John M. Kunst, Jr.: Nuclear, fuel-cells the way off oil
Breckenridge and Cincinnati
Although I often disagree, I respect Alex Miller’s opinions. However, his call for more government action against a petroleum based culture and economy struck a raw nerve when he took a progressive swipe at conservatives by suggesting that they are all dumb, stupid and ignorant. Otherwise, why interject the remark about Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, tea partiers and their “lap it up” followers who, according to Miller, promoter an “anti-intellectual agenda” rather than calling for a bigger, more active government that would move our energy policy into the 21st century.
As a member of the Dummy League, I ask that we look at some confounding government facts. The Three Mile Island partial meltdown occurred in 1979. Since then, regulations spawned by – you pick it, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, which became the Energy Research and Development Administration which begat the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (power, medicine and waste) which was split off from the Nation Nuclear Security Administration (weapons) all of which later reorganized as parts of the Nuclear Science and Technology Administration which today is known as the U.S. Department of Energy – have done absolutely nothing to foster the use of safe, environmentally clean nuclear power. However, during the past 30 years, the regulations enacted by these variously named regulatory agencies have pulled the plug on more than 120 nuclear power plants that were either under construction or started construction shortly after Three Mile Island. During this same 30 year period, the Dummies have petitioned in favor of clean, environmentally friendly nuclear power. But suffocating, overly extensive regulatory meddling by our bigger government has taken existing and future reactors off the drawing table because they cannot be cost justified. After 30 years of agency name changing and the perpetual employment of more than 100,000 employees, the Dummies simply don’t believe that a bigger government with another smarter agency is going to get nuclear energy back out front in any energy plan.
Insofar as gasoline is concerned, for the past couple of decades, hydrogen fuel cells have been used in various applications including the space station where the by-products of hydrogen fuel cells are electrical energy that powers the equipment and water that the astronauts drink. There are no poisonous or noxious gases emitted from this proven source of energy generation. Pre-Obama, the Dummy League had urged members of Congress to consider funding a Manhattan-type project to bring the reality of clean, fuel cell technology into our daily lives. But, alas, the common good of all mankind has fallen victim to elitist social engineering that created Fannie and Freddie, and the greedy earmarking by elected officials who care not a wit about sensible funding for truly necessary projects that benefit all citizens. And, now that we have been TARPed, STIMed and Health Cared into the next century, I fear there is no collective will to ask taxpayers to indenture their great grandchildren with this once promising solution to petroleum and green house gases.
It can still be done. However, the solution will cause the liberal elite to gag and wretch. Instead of raising taxes to fund yet another agency within the DOE, incentivise the evil capitalist to accelerate research and development into creating an affordable and efficient system for producing, delivering and energizing fuel cell-powered automobiles. When JFK said we would put a man on the moon, he wasn’t talking about the government doing it. Private enterprise, through a competitive process, researched, developed and built the Saturn booster and Lunar Landing Module that made a moon landing and safe return a reality. Such should be the model for weaning us off oil.
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