Salt Lake Tribune editorial writer George Pyle has a good point, and it makes you want to run for your life. You don’t want to be too hard on EnergySolutions, and you don’t want to be too easy on them, either. That’s because if you make business difficult, EnergySolutions will go somewhere else to store its waste, abandoning its Clive repository and leaving the health and safety of Utahns at risk. Same if we make things too easy. EnergySolutions just booted its CEO for a presumably better profit-maker, which is exactly what the public company is all about—profits. Comments note that big banks aren’t the only ones holding us hostage. Nuclear waste hangs around a heck of a lot longer than bad debts. Nationalizing these efforts doesn’t seem to help, either. Both Italy and France still have to deal with public disdain for waste dumps.
While developers salivate over the prospects of 700 acres in Draper, a legislative committee is looking at compromise in attempts to relocate the Utah State Prison. Situated neatly at Point of the Mountain, the prison is arguably overcrowded yet convenient to state courts and medical facilities. No surprise that the move has been pushed by former Senate President and Uber-Realtor Al Mansell, but the committee isn’t buying his urgency message. They have until 2014 to make a recommendation, and they’ve just started looking at the idea of rebuilding on part of the Draper site, while opening some land there to development—and taxes for government coffers. Moving now makes little sense. Disputed studies say it would cost $461 million, while the land is worth only $93 million. And committee members like the idea of opening the process to more developers—not just Mansell.
Health care is a concept that seems to be a dirty word in Utah, where it’s often linked to the name “Obama.” Numbers crunchers now put the number of uninsured Utahns 49 percent higher that once thought—at 368,200. And that’s just the adults. The statistics also show more unhealthy habits, like smoking, drug use and fewer cancer screenings. In a laissez-faire state like Utah, the numbers could mean more deaths among the uninsured. Meanwhile, there’s another trend emerging. Families with autistic kids seem to be moving out of state, where health insurance can help them out. Utah insurers say that the jury’s out on whether certain therapies work, so, no, they won’t cover them. And Utah, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, has the highest rate of autism in the nation—1 in 47.