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For the week of May 23 through May 29, 2001

A fairy tale

Wishful thinking seems to have come into vogue among the powerful.

The biggest whopper to date: Clean, plentiful nuclear power is a big part of the answer to the nation’s energy woes.

So sayeth President Bush. So sayeth Vice-president Cheney.

So sayeth Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, the man with a nuclear waste dump in his own back yard.

Simpson represents the state that refused to accept waste from commercial nuclear plants.

He represents the state where clean-up of the witch’s brew left by a half-century of nuclear development has stymied some of the nation’s best engineers and chemists.

He represents a district that worries about what will happen when an underground plume of water contaminated with radioactive substances reaches the Snake River.

What is he thinking?

Looks like he’s thinking just what the administration says all good party stalwarts must think.

As for long-lived radioactive waste produced by nuclear power plants, Simpson told a group of environmentalists encamped at Redfish Lake not to worry and to have faith that scientists will solve the vexing problem of what to do with it.

Simpson tipped his hat to a man in the audience who yelled, "They didn’t send a guy to the moon before they knew how to get him back."

Good point, and a tip of the hat won’t make it go away.

No human in his right mind would drink from a poisoned well just because it is convenient or because a government leader tells him to have faith that an antidote will surely be developed in time to save him.

Yet, this is Bush’s energy policy—and what could become the legacy for future generations. A few more Hanfords, a few more INEELs—what the heck. Someone else will clean them up later.

After all, Americans today shouldn’t be forced into a false choice between energy production and conservation, according to the president.

Yup. With wishful thinking Americans can have it all. We can keep the lights on. We can drive gas hogs. Let the next generation pay the bill.

Who needs fairy tales? Americans have Bush, Cheney and Simpson to lull us to sleep.



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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.