Dear members and friends,
Yesterday, we got the news that our
efforts to change the way nuclear waste is being buried at the Barnwell site
have paid off. The South Carolina
Appeals Court agreed with us that Chem Nuclear and DHEC were remiss in allowing
water to come in contact with the waste being disposed there, creating a way
for the radiation to migrate off site and get into ground and, eventually,
I can’t begin to tell you what this means to me. I joined the Sierra Club and agreed to run for the chapter ExCom specifically because of this issue. I didn’t like the idea that South Carolina was the nation’s nuclear waste dump, and I wanted the Club to fight that. I dragged my good friend Bob Guild into the Club with me, because I knew what an incredible asset it would be to have someone with his talents, expertise, leadership and commitment on our side. It has paid off in spades!
Over the years, I personally have made it my mission to secure funding to keep us in this fight. We have received grants from The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Musicians United for Safe Energy, anonymous donors and, more recently, the national Sierra Club. Our chapter ExCom has consistently voted to support our efforts to fight the Barnwell operation as well as other nuclear facilities. In fact, we are the ones who brought the Common Agenda (the statewide coalition of conservation groups) into the fight against nuclear waste dumping, and we remain the only South Carolina conservation group willing to speak out against and fight nuclear power. We challenged the VC Summer Units 2 & 3 license application; we are currently involved in a legal challenge to the on-going cost overruns for this very expensive plant, and we are fighting to keep SRS from becoming the “temporary” holding site for the nation’s inventory of nuclear waste from all the reactors around the country.
This week, I and other chapter members went to Atlanta to speak before the EPA regarding its carbon rules. Some of our testimony is posted on the chapter website www.myscsierra.org.
We all agree that carbon emissions must be cut, but we take issue with the EPA’s blatant promotion of natural gas and nuclear as the solution. Here in South Carolina and in most of the South, we have massive potential for solar, offshore wind and energy efficiency programs. These are what the EPA should be promoting, not more dirty fuels that emit toxic substances and create legacies of deadly waste.
And please remember that all of these fights and efforts are due to having a strong, vibrant chapter with a chapter office and staff. We must raise 70% of our own budget, and we rely on our leaders and members to donate to the chapter.
Thank you for all you do. And if you are not a member yet, please join us!
South Carolina Sierra Club Chair