohio raised more questions for me than it answered. Rather than finding a seemingly cut-and-dry example of an ecological hero or villain that would make everyone comfortably decisive, I decided to research a wishy-washy topic. It only makes sense in a time when the media is constantly showing the corruption and deceit existing in politics. The coverage of poltical scandals from infidelity in marriage, broken promises, and secrecy causes me to call any policies and platforms into question.
My politician is Ohio senator George Voinovich. The issue is nuclear energy. The senator is a strong advocate of the expansion of nuclear energy manufacturers. One of his reasons is that this type of energy does not produce air pollutants or release dangerous greenhouse gasses. One thing nuclear energy does produce is deadly waste. It has been proposed that this deadly waste be stored in the Yucca mountains in Nevada.
At an announcement about a potential nuclear plant in Piketon, Ohio, Senator Voinovich talked about Cold War workers who became sick from daily handling of materials at an old enrichment plant. This point seems like a deterrent for nuclear energy, but the senator assures that compensation for the workers is one of his "top priorities." To me this seems almost disturbing. Is he trying to say that damaged health can be mended with money? Does this mean we should not be concerned if people get cancer from nuclear power plant waste because while he is a senator he has made it a a priority to "compensate" them? How do you compensate for the anxiety and pain caused by illness and death? And why would paying people who were harmed by working with hazardous materials make it okay to continue creating hazards? Am I missing something? I suppose some would answer yes because I have not yet mentioned how this power plant would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
After reading from the side that advocates nuclear energy I decided to check out the other side of the fence. This led me to an article on greenpeace.com. It is always important to note the source, but besides an obvious bias, do not automatically dimiss this organization as radical. The article, which is really more of a report, said that nuclear energy could reduce carbon emissions. The catch is that over a thousand plants would have to be built in the next twenty five years. Looking past the dangers of nuclear power and relations with other countries, the fact remains that these plants would generate waste. The report says that there is still no demonstrated method for isolating this waste from the environment and some of it is even dumped into the sea and released into the atmosphere. This waste has been linked to thyroid cancer in countries such as Russia and Ukraine.
So honestly, is nuclear power a good energy source that will not harm the Earth and living creatures?
I have to apologize for asking so many questions, but I am getting mixed messages. All the information I have gathered on the subject has been two sided. I suppose I would have to do much more in depth and extensive research to find some real truth. But is there really any real truth to be found? Personally, I am not sold on nuclear energy. Can I just get a sales pitch without all the disclaimers?
I swear I am not trying to create bias, maybe the smoke from this nuclear power plant in Michigan City is actually concentrated fresh air (somehow I doubt it though)
Photo: Paul J Everett/Flickr
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