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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Blue Castle Nuclear Project is progressing toward completing characterization studies neded for a licensing application with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Editorials: Fire (from gas) and water (for nukes) ...

Editorials on a theme today: Earth, air, fire and water.

- Storm Blue Castle: Nuclear plant could go thirsty - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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The environmentalist siege of Blue Castle has merit on several grounds.

First, if climate change causes a prolonged drought in the Colorado River basin, as some scientists predict, the proposed nuclear plant on the Green River could be left without enough water to operate.

Second, in such a drought the plant’s needs could adversely impact other water rights.

Third, the project’s finances appear to be shaky, and under Utah law, the sponsors must show they have the financial means to complete the project. ...

... Under these circumstances, it is a long shot that Blue Castle will ever be able to put to beneficial use the water it has contracted to lease from two southern Utah water conservancy districts. This project might make sense somewhere else, but not in a parched industrial park in southern Utah.

- Deal breaker: BLM moves too fast on gas plan - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

What had the promise of turning into a winning streak for both the environment and Utah’s extractive industries is threatened by an overly aggressive plan to drill some 1,300 new gas wells in the Uinta Basin of eastern Utah.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and other environmental groups had been on an encouraging roll recently. Separate deals worked out between conservationists and a pair of energy companies allowed the drillers — the Bill Barrett Corp. and Enduring Resources — to go ahead with modified plans to sink gas wells in ways that minimized the potential damage to historically significant artifacts and sensitive environmental areas. ...

... Unfortunately, it appears that another extractive enterprise — Denver’s Gasco Energy — has not received the memo. It has plans, given preliminary approval by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, to develop up to 1,298 gas wells on some 207,000 acres in Uintah and Duchesne counties.

The problem is not that there will be new gas wells in eastern Utah. The problem is that neither Gasco nor the BLM has shown any inclination to slow down and talk to the conservation groups — as Bill Barrett and Enduring Resources responsibly did — about some tweaks that would minimize environmental damages. ...

- Xcel right about green subsidies - Denver Post Editorial

With Boulder eager to start its own utility, Xcel naturally wants to tweak its clean-energy programs.

- Coal-to-gasoline plant has many positives for state - Casper Star-Tribune Editorial

- The atomic age? - Harford County (Md.) Aegis Editorial

Since 1989, the opening credits to "The Simpsons," the longest running animated series on TV, has featured a short bit of animations showing the buffoon patriarch Homer sacked out at his post in the control room at a nuclear power plant.

It's probably no coincidence that when the show was first going into production, the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station was in the national spotlight for being shut down in the aftermath of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors finding a real-life nuclear operator asleep at his post in the control room. ...

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