Putting Nukes In A Poor Black GA Town: If A Black President Does It, Is It Still Environmental Racism?

ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

In the weeks since President Obama announced $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to build new nuclear reactors next to an existing pair of nukes in mostly black Burke County, GA, the inconvenient questions, unanswered and mostly unasked, continue to pile up.

The first and most obvious questions are why nukes, and why Burke County? 

The answer to "why nukes" is that discussion of the catastrophic risk inherent to nuclear power is pretty much off the table in mainstream media these days. The Obama administration likes to call it "safe nuclear energy," often in the same breath as "clean coal." Both are colossal and equally transparent lies. The 24th anniversary of the horrific nuclear accident atChernobyl, Ukraine on April 24 passed almost unnoticed in the mainstream US media, although video of abrawl over something else in that nation's parliament made most of the networks here. Greenpeace marked the event with the release of a study by more than 50 scientists across the planet who peg the human toll of Chernobyl at a quarter million cancers, 100,000 of them fatal. Like the anniversary of the disaster itself, the Greenpeace story dropped soundlessly down the memory hole. Our amnesia is nearly perfect. I spoke to a class of journalism students at a local university at the beginning of April. Not a one of them ever heard of Chernobyl, or even of Three Mile Island. So why not nukes?

A second set of questions are why put nukes on a river that's already the 4th most toxic waterway in the nation, on a site just across from the contaminated Savannah River nuclear weapons installation? And if leaky civilian and military nukes really are the job-creating answers to poverty, shouldn't Burke County, GA be one of the wealthiest, instead of the poorest places east of the Mississippi 25 years after its first civilian nukes, and six decades after neighboring towns, some of them all black on the South Carolina side of the river, were bulldozed to create the Savannah River nuclear weapons facility?

A third set of questions are whether anybody is listening to the urgent warnings from nuclear expertsthat the site's planned next-generation reactors are even less safe than their leaky older cousins? Like most information unfavorable to utility companies and the nuclear industry, these warnings cannot seem to find their way into the mainstream media.

A fourth set of questions are why there are no laws requiring, and no funds to pay for, testing the air, soil, water, fish, wildlife, or the people of mostly black Burke County, who are experiencing an unexplained epidemic of cancer? The people living closest to the new and existing reactors in Waynesboro, GA depend on ground water wells for drinking and bathing water. Ground water is easily contaminated by tritium, a radioactive substance produced in abundance by civilian reactors and used on the other side of the Savannah River to produce nuclear weapons.


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You're right... and there is even more

I was extremely excited to hear the younger Senator Obama speak. I thought, "Is this guy too good to be true... or what?!" But since becoming Prez., he has really shown his true color. And no, it's not a mocha-brown.
Dubya's successor, sadly, is no better. His color is more the color of green, as in money and military, both.
Speaking of color... the US has a long, rich history of contaminating areas surrounding where the poor, persons of color, and indigenous peoples live. I have studied the pattern of these radioactive places throughout the nation - not just nuke reactors, but also nuclear "test" sites and places where the military is supposedly "training" with Uranium weapons, just to mention a few. These locations are always -without exception -located in areas where minorities, those with lower incomes, and native peoples live. Always.
This is a superb article and it needs to be passed around the nation. For just as many do not know about Chernobyl? They also do not know about environmental injustice!
Also, there is a superb non-profit working on this - the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. www.bredl.org
And, by the way, nearly every single reactor is leaking. Please see my article at the www.axisoflogic.com site.
Cathy Garger

You don't suppose...

that these nuclear plants are getting NEPA waivers (no finding of significant environmental impact) do you?
After all BP got one:

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
"The Interior Department exempted BP's calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year, according to government documents, after three reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely.
The decision by the department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP's lease at Deepwater Horizon a "categorical exclusion" from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009 -- and BP's lobbying efforts just 11 days before the explosion to expand those exemptions -- show that neither federal regulators nor the company anticipated an accident of the scale of the one unfolding in the gulf."
Dear Lord, anyone working for a community development department in any municpality in the US of A utilizing federal funds and thus initiating a "federal undertaking" has to be aghast.  No.  Friggen floored.  I can't get a categorical exclusion in a built environment in IOWA goddamnit, without an archeological survey, even though I have my hands on a 2001 survey letter wherein SHPO concurred in the survey's "no significant impact" finding.  This (lax environmental review(s)) is more than immoral, it's criminal. 
But I don't suppose ANY PARTY will convene hearings on the rigged NEPA analyses that appear to have infested this administration.  Next we'll see " no findings" and federal waivers when it comes to coal slurry.

I wonder who is advising this community on the "public involvement process."  Where are the voices and expertise of the academic community?  Maybe it's not to late to stop this travesty?  Or, can Obama do any goddamn thing he wishes because the "Negroes" in America--the shitty intelligentsia in particular-- are dazzled by his bullshit?