How better to describe the embarrassingly rude display of ignorance put on by New Mexico “environmentalists,” attacking Holtec International‘s application to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel?
Conspiracy theories, accusations of “environmental racism,” decades-old grievances that have nothing to do with Holtec’s proposal — radical eco-leftists wasted four hours of regulators’ time, posturing and preening and playing to the crowd, in a pathetic attempt to keep Lea County from landing an economic-development project that promises to create jobs, generate tax revenue, and further enhance the Land of Enchantment’s status as a nuclear “cluster.”
Fracking! Terrorism! Power failures! Civil unrest! Mother Earth! Deregulation! A small bomb dropped from a drone! “What would Mr. Rogers do?” Pesticides! GMOs! Hydrogen explosions! There is no safe level of radiation! We will “fight your capitalism”! What about the puppies of Chernobyl!!! (Will we, one day, have to put “lead-lined sweaters on our dogs” to take them for walks?)
It was abundantly clear that that the 64 (out of 70) speakers who opposed Holtec had little, if any, knowledge of nuclear science, engineering, law, regulation, or economics. (Hey, reading those license-application documents is hard. The environmental report alone is 482 pages long!)
Rey Garduño, a former Albuquerque city councilor, thundered: “This stuff kills! It will kill every one of us!” Juan Reynosa, of the SouthWest Organizing Project, denounced the “white men” who were “coming into our state, trying to inflict violence on our people.” One virtue-signaler teared up a bit. (“I, as a white, Anglo male, have to ask forgiveness….”) One particularly unhinged protester claimed that “every single life form” on Earth is “dying.”
Six bold commenters — including the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance’s John Heaton and a very brave college student studying for a career in the nuclear industry — supported Holtec’s application. Their remarks were met, predictably, with hissing and harrumphing. (It’s that 95 percent of “greens” who give the other 5 percent such a bad reputation.)
The NRC’s commenting events offer free group-therapy sessions for eco-chondriacs. But as Errors of Enchantment noted yesterday, regulation of nuclear facilities is not a democratic process. Provided that Holtec’s plan meets NRC standards for safety and environmental protection, a license will be issued.
The Rio Grande Foundation is finalizing its response to the NRC’s request for comments on its review of Holtec’s application. We’ll be posting our analysis online soon. Spoiler alert: It won’t mention the puppies of Chernobyl.