Speaker Pelosi, the lads in the Senate left a big mess to clean up: they’ve bagged up more than 50 billion stimulus dollars for coal and nukes. Like addicts everywhere, the coal and nuke junkies will starve families and steal from strangers to keep the fixes going. Speaker Pelosi, how can we help you stop the deal from going down?
The Senate voted to waste 50 billion on loan-guarantee subsidies for nuclear power plants and 4.6 billion on an all-expenses paid hunt for the "clean coal" unicorn. It appears their donors got exactly what they paid for. Everyone’s happy, right?
Well, except the everybodies who needed the 40 billion the Senate took from education, the 40 billion cut from the states’ need to keep unemployment checks and medicaid going as jobs evaporate, the five billion cut from COBRA, and the one billion cut from Head Start. And the everybodies who need jobs: the dollars the Senate wants to give away to the nuke and coal industry would create only a fraction of the jobs the same money could create in health and education. [The everybodies who need jobs need them now: health care and education spending makes jobs this year: the nuke subsidies wouldn't see any new plants til at least 2020.] Oh – and the everybodies in the future. "Clean" coal and nukes are the most costly, least efficient, and most toxic paths to carbon-free energy.
Professor Mark Jacobson at Stanford gives us the first "cradle to grave" comparison of energy sources. Speaker Pelosi, even though the Senate ignored Jacobson, the rest of us can’t afford to:
"Coal with carbon sequestration emits 60- to 110-times more carbon and air pollution than wind energy, and nuclear emits about 25-times more carbon and air pollution than wind energy," Jacobson said. In fact, because carbon capture requires a roughly 25-percent increase in energy from the coal plant, about 25 percent more coal is needed, increasing mountaintop removal and increasing non-carbon air pollution from power plants, he said.
Finally, both coal and nuclear energy plants take much longer to plan, permit and construct than do most of the other new energy sources that Jacobson’s study recommends. The result would be even more emissions from existing nuclear and coal power sources as people continue to use comparatively "dirty" electricity while waiting for the new energy sources to come online, Jacobson said.
Gee: few new jobs for over a decade, most wasteful, and relatively deadly. What’s not to like about wasting 55 billion of stimulus for that? For the 300 million Americans who aren’t King Coal, Mr Burns, or a Senate member, just about everything.
Speaker Pelosi, can we help you take back the 55 billion in our money to use for us, not the usual suspects? They’ve destroyed enough lives already. The rest of us want to live — and work. Taking back the 55 billion to spend on our kids and families and neighbors will help us do that. How can we help you do it, Madame Speaker?