Throwing out the baby with the (oily) bath water
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:05 AM
In the latest Fortune, Allan Sloan warns us to expect an overreaction to the big Gulf oil spill.
Yeah, I may sound a little over the top. But as someone who used to
write about regulated utilities for a living, I can't help but remember
the damage we did to ourselves as a nation because of the partial
meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear generating plant near
Harrisburg, Pa., in 1979. It was a terrifying incident, but it turned
out that there was only minimal damage to the environment and probably
none to the local citizenry -- other than scaring them half to death.
only economic damage of consequence was to the plant's owner, General
Public Utilities. But there was huge collateral damage to our country.
The environmental and regulatory fallout (pun intended) from TMI led us
to shun new nuclear plants for almost 30 years. Although some of the
nukes under construction at the time were completed, it wasn't until
2007 -- that's 28 years after the incident -- that we got our first
post-TMI application to build a new one. Meanwhile, we grew
increasingly dependent on coal, oil, and natural gas to generate
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