Monday, August 31, 2009

Colorado’s Conflicted U.S. Senator, Mark Udall

Two of Al Gore’s leading global warming suckers in the U.S. Senate are Mark Udall, D-Colo., and John McCain, R-Ariz.

To his credit, McCain has always been a nuclear energy advocate. Sen. Udall, true to his family’s tradition of being in lockstep with Big Enviro, hasn’t. But he’s beginning to give nuclear energy favorable lip service. Is Udall, like New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson in his old days in Congress, talking out of both sides of his mouth?

Here is John Dendahl’s commentary with an open letter to Sen. Udall. If the Senator responds, we’ll be sure to let you know.

If Not to Speak Out of Both, Why Have Two Sides to One’s Mouth?
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., is reported to be among those twisting arms for senate votes on the economically ruinous cap-and-trade scheme already passed in the U.S. House. Hollywood Henry Waxman’s is one of the names on the House bill, and few could name a Member of Congress who deserves more “credit” for laws burdening the U.S. economy and restricting the individual rights of U.S. citizens.
Members of Congress like Udall are exempt from mainstream media criticism for conflicts of interest. However, Udall has one here in spades. His wife, Maggie Fox, is CEO and president of something called Alliance for Climate Protection, founded by Al Gore with money from his global warming horror movie. Typical of Big Enviro’s big bucks “charitable” [i.e., organized under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code] organizations, the Gore/Fox alliance has a companion lobbying organization, the Climate Protection Action Fund. Fox is CEO and president of that as well.

Gore is reported already to have amassed a huge fortune in a market for trading carbon credits, and that’s before any law has been enacted limiting carbon dioxide emissions. Meanwhile, the purported reason for any such limits--the claims that the climate is warming and that atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide from human activities is the cause--has been reduced to pseudoscience making mischief comparable in scope to eugenics.

Just for the sake of changing the course of the argument, however, why not inquire of Udall and others in the global warming camp as to what sources of, say, electricity they propose as alternatives? “Renewables” like solar and wind is the stock answer. After decades of subsidies, and now laws mandating their use, these sources remain well under one percent of national electric output, and they obviously cannot run 24-7 even when they work.

The correct answer, of course, is nuclear. Udall has whispered that word somewhat approvingly. However, deep skepticism is warranted since most of Udall’s energy talk comes out of the Big Enviro side of his mouth. Despite its unequalled, half-century record for safety, Udall always raises that “issue” and can be expected to hide behind it when the chips are down and Big Enviro says, “No way, Mark.”

Click here for my op-ed on this subject as published in The Denver Post on July 27, and click here for the senator’s limp response.

It’s time, as they say, to get down to brass tacks, so here’s an open letter:

Dear Sen. Udall:

Many friends and I were happy to read your letter-to-the-editor in The Denver Post on July 29, responding to my op-ed published two days earlier. I had been attempting communication with your office for nearly eight weeks before I received two e-mails, slightly different but with substantially the same “boilerplate” I referred to in the op-ed.

It should surprise no one that you have supported WIPP. It commenced operations about two months after you took your seat in the U.S. House and now holds thousands of tons of TRU waste from your congressional district (Rocky Flats). My reference to Udall family complicity in delaying WIPP and adding huge sums to its cost was about events going back more than a decade before you were in Congress and needs no further elaboration here.

However, I’m reminded of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. I find at this website that your father was a sponsor. That was 27 years ago. My understandings are that, under this legislation, utilities (read, ratepayers) have now remitted about $30 billion to the federal fund it created; about $10 billion of that has been spent, largely or entirely on the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada; not an ounce of spent fuel has left temporary storage; and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., now intends that the Yucca Mountain project be deep-sixed.

I reminded readers of my op-ed, “Preserving the myth that radioactive waste cannot be safely disposed has been a major goal of organized ‘environmentalists’ for decades.” An article in The Denver Post on August 25 quotes you on Yucca Mountain, “a dead project.” Have you just rolled over and died for Sen. Reid?

Your claims of concern about anthropogenic global warming are not credible without a great deal more support for expanded nuclear power than this from your l-t-e: “I am more than open to expanding our use of nuclear power and recently said so on the floor of the Senate.” Frankly, sir, that’s not even a starter. The aforementioned Denver Post article about the bipartisan photo-op you and Sen. McCain, R-Ariz., held in front of trees killed years ago by pine beetles has a terrific headline, “Udall, McCain united in call for nuclear power,” but I hope you’ll excuse my skepticism after experiencing a decade or more of safety-shrouded doublespeak on the subject by Bill Richardson.

Perhaps as a red herring, your letter raised cost as an issue unfavorable to nuclear power. Nuclear power plants are delivering electricity cheaper than any other source today. Your “cleaner sources,” solar and wind, are the choices that have failed for decades on account of cost whenever they aren’t underwritten by direct government subsidies and/or laws like Colorado’s essentially mandatingtheir use without regard to cost. Uncertainty associated with the licensing process, and “leadership” such as you are getting from Sen. Reid, are the primary reasons I’d suggest for any reluctance by utility company boards and executives to build nuclear power plants we need.

Lastly, about global warming. People chasing money mostly from government grants and agency appropriations have now spent many tens of billions on “proving” that global warming continues, is a very bad thing, and is largely the result of increased concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by human activities. Others who simply observe the world around us shake our heads in disbelief, wondering what planet you and these researchers live on. The climate is cooling, not warming, and the researchers among the crowd laughably claiming consensus about warming can’t make their expensive, complicated--and might I also suggest falsified in some cases?--models jibe with real world measurements.

I believe global warming is to the late 20th and early 21st centuries what the pseudoscience eugenics was to the early 20th. For a cogent discussion of eugenics and the historic mischief of politicized science, look here.

Isn’t it well past time for you to level with the people you represent and tell them the truth? I wouldn’t suggest that’s a decision that can be reached and implemented easily. You have been prominent among global warming alarmists for a long time. Further, I acknowledge the awkwardness of, uh, breakfast table talk and all if this were juxtaposed against your wife’s prominent position in the propaganda end of Al Gore’s carbon-cap-and-trade crusade.

But wouldn’t a mind change now be better than having most of one’s constituents look back in a couple of years, wondering what kind of fool would defy what was so obvious and vote to accelerate his country’s economic tailspin? You got elected to lead us toward sound public policy. In my experience, that’s occasionally neither easy nor comfortable. Honesty, however, sure makes for better sleeping.

I look forward to receiving a reply that addresses directly what is said in this letter.


s/ John Dendahl
John Dendahl, a Rocky Mountain Foundation senior fellow, is a retired business executive. He resides in Littleton, CO.

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