All of the above: mercury water, methane fracking, radioactive waste, water overuse; EPA go clean renewables instead –Susan Corbett

South Carolina Sierra Club Chair Susan Corbett summed up the problem with the EPA’s carbon rule: it opposes one poison while promoting others. We can make a real green clean energy policy based on conservation, efficiency, solar, and wind energy. Remember, you can still send in your own comments directly to EPA.

SC Sierra club, chair at EPA Atlanta hearing, by Elaine Cooper on YouTube 30 July 2014:

All of the above has brought us mercury in our rivers…, mountains of coal ash leaking arsenic into our water…, fracking, a toxic stew of chemicals injected into our groundwater, methane in our drinking wells, and earthquakes where there never were earthquakes before.

Corbett is also chair of Sierra Club’s nationwide nuclear free campaign (of which I am also a member, and I am a Sierra Club Georgia chapter member).

All of the above has brought us 80,000 tons of plutonium nuclear waste with nowhere to go….

It has also brought us radioactive tritium leaking into our rivers; virtually every nuclear power plant in this country is leaking tritium into our groundwater. And it’s brought us the continued use of 23 dangerous Fukushima Mark I reactors, one of them here in Georgia.

Two, actually, both Hatch 1 and Hatch 2, only 100 miles from where I sit. Hm, why was Hatch 1 down to 24% on 2 June 2014? And why were Vogtle 1 and 2 at 0% on 8 April 2014? Why are we trusting Southern Company to build Vogtle 3 and 4? Especially when Georgia Power annually hikes rates to pay for new nukes and natural gas plants before they ever deliver a single electron of power?

Here’s the video, apparently taken by Elaine Cooper 30 July 2014, followed by more transcription.

An oversight agency populated by industry insiders. That’s what the all of the above approach is bringing us.

I think she was referring to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), but insider population is even more true of the industry-funded Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is just as “Federal” as the Federal Reserve since FERC is funded by the very industries it regulates, just as “Regulatory” as a rubberstamp since FERC has denied only two pipelines in the memory of its current staff, and not really interested in “Energy”, only in profits for its contributing industries, especially including through LNG export to the highest-bidding foreign countries using eminent domain to take U.S. taxpayers’ land and run up domestic natural gas prices.

And what these carbon rules seem to be indicating is that in all likelihood that we’re going to see more fracking for natural gas. And more building of nuclear power plants, as well as the relicensing and continuing relicensing and drawing out of these unsafe aging reactors.

This proposal effectively supports nuclear power and natural gas fracking without any mention or consideration to the environmental and economic effects….

Like the Sabal Trail 36-inch fracked methane pipeline on a hundred-foot right of way to Florida, whose governor Rick Scott owned or owns stock in multiple pipeline companies, including that one. With its air and water quality hazards, its destruction of trees, and its inadequate insurance for leaks or explosions, even though pipelines leak, a problem that industry hasn’t been able to solve in a hundred years.

Corporations are not going to reduce nuclear and natural gas if coal is completely shut down. It’s just going to make natural gas more attractive to the baseload model.

Former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff pointed out two years ago that the century-old baseload capacity model is outdated and what we need is effiicency, solar, and wind power connected by a smart grid. Edison Electric Institute told its parent utilities a year and a half ago that solar was already eating their lunch. Liam Denning wrote for the Wall Street Journal half a year ago that utilties that didn’t get on with solar and wind rapidly were facing a “death spiral”. A Stanford study spelled out four months ago how to power each and every U.S. state with sun, wind, and water alone.

And especially, especially if the EPA puts your finger on the scale and kind of creates advantages for these industries and seems to be promoting them.

Nuclear and natural gas are not clean energies.

I cannot believe you are even considering nuclear clean. Yes, it may not be releasing carbon, but there is nothing clean about nuclear power. The EPA should not be characterizing nuclear as clean energy. You can say its burning low carbon energy, but it is not clean. The fact that even as we speak, today, the EPA is attempting to reduce the ionizing radiation protection rule… this should be a wake-up call to all of us….

And the future is already here, as Prof. Mark Jacobson’s Stanford research group has spelled out.

Now I don’t want you to interpret this as a statement that I’m supporting dirty coal and its debilitating effects… and its horrible effects on the climate. We know that carbon emissions must be capped. This is a warning to use caution in the direction of the travel of the EPA. There appears to be no vision for the future. You could be said to be reactionary and actively supporting that which creates greater environmental debt down the road, due to a very myopic approach to energy policy.

A much better approach would be a comprehensive energy policy supporting energy efficiency, sustainable, renewable, really clean energy power generation forms, not a lackluster piecemeal environmental policy, in which the cancellation of one poison will increase the use of other poisons.

She said more about EPA’s push for states to use nuclear, pointing out that states that actually use nuclear have the highest energy costs in the south.

I want to mention also the vast consumptive water use of nuclear, which is going to be a big problem….

Natural gas, like coal and nuclear, also uses massive amounts of water for cooling, while solar, wind, converservation, and efficiency do not.

So we want you to abandon your incentives and subsidies for nuclear power and instead focus on clean renewable energy.

Susan Corbett concluded:

…remember what president Kennedy said. We’re going to go to the moon. Go to the moon? And we went to the moon seven years later. We created a million products, just to go to the moon. We can do this. We can cut carbon, we can end fossil fuels, We can create a truly green, clean renewable energy policy.

We’re not aiming for the moon this time; we’re aiming for the sun. And EPA is being way too timid. Three years ago David Biello wrote in Scientific American about the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot program, which aimed to reduce the cost of solar power to $1 per watt within six years, which would be by 2017. Yet solar power was already $0.74 a watt by December 2013, less than three years later.

Last fall Jon Wellinghoff predicted “Solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything.” And he was specific: within a decade solar will produce more power than any other U.S. energy source. Which matches my slighlty earlier prediction based on FERC’s own figures. And eia’s April 2014 energy figures show Wellinghoff’s prediction of deployed solar power production doubling every two years is exactly what’s been happening the past four years.

Solar will win like the Internet did.

EPA’s proposed carbon rule might have made sense ten or even five years ago. Not now. We know how to power the world on sun, wind, and water, and solar power is already cheaper than any other power source and rapidly getting still more inexpensive. EPA needs to study compound interest and exponential growth such as took the Internet from unknown to everywhere in less than a decade. There is no excuse for picking poisons when we have real green clean power sources ready and expanding right now.

The sun is rising. EPA help us aim for that sunrise, or get out of the way.