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Obama and Clinton’s nuclear glow March 5, 2008

Posted by Andreas in activism, anarchism, Environment, Nuclear Power, Politics.
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If you are following the US pre-election hype and perhaps have a favourite candidate a story by Jessica Lee entitled “The Democrats’ Dirty Secret: Presidential Candidates Backed by Nuclear Power Houses” is bound to put a damper on your enthusiasm unless you’re an atomic energy fan. It also documents the legacy of uranium mining among some of the poorest and most abused communities in the USA. Here are some extracts:

Tiokasin Ghosthorse, a member of the Lakota Nation, explains, “In western South Dakota, there is an unspoken nuclear Chernobyl. There are days when the sky is brown from the dust of uranium mining tailings in the air. This is cattle and wheat country. When the dust settles, no one knows they are being radiated.”

[…]

“A few years [ago], there were only 19 of us left from my 1973 high school graduating class of 70 or 80 people. Nine out of 10 of them had died of cancer.”

[…]

The New York Times recently noted that in the case of New Mexico, where the nuclear power industry is seeking to restart uranium mining near a Dine (Navajo) reservation, “mining companies walked away from their cleanup responsibilities” of a thousand open mines after the Cold War ended. The Times stated “among the horrors” that resulted were “shifting mountains of uranium tailings; open mines leaching contaminated rain into drinking water tables; wind-blown radioactive dust; home construction from uranium mine slabs; and even the grim spectacle of children playing in radioactive swimming holes and ground pits.”

Obama may appeal because of his ethnic background and Clinton because she would be the first woman president, but both are firmly in the pocket of the atomic energy industry (oh, yes, and of course they and everyone else are also co-owned by Big Oil):

The nuclear industry has helped bankroll the presidential campaigns of both Senators Obama and Clinton. Executives and employees of the Illinois-based Exelon have given Obama at least $221,517 — making Exelon Obama’s eighth largest contributor. Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, has also served as a consultant to Exelon.

NRG Energy is betting on Clinton. In September, NRG filed an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to open the first U.S. nuclear plan in more than 30 years. NRG Energy has given Clinton nearly $80,000 in campaign contributions. The company’s president and CEO, David Crane, is a “Hillraiser” — a Clinton backer who has raised at least $100,000. NRG Energy has also given $175 million to The Clinton Global Initiative run by former President Bill Clinton.

It’s encouraging to note, however, that indigenous activists have an acute understanding of the situation:

“Not one of the presidential candidates has an energy policy that excludes exploitation of indigenous lands,” said Klee Benally, founder of Indigenous Action Media and a volunteer with the Save the Peaks Coalition.

Ghosthorse agrees. “Hillary and Obama are not going to do anything about this. It is not who we elect, it is the system.”

[…]

“Politicians do not have the answers and we cannot rely on them to provide the answers in the context of a system that is built on the exploitation of our lands,” Benally said. “We do not just need political action, we need direct action in our communities — because behind every environmental crisis is a social crisis.”

“This is the low-intensity warfare against Native people all of the time,” Ghosthorse said.

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Comments»

1. Maisel - March 6, 2008

Since the end of the cold war, numerous regulations have gone into effect that would prevent new operators from behaving as the old ones did. If the new operations could be guaranteed environmentally safe, they would certainly provide jobs and a boost to the economy of New Mexico. New Mexico residents, including indigenous people, must consider these questions not in the light of what was done, but in the light of what will be done and how closely it can be regulated. No one is unsophisticated now, and a new era can begin. In fact, I’m sure that the bigger new companies would be helpful in getting the government off the dime when it comes to paying claims and remediation.

2. Rolly - October 24, 2008

This is a quandary and as the current capitalistic system runs out of dependency of other countries resourses et al oil, coal. The US govt. will no doubt hustle for the 50 to 70 percent of “within the borders” …and that energy is on the 3% of the land base claimed by Indigenous peoples. The bigger the companies the bigger the problem environmentally. It is a different experience when a family who lives near one of these monster mines, oil drilling and other extractive sites; and has no running water and no power. It is too common our experience to not take for granted a light switch nor a faucet.
It doesn’t work. It is based on a system of greed.


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