Polluting without penalty is over

To the editor:

Pragmatism is defined as the practical approach to problems. This means if I am going to be pragmatic, I have to set aside pre-conceived opinions and evaluate problems as level headedly as possible. It may mean, at times, I will have to choose the lesser of two evils.

How do you feel about nuclear power? Three-mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima justifiably make us skeptical of nuclear power generation.

Today, we have 99 operating nuclear plants in the US supplying us 20% of our electricity and they are in a precarious position. The reason is nearly every other form of energy is cheaper. Since 2013 five nuclear plants have closed.

When plants close, the electricity they produced is often replaced by electricity generated by fossil fuel powered plants. This means carbon dioxide emissions rise beyond limits we can hope to survive. We cannot afford to shut down any of our nuclear plants at this time because they produce no carbon pollution.

Here is the bottom line, our National Academies of Science, the International Panel on Climate Change and 13 of 13 Federal science agencies tell us we have no time to waste.

Carbon pollution is rampant because we subsidize fossil fuels. The waste of fossil fuels is dumped into the air without penalty. That waste, even if we do not consider the destruction of our climate, also creates a myriad of health problems. Comparing coal and nuclear fatalities per unit of energy produced are not even close. For every person who dies due to nuclear energy production, coal kills 400. A coal plant even emits more radiation than a nuclear power plant by a factor of 100.

We must punish pollution and reward clean energy. For the time being, we need to protect nuclear power until we can ramp up solar and wind.

We have the means to do it! The House of Representatives will be voting on HR7173 called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It will penalize pollution and reward us through a citizen dividend.

Want details? Go to www.citizensclimatelobby.org and www.ucsusa.org or e-mail me at climatelynx@earthlink.net for a well-researched paper written by MTU Distinguished Professor of Environmental History, Nancy Langston.

HR7173 will not magically pass because it makes common sense. It will only pass if we call and politely demand it. Set the remote down, please, and call your congressperson.

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