Printed letters, March 3, 2010

Don’t pin job hopes on nuclear plants

At a hearing recently in Montrose, proponents of the Energy Fuels Resources uranium mill to be built at Paradox talked about the supposedly increasing demand for enriched uranium due to their hope that more new nuclear power plants will be built.

They failed to recognize that many of the 104 nuclear plants now operating in the United States are reaching the ends of their projected lives. Twenty-seven have been confirmed to be leaking tritium. All are 20 to 30 years old. A 38-year-old plant in Vermont just accentuated the reality of their limited life.

On Feb. 24, in a 26-4 vote, the Vermont Senate denied extension of the 40-year operating permit for the plant.

Reasons for the turndown included recently discovered leaks of radioactive tritium; the collapse of a cooling tower in 2007; false statements by officers of the plant owner and operator and estimates of over $1 billion for decommissioning the plant, while only $450 million had been set aside. The tritium leaks could make the cost even higher.

President Barack Obama recently announced his intent for an $8.3 billion loan guarantee to build two nuclear power plants in Georgia (covering only 70 percent of their costs). This provoked concerns from members of environmental organizations to the conservative Heritage Foundation. It is unlikely that federal loan guarantees will result in many new plants, maybe not even those in Georgia, because of their high construction cost, poor performance and never-ending cost of maintaining the leftover waste.

In the declining market for uranium, there is no need for the Paradox mill.

Don’t get your hopes up for a steady job at the mill. Solar power would actually provide a better opportunity in the sunny desert west of Naturita. It would be financially more competitive, sustainable and safe.

MARV BALLANTYNE

Montrose

King made honest mistake on state reimbursement

On Feb. 12, The Daily Sentinel published in its editorials section: “King puts himself in political crosshairs.” The editorial is based on a report that the House Ethics Committee was investigating a complaint regarding King’s commingling of funds to make a profit. It questioned Steve King’s integrity.

Steve King stated he believed the investigation was “a politically motivated attempt to stymie his plans to be elected to the state Senate.”

The House Ethics Committee has an interesting makeup; three Democrats and two Republicans. Why not three of each? Wouldn’t this be a conflict-free and a more-fair representation in the search for the truth? Also who is the Democratic leader that is actively seeking a candidate to run against Steve King?

The headline of a Feb. 13 article in the Sentinel read, “Panel: GJ legislator erred, but committed no ethics violations.” Why was this not placed in the “Opinion” section, along with the Sentinel’s acknowledgement that Steve King was correct when he voiced his concerns about an attack on his integrity based on a report to the Sentinel by an unknown person that this allegation was being investigated?

I believe that character assignation is a method used to create doubt in the candidate and to destroy his reputation. How can the public have confidence in Steve King to represent them honestly when he engages in questionable bookkeeping practices?

In the article, there is reference to the vagaries of filing for reimbursement. Anyone who has ever tried to file for them via the state or federal requirements knows it is very hard to accomplish. Honest people make honest mistakes and learn from their errors. I am sure that Steve King will seek out the correct procedure from the Secretary of State’s office and the Legislative Legal Services to get counsel on what is appropriate and what isn’t.

ALEX VARAS

Grand Junction

All Grand Valley roofs should have solar panels

Last year I bought two-thirds less electricity from my power company in comparison with other years. The 4.5 KW solar panels installed by Simplicity Solar could have saved more, but my garage roof is not ideally oriented toward the sun.

With the 30 percent subsidy now being offered by the federal government, everyone could save money even if a bank loan were required to finance the installation of a solar system. Since the Grand Valley is one of the sunniest places in America, it seems almost criminal that non-polluting solar panels are not on all of the roofs in this valley.

J.F. RANEY

Grand Junction



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