Thursday’s opinion piece by Douglas Headrick of the San Bernardino Valley Water District (“Poor Oversight Leaves California Dry”) simply doesn’t hold water.
Headrick claimed that California’s State Water Project is unable to provide enough water to agencies because of the Santa Ana sucker, a small fish protected under the Endangered Species Act.
In fact, the sucker is completely unrelated to the State Water Project. The real reason the author wants endangered species protections removed is to prevent releases from the local dam – which, not insignificantly, would also deprive many residents of Southern California of their primary water supply.
Even as technology becomes increasingly critical to the way we live our lives, power our world and defend our shores, the United States has allowed the production of minerals crucial in the creation of these advanced products to slide.
Critical to high-tech clean-energy and defense manufacturing, rare-earth elements (REEs) are minerals used in the production of cutting-edge technologies such as wind turbines, batteries for mobile phones, laptop computers, the planet’s most powerful magnets, military radar and sophisticated weapon systems — just to name a few.
At a time when our nation is making tough choices about spending, I am amazed that Congressman John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and other House Republicans are demanding we dump $100 billion into Yucca Mountain. This shuttered boondoggle, located 90 minutes from Las Vegas, is nothing more than an empty hole in the Nevada desert.
While some are seeking to use the tragic events in Japan to once again push for moving nuclear waste to Nevada, they fail to mention that Yucca Mountain is located smack in the middle of an earthquake zone.
April 11, 2011, 06:03 pm
By Reps. Raul Grijalva, Diana DeGette, Jared Polis, Ben Ray Lujan and Martin Heinrich
We westerners take great pride in and have great appreciation for a life that affords us access to the mountains, forests and deserts that make up our beautiful home states. True, most of us reside or work in towns and cities where we all embrace a way of life that benefits from the development of our natural resources. But many of us choose to live in these states largely because doing so enables us to easily enjoy the great outdoors – the wide open spaces and endless vistas we see beyond our towns or just past the edge of the interstate, as we rush through our daily lives.
Every westerner knows that the management of our federal lands -- the public lands quite literally owned by all Americans - can be quite contentious. For example, years ago, some believed there was a case to be made for damming the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Others felt just the opposite, controversy flared, and ultimately, no dams were built.
The March 11 earthquake in Japan led to a tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. While a similar situation is not likely at any U.S. nuclear plant, we must use this to look at our country’s lack of a central storage facility for nuclear waste.
The first commercial nuclear power plant began operating in the United States in 1960. In 1982 the Nuclear Waste Policy Act made the federal government responsible for collecting nuclear waste.
In 1987, Yucca Mountain was named the sole site for a permanent repository of nuclear waste. The Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed the scientific side of this decision in 1994. In 2002, Congress and the President approved Yucca Mountain again. In 2008, DOE filed a license application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build Yucca Mountain.
Obviously, the decision to move forward with a national nuclear waste repository has been supported by Republican- and Democrat-controlled Congresses and Republican and Democrat presidents for all these years.