Anti-nuke activist upset at San Miguel commissioner

Opponents of nuclear energy are building toward a resolution to declare Telluride a nuclear-free zone.

Opponents had wanted a resolution for all of San Miguel County, but couldn’t persuade the commissioners, one of whom is Art Goodtimes, Colorado’s longest-tenured Green Party member to hold elected office, to go along.

That’s enough to make Michael Saftler of Telluride go nuclear. In a non-nuke kind of way.

Saftler, Goodtimes said, needs to get his own political party, the Democrats, on board to oppose nuclear power before he’ll risk antagonizing Montrose County.

No less a Democrat than President Barack Obama has backed nuclear power, Goodtimes noted.

Saftler, president of Telluride Premier Properties, has long been active in anti-nuclear activities. He saw it as an easy call when he asked officials to declare San Miguel County a nuclear-free zone in response to actions by neighboring Montrose County supporting a proposed uranium mill in the West End.

“It made no sense to allow the Montrose County commissioners to make a decision that would ultimately affect the residents of San Miguel County,” Saftler said, “so I just said why don’t we declare San Miguel County a nuclear-free zone and if there’s any impact we can take some action.

“Much to my surprise, the county commissioners were not willing to do it.”

The main stumbling block to his proposal was Goodtimes, Saftler said.

Goodtimes is a longtime opponent of nuclear power, an environmental activist and co-chairman of the Colorado Green Party.

“A very pale shade of green,” Saftler sniffed.

His environmental credentials are intact, as are his long-term strategic goals, Goodtimes said in an email to Saftler. He shared the email with The Daily Sentinel.

“So, a challenge to you as a Dem,” Goodtimes wrote to Saftler. “I’d like to see you take on your own party, before you ask the entire (San Miguel) County to join in solidarity with the anti-nuclear movement: get us one state or federally elected Dem in Colorado to come out opposed to nuclear power. Just one, and I would seriously consider advocating with the two Dems on my board to adopt a nuclear-free zone.”

It also makes no sense for San Miguel County to open a public score with Montrose County, “with whom we share a number of standing agreements,” Goodtimes said.

Both men claim strong anti-nuclear credentials beyond the proposed Piñon Ridge uranium mill.

As a Green Party member, Goodtimes said he remains a staunch opponent of nuclear power.

Saftler, meanwhile, remains involved in defeating a proposed nuclear generating station in Pueblo that he said could get new life the way planning officials are considering a proposed energy park there.

Pointing to fights against nuclear power in Idaho, a flood-threatened nuclear-generating station in Idaho and other issues, Saftler said it’s growing more clear that even the safest locations can be dangerous for nuclear power.

But Democrats have no position against nuclear power, said Goodtimes, a Democrat until there was a Green Party.

“I’m tired of Democrats saying one thing and then something else,” Goodtimes said Monday. “What is wrong with what Montrose County is doing? Nothing, according to Obama.”


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