Friday, March 27, 2009

A Clean, Energy-Driven Economy Will Create New Opportunities for Virginia

Oh, yeah...this guy's been paying attention. What is it with some of these folks? They can write but they can't read? One more time...uranium is NOT clean.

March 27, 2009 12:50 AM
by Bernie Niemeier, Publisher

The public’s acceptance of environmental sustainability is past the tipping point. The temporary retreat of $4 per gallon gasoline has done little to diminish the lines of consumers carrying reusable shopping bags or postpone the need to develop better alternative fuels.

Many business leaders are among those promoting sustainability. That’s a fact you would not expect given current stereotypes. Business executives are a maligned bunch. Too often they are portrayed as fat cats, interested in little more than spending time on the golf course and in private jets or, particularly of late, collecting big bonuses.

Like most stereotypes, these fit too easily to be true. It’s been awhile since many executives have seen bonuses. In fact, business has been pretty tough lately. The Wall Street Journal reports that 61 companies in the S&P 500 index replaced their CEOs last year. In the first five weeks this year, 11 more were added to those ranks.

In coping with the stress of managing in a difficult economy, many business leaders that I know take advantage of Virginia’s wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities. We have a set of robust state and national parks; one of the best trout stocking programs in the country; and easy access to mountains, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Business leaders understand that these natural resources contribute to the Virginia’s outstanding quality of life.

Virginia also is a state of diverse energy resources. Coal and nuclear power provide the vast majority of our energy needs. Despite opposition in some quarters, these sources are being continually improved. The development of clean-coal technology, for example, is a major opportunity for Virginia to leverage the research of its outstanding universities.

After a 30-year wait on new construction, expansion of nuclear facilities in Virginia and around the country appears likely. Despite its detractors, nuclear is the cleanest and most efficient source of energy available. Companies like Areva in Lynchburg are poised to become global suppliers of the latest nuclear equipment and technology.

In addition, alternative fuel projects such as wind turbines and biodiesel are increasingly common around the state.

Although controversial, natural-gas drilling off the Atlantic coast and uranium mining in Pittsylvania County are also possibilities for Virginia to create economic opportunities in the emerging new-energy landscape.

Smart-grid technology, which would distribute all available energy sources efficiently to consumers, is another area where our university research can excel.

Energy will be the driver of future growth. The good news is that energy production helps all sectors of our economy. Power is a real product. Research provides the kind of jobs that Virginia is well positioned to provide.

The emphasis placed on the energy sector by the Obama Administration presents an opportunity. Virginia’s record of benefiting from federal investment is an asset we hold in abundance compared to other states.

The prospect of an energy-based economic revival is more than welcome after the failure of an economy characterized by financial manipulations, many of which had more in common with casino gambling than with job-producing industries.

At Virginia Business, our view is that investments in energy production and green technologies will be good for the environment.

Today’s executives understand the full value of sustainable business practices. We enjoy a green environment and all it has to offer, as a resource for recreation and as a new business opportunity for Virginia.


Anonymous said...

Do you ever think for yourself and offer up your own thoughts on this site?

Or do you just use the thoughts of others to further your own closed-minded and scientifically malinformed agenda?

Opinion pieces from Greenpeace activists shouldn't be sufficient enough to close the book on the decades of science and engineering that has been put into this industry.

What do you think about the truth?

SWVA shouldn't stand for some mental and moral liliputian that wants to keep them in the economic shape that they are currently in. It's about job creation and the future of SWVA. Thank goodness the nuclear industry got me out of there, where I would've been corrupted by small-minded people like yourself.

Smidgen said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for stopping by and for leaving your comment.

It's rare that I publish personal attacks such as your characterization of me as a 'mental and moral liliputian' [sic] but I'm impressed that you know the word 'lilliputian' even if you don't know how to spell it.

Let's be clear about the geographic area we're talking about: Southwest VA (SWVA) mines coal. Southside, VA (SSVA) is fighting against mining uranium. If you're happy that you were able to leave SWVA, then I'm happy for you but if you are from SWVA, then your home area is neither down-wind nor down-stream, generally speaking, from the proposed uranium mine at Coles Hill. Were you still in SWVA, you would not be living in the direct shadow of a mine that will leave behind irreversible contamination, health problems and environmental devastation. I would hope, though, that you could empathize with your neighbors to the east who are facing these critical issues and join them in their opposition. Bearing witness to the problems of coal-mining in your home area should give you some understanding of the issues facing Southside. Perhaps you might examine your own mental and moral sufficiency before judging others.

Looking back through the articles posted here, I don't believe any is from Greenpeace but perhaps I missed it since you claim it's here. At any rate, the articles posted here include local news articles and opinion pieces as well as articles in which anti-mining information is backed by the work of scientists, engineers, health experts, etc. who have rendered information based on solid research and/or years of experience in the field. That the number of uranium mining opponents world-wide is growing exponentially is due to the fact that the truth about uranium mining is now readily available through the internet, not because so many of us are suffering mental and moral inadequacies. Part of my goal here is to help bring the truth about the dangers of uranium mining to those who seek it.

The first article I ever read about uranium mining was by Gordon Edwards, PhD. His credentials appear solid. I continue to look for, and post, anti-uranium mining articles by, or including the opinions of, scientists and medical/health experts so that readers of this blog will have solid information against which to weigh the pro-uranium mining propaganda proffered by a handful of folks who stand to become wealthy if Coles Hill is mined and by others who prefer to isolate and focus on the narrow aspect of the nuclear industry that produces so-called 'clean' electricity but ignore the rest of the processes that get us to that electricity.

If we were able to isolate the small piece of the process that actually produces nuclear-produced electrical power, and insure that no equipment failure or human error could occur in that small piece of the process, then perhaps I could become an advocate for nuclear power (although I'd still have to consider the overwhelming problem re: disposing of, or storing, spent/depleted uranium, a problem for which, currently, there is no safe, long-term solution, given that the radioactivity of depleted uranium grows only stronger with time and lasts thousands of years.) But we can't isolate that one piece...we have to consider the entire process which includes some incredibly dangerous, incredibly deadly components of which mining is the first, the most far-reaching, and in many ways, the most dangerous.

Since it is obvious that you have researched thoroughly the entire process of creating nuclear energy, perhaps you can answer the burning (albeit still unanswered) question posed by the Southside mining opponents to mining advocates: Where, specifically, is there one safe uranium mine? Where, anywhere in the entire world, is there a uranium mine that has not caused (or is not causing) irreversible problems for human life and the environment? One that has caused or left behind no contamination or disease or harm and whose clean-up/remediation (if mining has been completed) has been undertaken and completed in a timely fashion by the mining company or a sub-contractor), not left behind to continue to kill and contaminate while the government has dawdled for years and then spent huge amounts of tax-payer money on a partial clean-up that looks remediated but which, in actuality, is still "hot" and thus dangerous?

Please...just name one, one where independent research can verify your assertion. It would be especially helpful if the example you provide could be in a geographic area similar to Southside...densely populated and with environmental conditions that include 40+ inches of annual rainfall and frequent high winds from normal weather patterns and thunderstorms, as well as sporadic (but not unusual) tornadoes and hurricane remnants...but we'll start with just one uranium mine anywhere in the world.

Thank you in advance for your answer. It will be most helpful.