Gov. Gary Herbert didn’t exactly use the n-word, but everyone could see he wants nuclear in his energy bag of tricks. During his State of the State address, Herbert cleverly tied “safer and cleaner ways to extract natural resources and utilize energy” to the issue of air quality. “Clean” energy has become synonymous with nuclear energy, despite nuclear power’s inability to rid itself of that hot-waste problem. But give the governor a high-five for recognizing that air quality isn’t just a bummer, but has personal- and economic-health repercussions. The economics are what drive the governor. “I am taking the lead on this issue by building partnerships with Utah industries and households to set achievable and vital air-quality goals,” he says. Goals are important, and, indeed, most pollution comes from automobiles. On the other hand, the most toxic pollution comes from industry, and Herbert doesn’t want us to keep blaming business.
Did you see the backpedaling on the state engineer’s sign-off for the state’s first n-plant? Aaron Tilton, former legislator and head of Blue Castle Holdings, convinced the state he had a $30 million agreement with a New York-based hedge fund. Turns out the Securities and Exchange Commission thinks the fund is a huge scam. State engineer Kent Jones didn’t think it was up to him to check this out, even though it gives Blue Castle the go-ahead to use 53,600 acre feet of water from the Green River to cool the reactor. Really? Our government watchdogs just take someone’s word as the truth?
For 10 years, Christine Durham held sway on the Utah Supreme Court as chief justice. In 1982, she was the first woman appointed to the high court—not that she exactly ushered in an era of women jurists. But even with half of law-school graduates being women, Utah is still far behind in equity issues. So, as Durham steps down from the chief-justice spot, Utah women should be encouraged by the nonpartisan Real Women Run effort, sponsored by the YWCA and Hinckley Institute of Politics. The first event anticipated 40 attendees and got 300, which may attest to the interest. Right now, only 17 percent of the Utah Legislature is female and there are no female federal lawmakers. Durham, of course, represents the best for women, and, hopefully, will serve as a guiding light.