Energy

potassium iodideDrug stores across the United States are rapidly selling out of potassium iodide pills as people attempt to arm themselves against a U.N.-reported "radioactive plume" drifting across the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima reactor in Japan. Yet government officials and health experts alike describe this reaction as hysterical, says USA Today. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reported to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 17, explaining, "Given the thousands of miles between Japan and the United States, Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. territories and the West Coast, we are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity."

FukushimaMajor media outlets report Japan is facing a nuclear disaster after last Friday's earthquake and tsunami damaged its Fukushima power plant in the town of Okuma. "Japan's nuclear situation nearing severity of Chernobyl," shrieks a CNN headline on Tuesday. Reuters warns, "Greed in the nuclear industry and corporate influence over the U.N. watchdog for atomic energy may doom Japan to a spreading nuclear disaster." Yet government officials and press releases from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) insist the situation is under control and poses no significant threat to public health.

Last May, as the president was trying to find any jobs saved or created by the hundreds of billions spent as part of the so-called Recovery act, Mr. Obama pointed to a solar panel production company in California as one of his “success” stories. In fact, Obama described Solyndra as a model for the whole future of the “green economy”: “The promise of clean energy isn’t just an article of faith... It’s not just some abstract possibility for science fiction movies or a distant future or 10 years down the road or 20 years, it’s happening right now. The future is here.”

On February 8 Vice President Joe Biden unveiled an Obama administration plan to spend $53 billion over the next six years to develop a high-speed passenger rail system that would link the nation’s larger cities. The proposed spending would be added to the $10.5 billion the administration has already spent on high-speed rail since Obama took office, including $8 billion poured into his 2009 “economic stimulus package.”

The federal policy of trying to reduce energy dependence through the use of ethanol runs counter to free-market economics. Increasing the use of ethanol will not reduce dependence upon foreign energy sources, according to a research paper published by the National Academy of Science, which concluded this about ethanol: "Neither can [it] replace much petroleum without impacting food supplies."

 

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