Letter — Easton, NY nuclear plant proposal

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

May 10, 2011

George Allen
Allenwaite Farms, Inc.
Waite Road
Schaghticoke NY 12154

Dear Mr. Allen:

Please allow me to express my appreciation for your service as Easton’s Energy Committee chairman and — especially on behalf of friends in Washington County — for all your dedicated service.

I wish to take this opportunity to express concerns over the nuclear power plant proposal. I believe our congressman, Chris Gibson (R-Kinderhook), whether directly or through the people who stand up at town hall meetings as his supporters, has dangled the promise of cheaper diesel fuel … thus lowering costs for farmers. This is a trick. (There is also the — so-far indirect — “incentive” of road improvements which is like a gun to our heads: “Let us build this and we’ll fix your roads.”)

Building a nuclear plant will

• Require the use of a tremendous amount of fuel – and diesel fuel in particular — in transportation of materials for construction and construction itself
• Involve putting transmission lines and plant access roads through rural land
• Present the problem of hauling nuclear waste through agricultural heartland
• Attract more non-agricultural business, traffic, stress and pollution
• Devalue the county’s agricultural output by destroying confidence
• Erode tourism
• Cost a tremendous amount of money to build
• Benefit outside financial interests at the expense of local quality of life and health

The primary beneficiaries of the nuclear power plant will be real estate developers and the energy-intensive tech companies, such as the Abu Dhabi-owned GlobalFoundries in Malta, NY, which are locating here because of tax incentives and, in some areas, poorly defended natural resources. Aided by politicians like Gibson, these companies are robbing us of our most valuable resource: The land.

The land is our health and sustenance. We already have a problem with contaminants in our environment. Leukemia is one horrible indication of the damage. Look at the problems caused by PCBs in our rivers, lakes and groundwater. Consider the toxic plumes like those in Nassau and Glenville, NY. Carcinogens from the latter have reportedly entered the Schenectady city water supply.

It’s a long struggle that goes way back, Mr. Allen, before there ever was such as thing as a nuclear power plant. It’s taken a while to really catch up to us here.

• Note that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has forecast many more nuclear disasters like the recent one in Japan. He has called for a GLOBAL dialog on the future of nuclear energy. Rep. Gibson is correct in saying that some of our electrical power already comes from nuclear fusion … but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has indicated an intent to close the Indian Point reactor. Nuclear proponents will point out improvements in plant technology such as the placement of a cooling tower above the reactor so that gravity, not pumps, will facilitate cooling to prevent meltdown. There is still the problem of the valves and controls that activate cooling and all reactor processes. These controls are supplied by power from outside the plant … which a mere thunderstorm can threaten. This was demonstrated in late April in Alabama, when a storm cut electricity to a nuclear power plant. Fortunately the backup generators kicked in. However, as was cited by regulators May 10, a valve that is part of the cooling system failed. A close call … due to THE WEATHER. My question to you is, can we afford to gamble our lives, our children’s and grandchildren’s lives — and the viability of the land — on fragile control systems including moving parts such as valves, and backup generators?

Look ahead. If this plant is built, some day it will be an aging nuclear power plant. Problems that the people in Japan and in the Middle East at Toshiba/Westinghouse, etc., have not foreseen will emerge as it ages.

Now … Rep. Gibson and indeed, Pres. Obama, are correct in emphasizing the need for energy independence. We need food independence, too! And we’re behind! New York farms can supply only about a third of the food consumed by New Yorkers. Let’s at least to hold on to what we have.

Energy and food independence are NOT mutually exclusive! The solution is for Americans to use less energy as consumers. That means relying more on local farm products. The good news is that – as long as we protect the land — it’s not so hard for us to do this in our area.

Do I want frozen vegetables when I can buy local, farm-fresh products? I’m not saying everyone should unplug their refrigerator/freezers … though I have asked myself whether the amount of food I store in it justifies the energy expense of keeping it running. This is the kind of question consumers should be asking. How can I use less energy? Their PERSONAL independence is at stake.

Help people understand what they must do to protect their land, their children and themselves, Mr. Allen. Thank you for your time.

Yours truly,
Robert S. Preuss


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