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Commentary: Trump’s environment

Commentary: Trump’s environment
December 07
10:07 2018

By Marshall May

Have you ever had the experience when walking down some desolate road in the hot summer sun or abstaining from water for some hour or two? Suddenly your greatest desire is to feel a cool stream of liquid, more precious than gold, flowing past your cracked lips, parched mouth, and into your dehydrated body. Maybe you have been greatly alarmed at the prospect of subsisting without water for the rest of the day. If you have had these experiences, you know that clean water is more precious to you at these times than any amount of money. 

What would it matter to a man or woman if he or she gained all the comforts in this world, if he or she had no clean water to drink? Life is unsustainable without clean water. It is my guess that persons afflicted with this one disaster – the loss of clean water – would give up all they once thought most necessary for life, only to secure a dependable, constant supply of water. It is more precious than gold. The rich can’t obtain it once it is gone, no matter how much they are willing to spend.

Mining operations and powerful plants that burn coal can affect our water supply, including rivers and lakes.  After coal is removed from the ground and burned, coal ash remains. This coal ash is dumped into ponds. It can leak and contaminate drinking water. All coal ash contains concentrated amounts of toxic elements. In President Trump’s State of the Union address he claimed that America had ended “the war on beautiful clean coal.” Coal is neither beautiful nor clean.

The safety of nuclear power plants has been called into question following the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami that occurred on March 11, 2011. The natural disasters caused nuclear meltdowns and the release of radioactive materials at the Fukushima Daiicchi Nuclear Power Plant. This may have been a wake-up call to all who felt complacency concerning nuclear power. Nearly 184 million Americans are within 50 miles of a nuclear plant.  A leak could contaminate major waterways.

America should be moving toward renewable energy. Coal is definitely not renewable. Nuclear energy is not renewable, despite the arguments of many. Nuclear energy depends on uranium to provide fuel for nuclear fusion.  Uranium deposits are finite. Solar power and wind power are forms of renewable energy.

It doesn’t appear that the Trump Administration is taking renewable energy seriously. The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy was given $2.04 billion for the past fiscal year. President Donald Trump does not take credit for last year’s spending. For fiscal year 2019, the Trump administration proposed cutting spending to $661 million.

The environment is a serious issue. I desire a planet that can sustain life. Life cannot be sustained if the water we depend on is poisoned. I don’t want to abandon the coming generations to life on a little blue planet where their whole lives are spent struggling to subsist in “sh*thole” conditions.

Marshall A. Mays is a writer and a lifelong resident of Winston-Salem. He has been studying President Donald Trump’s environmental policy for the last two years. 

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