Denver Post: Sierra Club still rigidly "no nukes"
February 7, 2007
Posted by Matthew_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (2:30PM ET)
Denver Post columnist Al Knight takes issues with the Sierra Club in his column today writing,
" What the Sierra Club seeks is a commitment by the American people to abandon development of adequate energy sources in the hope that other sources might be developed before the economy collapses. Unless all common sense has been sucked into the ozone layer, saner minds must prevail. The Sierra Club aside, before America finds the kind of energy it wants, it must continue to obtain the energy it needs."
THE DENVER POST
Sierra Club still rigidly "no nukes"
One might think that concerns over American dependence on foreign oil and widespread fretting over climate change would have hit the Sierra Club and other like-minded groups like a ton of bricks.
Surely the deep thinkers at the Sierra Club would be up nights trying to figure out ways to solve the nation's vexing energy problems.
The early evidence is that not a lot of deep thinking has been taking place. The organization, of course, has long been a champion of the environment, although it has consistently been a little fuzzy about what to do with the pressure placed on the environment by excessive population growth, especially that caused by illegal immigration.
The environmental group long ago carved out a position against any kind of mining or mineral extraction, but until recently there was at least the hope that it might be forced to rethink some prior policy positions. After all, if the nation is too dependent upon foreign oil, doesn't that suggest that it should do more to increase its domestic sources of energy?
The Sierra Club answers that question with a firm "no" - at least as far as oil and coal are concerned.
Nor has the club budged an inch when it comes to the issue of what should be done about greenhouse gases of the type that is blamed for global warming.
Nuclear power plants, as every school child should know, do not generate greenhouse gases. The nation already has 100 or so of these plants. Together they generate about 20 percent of the country's electrical power. People like President Bush want to build more of them, both as a way to reduce the dependence on foreign oil and as a way to reduce man-made effects on climate change.
These "green" positions have failed to earn him any support at the Sierra Club. The club continues to ignore the argument that additional nuclear power plants could provide a triple environmental benefit: More nuclear plants mean less pollution from power generation.
More nuclear plants would improve the convenience and therefore the use of electric or hybrid cars, reducing air pollution in the bargain. More electric and hybrid cars would reduce dependence on foreign oil.
This trifecta of potential blessings has utterly failed to impress the Sierra Club. A posting on its website (sierraclub.org) flatly states the club "opposes the licensing, construction and operation of new nuclear reactors" pending the achievement of two important objectives (which are impossible to meet):
There must be a national and "global" policy to eliminate "energy over- use" and "unnecessary economic growth." It is already obvious that the United States has no power to prohibit "unnecessary economic growth" around the globe.
Nations of the world must resolve the issue of how to prevent the use of nuclear plant materials for the manufacture of weapons. (In other words, uranium will lose its radiation before the Sierra Club changes its mind on the subject of nuclear power.)
So what does the nation's leading environmental organization want to do about dependence on foreign oil and global warming?
Last week it joined with the American Solar Energy Society and announced that it would support the development of nearly every energy technology except oil, coal and nuclear power.
The list of favored technologies, labeled "smart energy," includes solar and wind energy, biofuels, bio- mass and geothermal. All of these add a big helping of "energy efficiency," or what used to be called "conservation," the group insists.
What the Sierra Club seeks is a commitment by the American people to abandon development of adequate energy sources in the hope that other sources might be developed before the economy collapses.
Unless all common sense has been sucked into the ozone layer, saner minds must prevail.
The Sierra Club aside, before America finds the kind of energy it wants, it must continue to obtain the energy it needs.
Link to the Column: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_5169893