Nevada Senior World

More on Yucca Mountain; relief from price gouging?

By Ken Bouton
Editor Emeritus

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Thanks for your many comments by phone and letters to my suggestion that the time has come for our bigwigs to take a realistic look at the future of Yucca Mountain being used for permanent storage of high level nuclear waste, and put aside the politics-as-usual bickering which has left most of us - and them - addled by a lot of misinformation and little factual data.

With but one exception, all of you agreed that since it appears inevitable that the feds will put the nuke dump in our back yard - since not one single other site is even being studied - that we should start figuring how to get the maximum benefits from it. Like money. Tons of it, for every truck load of nuclear waste that is hauled into our state.

That lone exception was from a lady (I use the word charitably) who wrote that I am a complete "idiot" for daring to suggest that we should get our act together so we can gain the absolute utmost in economic benefits, when (not "if") this dump is finally approved by the feds.

I'll expand on that a bit. Let's levy a fee of one million dollars on every waste-filled truck that crosses our state line and in turn apply that charge as an offset to our ever-soaring property taxes. Were we to do that, instead of the huge public disapproval of the dump (as reported), my guess is an awful lot of voters would change their minds in a hurry.

But all arguments for or against the dump aside, it is still my contention we're going to get it, like it or not, so why not at least take a look at all possible economic benefits when those trucks start to roll through town. And who knows, then maybe Mayor Oscar Goodman won't have to plunk his royal body in front of a nuke waste filled truck, as he has threatened to do.

But this space is hardly a forum to debate the nuclear dump issue.

Nor, for that matter - and wholly unlike a bunch of radio and television talk shows - is it the forum for deciding the strategy of how to fight the war. I get especially irritated at some of those network TV prima donnas, whose main duty seems to be to ask utterly stupid questions at every news conference with a military leader. For example, the lady masquerading as a reporter, who demanded to know why a certain kind of bomb was being used on the Talibans. "To kill people," was the curt and deserved reply from Donald Rumsfeld, our defense chief.

Our nation is at war, so will the citizens be given relief from price gouging, as we were during the last Big War? Just wondering, but with electric utility rates poised to take us all back into the dark ages, soaring natural gas rates threatening to turn our homes into igloos, and our telephone company wanting to force everyone to use carrier pigeons, perhaps the feds - since no local authorities will undertake the task - should take long and hard looks at what is happening on the home front, in this respect, too.

Oh, and that's not to mention that health care systems are falling apart and that private medical insurance rates are set to soar higher than a military jet. The warning signs of even more problems for millions of elderly on limited incomes are all too clearly in view.