GROUPS: EXPECT MORE WV-STYLE WATER DISASTERS UNLESS OBAMA SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER PROTECTING U.S. WATER FROM ENERGY DEVELOPMENT
As stated in the first paragraph of a press release issued on Jan. 30 by the Civil Society Institute: "Sixty groups from across the United States called on President Obama today to issue an executive order protecting water availability and quality in the U.S. from haphazard energy exploration, warning that in the absence of a national water/energy “roadmap” there will be many more “sacrifice zones” like the coal-processing chemical spill in West Virginia that contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 people and creating a federal state of emergency."
The press release is entitled: GROUPS: EXPECT MORE WV-STYLE WATER DISASTERS UNLESS OBAMA SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER PROTECTING U.S. WATER FROM ENERGY DEVELOPMENT; West Virginia is Not Alone: 10 Similar "Sacrifice Zones" Identified in CO, LA, MA, ND, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX & VT; Warning That Water Will Be Subject to Repeated Disasters in Absence of Water/Energy Roadmap, Clear Priorities.
A telephone press conference was held at 1pm Eastern on Jan. 30th. The speakers, as reflected in the press release above, included: Grant Smith, Senior Energy Policy Analyst, Civil Society Institute, Newton, MA; Janet Keating, Executive Director, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Huntington, WV; Tracy Carluccio, deputy director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Bristol, PA; Bob Arrington, retired mechanical engineer, board member of the Western Colorado Congress.
A streaming audio replay of this news event will be available as of 5 p.m. EST on January 30, 2014 at http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org.
Beyond Nuclear was one of the sixty groups which signed on.
Groups are still encouraged to endorse the proposed Executive Order. To do so, contact Jennifer Filiault at the Civil Society Institute:; c: 508-648-4184; email@example.com
The proposed executive order includes sections on the disastrously large amounts of water used by centralized thermal electric power plants -- including atomic reactors -- and calls for their phase out and replacement with other forms of electricity generation, such as wind power and solar photovoltaic, which use little to no water during operations. The thermal releases alone from atomic reactors have large negative impacts on surface water ecosystems, as documented in Paul and Linda Gunter's Licensed to Kill report.
Incredibly, centralized thermal electric power plants -- both nuclear and fossil fueled -- discharge two-thirds of the heat generated (whether by atom splitting, or fossil fuel combustion) as waste. That is, only one-third of the heat generated is actually converted into electricity. The waste thermal heat is then either directly released into adjacent surface water, causing significant ecosystem damage, or else released as steam via cooling towers -- often resulting in the loss of that water to the basin, as it blows away downwind.
In addition to thermal discharges to surface water and the atmosphere, operating atomic reactors also release hazardous radioactivity and toxic chemicals -- both intentionally and "routinely," with permission from the government; as well as "accidentally," as by leaks -- into surface waters, groundwater, soil, and the air, as documented in a Beyond Nuclear pamphlet and report.
Uranium mining and milling also result in toxic and radioactive releases to surface waters, including one of the worst nuclear disasters in U.S. history -- the 1979 earthen dam break, unleashing a large flood of uranium tailings into the Rio Puerco, the drinking and irrigation water supply for a large number of Navajo downstream in New Mexico.
Another example is the aftermath of large-scale uranium mining at Elliot Lake, Ontario (again, on indigenous peoples lands -- this time, the Serpent River First Nation). Even two decades after cessation of active uranium mining and milling at Elliot Lake, the tailings "mountains" left behind are still releasing the single largest plume of hazardous radium from any point source into the Great Lakes, which serve as the drinking water supply for tens of millions of people in several U.S. states, and 2 Canadian provinces, downstream.