Sen. Begich and the Alaska Pipeline Project
I commend U.S. News & World Report for an insightful April print issue on the "New Green Economy," which I hope will motivate more Americans to adopt a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. But I must correct your claim of environmental opposition to an Alaska natural gas pipeline and statement that it "could damage Arctic permafrost" ["Can Natural Gas Break Our Oil Habit?" April 2009]. That's simply not true. President Obama has designated the Alaska gas pipeline project as one of America's top five green energy projects, which would meet about 7 percent of U.S. natural gas needs for the next 25 years with this clean-burning fuel. The $30 billion project will employ tens of thousands of Americans in high-paying jobs, help resuscitate our domestic steel industry, and reduce America's dependence on uncertain imported gas and oil. Alaskans have developed cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technologies to deliver oil and gas to America for half a century. For example, using "directional drilling" from a single drill pad, we are tapping underground oil up to 8 miles away. The 420 miles of the above-ground portions of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline rest on refrigerated supports to protect the permafrost. The vast majority of the natural gas pipeline will be buried and the gas chilled to 32 degrees or colder to avoid disruption to the permafrost. Alaska's gas-line project is supported by environmentalists, consumer advocates, and our green energy president.
Mark Begich U. S. Senator, Alaska
The Negatives of Nuclear Power
The reports about pushing for new nuclear power plants here and abroad are discouraging to safe energy advocates ["Nuclear Power Without Much Fuss," April 2009]. I was the director of a radiation monitoring group near a now-defunct nuclear plant here in Maine for a quarter century, am a former state legislative member of the Utilities Committee and a retired public health professional. There is zilch reliable government or industrial tracking of health or immune system effects from allowable routine and accidental releases from nuclear plants. In Maine, we found clusters of cancer near Maine Yankee Atomic Power Plant. We were told releases were too small to be the cause. Is anyone out there old enough to remember Rachel Carson's warning about allowable use of DDT?
Maria Glen Holt Bath, ME