Michigan Live talks to for EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. We already know Whitman because she is the co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which is a grassroots organization supporting nuclear energy.
But what about Granholm?
For Granholm, the energy portfolio of the future would include wind, solar, lithium ion battery, biofuel, nuclear and some measure of fossil fuel generation.
She’s especially enthusiastic about solar energy and battery technology, likely due in part to the car industry centered in her state, but, like Whitman, her broad based energy interests avoids putting too much weight on one technology.
The writer, Kirk Heinz, a local radio personality, decides that Whitman’s focus on nuclear energy suits him better.
I share Granholm’s enthusiasm for other green energy technologies, especially solar and battery, but I have come to the conclusion that we need to invest more resources in the rapid expansion of nuclear energy production.
I’m not sure it’s an either/or proposition – and reasonably sure neither Whitman nor Granholm think it is – but it leads Heinz to lay out the case for nuclear energy:
*Nuclear energy plants emit virtually no greenhouse gases; in fact, nuclear energy already provides 75% of the U.S.’s emission-free energy.
*You would have to live near a nuclear power plant for several lifetimes (even centuries) to get the same amount of radiation exposure that you get from one diagnostic medical x-ray.
He lists more points, but you know them all by now. Heinz hosts a show called “Greening of the Great Lakes” and interviewed both Whitman and Granholm on it. This page has a little more about his conversation with Granholm, but I didn’t find it very enlightening. I wonder if Granholm, like Whitman, will maintain an interest in energy issues in post-political life.
Speaking of Christine Todd Whitman and CASEnergy, the latter has started up its own blog and Twitter feed. The blog is called Clean Energy Buzz, which you can find it here. Still early days, so not a lot of content yet, but that’ll change as it goes along. The new Twitter feed’s been a little busier. Head over here to see if you’d like to follow them.
Media Matters for America spends most of its time calling out media personalities for saying things that are not backed up with facts. This isn’t that hard to do, since the give and take of conversation doesn’t allow for a quick check of the Brittanica. But as a way to squelch misinformation, it’s not bad sport.
The reason to mention it in our context was this entry:
On his Fox News show, Neil Cavuto hosted Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute to argue against the effectiveness of federal subsidies for the solar industry and claim that there would be no solar industry but for these subsidies. In fact, solar energy receives significantly fewer subsidies than fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
Let’s not worry about what Media Matters counts as subsidies. Instead, let’s look at the fact set that it uses to knock back the argument about solar power:
In 2008, Biggest Beneficiaries Of Federal Energy Subsidies Were Oil And Gas Industry. According to a 2008 Nuclear Energy Institute study titled, Analysis of Federal Expenditures for Energy Development:
The study is here, by the way.
- Oil and gas received approximately 60 percent ($436 billion) of federal spending to support energy since 1950. Oil alone received more than three-fourths ($335 billion) of this amount.
- Coal received approximately 13 percent ($93 billion) of federal spending.
- Nuclear received approximately 11 percent ($81 billion) of federal spending. Hydro received approximately 11 percent ($81 billion) of federal spending.
- Wind, solar and geothermal received approximately 7 percent ($50 billion).
I’ve mentioned various times in the past that an organization such as NEI cannot expect to have its arguments regarding nuclear energy believed if it is perceived to be “cooking the books” for its own benefit. But if Media Matters, which similarly must not combat bad information with more bad information, considers NEI a source for good information, that’s good, too.
And NEI is a good source of information. Browse around.