A Bridge Too Far… or Too Late?
Kudos to The Nation for hosting a debate on whether governments should reinvest in nuclear power to fight climate change [“The Debate,” by Paul Hockenos and Jessica Lovering, November 28/December 5, 2022]. A key question among others that need to be addressed is whether there is a viable compromise position on nuclear power. Can it be used as a component of our energy system for only a few decades as part of the transition to clean renewables?
Readers should be aware of the immense problems associated with uranium, the source of nuclear energy. Here in North Dakota, the state has a poor history of dealing with the reclamation of abandoned uranium and coal mines. It relied on the self-bonding of mining companies, which in most cases meant that the companies walked away from their promises of reclaiming the mines and processing sites. US and North Dakota taxpayers paid for the cleanup.
A 2007 report by the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources noted the deaths of 2,500 sheep and six cattle, many other sick cows, and sheep that “glowed a blue hue” among the livestock that foraged around abandoned uranium mines and processing sites near Belfield and Griffin in the 1960s and 1970s. How many children and adults died or became sick as a result of these unreclaimed sites? The state didn’t do any investigations into this matter. How much did our politicians benefit financially from this lack of oversight and enforcement?
Wayne F. Fisher
Above the Law
Re “License to Discriminate,” by Bryce Covert [October 31/November 7, 2022]: On April 1, 2018, lay members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were introduced, virtually overnight, to the idea they were now ministers. They were henceforth to engage in home “ministering” activities to replace previous home teaching and visiting teaching programs. The scope of sexual abuse within the LDS Church involving teachers and leaders suggests that this new program can be seen as a preventive law or risk management initiative. The unstated legal purpose of the initiative appears to be to aid in the deflection of secular legal action against these visitors should there arise instances of abuse associated in some way with the programs. The new guidance may also protect any in the home who confess to their own offenses during the home visits.
The LDS initiative squares with Covert’s reporting on similar reclassification initiatives undertaken in many other religious denominations to protect the church against accusations of discrimination or harassment brought by employees. The ultimate question, of course, is whether churches should be able to function as autonomous political entities not subject to American domestic law.
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