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Bold Claim in the Express-News: Enviros Dig Nukes

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A decade ago, objections from environmentalists were the principal roadblocks to new plant construction. But most of the concerns over safety and waste disposal have been allayed while the environmental lobby now acknowledges that nuclear power generation is environmentally benign.

That’s Bernard Weinstein arguing in a San Antonio Express-News op-ed piece today that new nukes are so kewl even crazy environmentalists are now, kinda sorta, for them! Weinstein offers no examples of environmental groups or leaders who consider nuclear power “environmentally benign” and I doubt he’s going to fnd many.

Sierra Club and Public Citizen, two of the most important environmental groups in the state, are actively fighting proposed new nuke plants. I know of no Texas green groups in favor of building new plants. Business-friendly orgs such as Environmental Defense and NRDC have said that nuclear would be okay once a solution is devised for radioactive waste disposal, security threats are addressed, etc, etc. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

Maybe Weinstein is alluding to Patrick Moore, someone who once long ago had something to do with Greenpeace and now makes his living as a paid consultant for the nuclear industry. He’s the guy the pro-nuclear people drag out to say, “Even the enviros are for it…!” Moore was in Texas doing that very thing last year.

Btw, who is Bernard Weinstein? The SAEN identifies him at the bottom of the op-ed like this:

Bernard Weinstein will become associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in September.

That’s true but, guess what, Weinstein is also a paid consultant to the nuclear industry. According to a bio, Weinstein’s clients have included Reliant Energy, Entergy (second-largest nuclear generator in the U.S.), and the Nuclear Energy Institute. Why didn’t Weinstein or the SAEN feel the need to disclose this fact to their readers?

I’ve got emails into the two asking just that. If and when they write back, I will post their responses.

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.