Letter: No free ride on energy
With the announcement of the imminent closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, it is worth noting that there is no free ride when it comes to energy. Virtually all energy sources have costs.
According to the Mine Safety Health Administration, there have been an average of 31 coal mine deaths per year since 2006. We are scraping the tops off of Appalachian hills and dumping the waste into the valleys to access coal deposits. We have endured numerous environmental disasters such as the Exxon Valdez grounding and the Deep Water Horizon blowout.
Natural gas is extracted through the use of chemicals injected into the ground under high pressure.
While relatively safe in the short term, nuclear power generates radioactive waste products that will have to be managed for centuries.
Even wind power, as benign as it is, requires hundred-foot towers that protrude like weeds from some of our most breathtaking landscapes. Hydro requires the damming of scenic rivers. Solar energy holds the promise of being safe and nonpolluting but remains in its early stages of development.
As the planet’s population continues to grow, stimulating an ever-increasing demand for energy, we need to devote ourselves to learning to manage what we have with the greatest efficiency possible.