Wednesday, April 16, 2008


1. Putting highly toxic radioactive waste in and around volcanoes and earthquake faults is a recipe for A Really Bad Day.

2. The Air Force drops really, really big bombs right next door. Bombs + high level radioactive waste = A Really Bad Day.

3. Nevada is the driest state in the United States, and that means we need water. A lot. And one of the big sources of water just happens to be under Yucca Mountain. Leaching radioactive waste into our pristine aquifers will not improve water quality.

4. Yucca Mountain doesn’t belong to the United States government. By internationally recognized treaty, it belongs to the Western Shoshone Nation. 'Spose the U.S. might start taking those treaty obligations seriously? Sometime soon?

5. The Department of Energy has failed to comply with the technical and legal requirements set for using the mountain as a dump site. The agency bureaucrats’ two favorite words? “Trust Us!”

6. The Department of Energy doesn’t even have a completed design for the site. Their two favorite words again…

7. The Department of Energy does not have a detailed plan in place if something goes wrong because nothing, apparently, could possibly go worng, go worng, go worng... Just in case, though, the general idea for a response involves robots. Seriously.

The Department of Energy has Gov. Schwarzenegger on speed-dial.

8. Shipping the dangerously radioactive waste from throughout the entire United States creates endless opportunities for terrorists or accidents to spill the material in millions of backyards. Such an event would be A Really Bad Day for anyone in the neighborhood.

9. The latest Department of Energy plan is to put metal umbrellas over the canisters holding the toxic radioactive waste to keep water from rusting holes in the cans. But the idea is to wait 100 years before putting the umbrellas up. Seriously. Volunteers to install the umbrellas are being recruited from the High School Class of 2108.

10. The Department of Energy says "not to worry," that as a Highly Responsible Federal Agency, they will come up with a plan to deal with any problems. Just like their friends at FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers came up with a plan to deal with Hurricane Katrina.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Our friends in the Sierra Club have launched a national campaign to wean us off of coal, which as you might have heard isn't good for the people and other living things, and other polluting fossil fuels. The real focus of the campaign is to educate the public that there are choices - choices that we do, in fact, make every day in our energy uses.

Which reminds me: I forget where I heard this first, so apologies to the author, but I've heard that there is no "silver bullet" in terms of replacing fossil fuels and cleaning up our rapidly overheating atmosphere. And that's true. But while there may be no silver bullet, there is silver birdshot. The point being that if we are to lick our addictions to the fuels that are killing us and our planet, we're going to have to employ a number of strategies, at home, on the road, at work and certainly within the domain of public policy discussions.

I like the Sierra Club's approach because it is not a one-size-fits-all strategy to bring to the politicians. The push is to bring millions of petition signitures to the new president, whoever he or she might be. And that's a commitment that just about all of us can make.

To go to the local web page, click here. You can print out copies of the petitions and find the local contact information.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Knapp's CityLife column slams Water Grab

George Knapp is one of a handful of local journalists, and I include Phoebe Sweet with the Las Vegas Sun among that number, to buck the developers and publicly question the assumptions behind the expensive and environmental catastrophic effort to pump billions of water from rural Nevada to sustain out-of-control urban growth.

Here's a snippet from George's latest:

There are nearly 10,000 desalination plants operating in the world at this very moment. The technology is already proven and is getting cheaper by the day. Somehow, other, lesser nations have figured out how to resolve the environmental and cost issues.

Las Vegas can't do it because our public officials decided long ago there is only one option they will pursue ... the pipeline.

It makes you wonder just who's going to get rich off this thing, doesn't it?

George Knapp is a veteran investigative reporter for KLAS-TV Channel 8. You can reach him at

Friday, April 4, 2008

YAY! Another Re-Do!

Because Water Czarina and developer lobbyist Pat Mulroy is such an innocent babe-in-the-petrified-woods when it comes to things like public meetings, they screwed up by failing to announce that, you know, they would be raising the rates at the Feb. 20 meeting of the Las Vegas Valley Water District. Who knew you had to POST things like that?

So anyways because of some stupid "open meetings law" now they have to do a re-do and the new rates will not go into effect until May 1, which will cost the Water District $4 million or so and probs waste a lot more water but that's no biggie since we've got lots and lots of water to spare.

The re-do is scheduled for April 15, a Tuesday, at 9 a.m. at the Clark County Government Center Commission Chambers, 500 Grand Central Parkway. A friend from the Nevada Granola Chewers League wants to get as many people as possible down there, and I agree, so I hope you can make it.

One kinda interesting thing has happened since the Feb. 20 non-meeting-meeting: Coachella, the California farming community down south of Vegas dependent (like us) on the Colorado River, has raised its upper tier to about $7.40. Ours is $4.50. Or would have been if the agencies had bothered to properly inform the public of their plans.

So we have a point to score with in this discussion. Conservationists and other people with a commitment to rational policy agree: Raise the upper rates high for the most wasteful users. Keep rates as low as possible for those who use very low volumes of water.

One of the major concerns, and I’m not making this up, of the Las Vegas Valley Water District/Southern Nevada Water Authority has been that people might reduce their water use too much if rates for high-volume users got too high, thus reducing cash flow to the water agencies that charge by the gallon. Has anyone, oh, I don’t know, taken a look at Lake Mead lately? Cash flow is the least of our concerns.

Poor Pat. I can totally understand how somebody with her limited experience in local government could get tripped up by one of those "laws" that are so darned complicated to understand and comply with, like that pesky open meetings "law".

Pretty soon people will want to know what they heck they're doing with all the billions the
SNWA/LVVWD uses to promote an environmentally catastrophic "public" policy! Psshaw! Like it's anybody's business!

It's a slippery slope, y'all...

P.S. In the last two months, "re-do" has become part of our official governmental and political terminology. I'm not sure that's a good thing for democracy...