Feeling Depleted | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Feeling Depleted 

Try as they might, the radioactive waste debate goes on. Look what Utah's compassionate lawmakers have done. Plus, how Utah coal benefits Trump.

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Radioactive Lawmakers
Depleted uranium. Haven't we been through this before? The argument this time is different—if comical. The idea before the Legislature is to allow EnergySolutions to truck in DU, which it'll mix with other things. And, voila, it's not really DU anymore. Utah, the nation's dumping ground for nuclear waste, banned Class B and C radioactive wastes in 2005. You remember radioactivity—it lasts forever. DU is a little different, because while it's not Class B or C initially, it gets hotter as it gets older. "It'd be one thing if nuclear waste decayed as quickly as legislators' memories and intelligence, but this toxic waste will be dangerous for thousands of years," Jason Groenewold, formerly of HEAL Utah, tells City Weekly. Alan Matheson of the Department of Environmental Quality acknowledged that Utah loves business. But he worries about the long term. After millions of years, he told lawmakers, there's a slight chance that EnergySolutions might not be around. You won't be, either. DU will.

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Lege Knows Best
Some say we should all be celebrating because, gee, we have Medicaid expansion, even if it isn't what we wanted. And even if it will do virtually nothing. Meanwhile, the governor and his all-male band of sycophants got together for a fun signing of the law-formerly-known-as-Medicaid-expansion. "This bill balances Utah's sense of compassion and frugality," he tweeted. Minus the compassion part. Senate Bill 96 includes draconian work requirements and enrollment caps, and needs a federal waiver because otherwise it would be way too expensive. Legislators are so much smarter than the average citizen because they know that health care is an expensive proposition. They don't like the ACA, either. Just keep an eye out as former Sen. Orrin Hatch seeks $2 million in state funds for a center in his honor. It's not health care.

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For the Love of Coal
There are so many things that "President" Donald Trump loves, but coal might be the best. It was arguably the biggest boost to his campaign, giving him a hand up, and a hand out, to the White House. Trump railed against the Tennessee Valley Authority for shuttering two of its coal-fired plants, one supplied by a big donor. And now, the Department of Interior has announced an end to the "war on coal" with the approval of more coal-mining leases for companies operating in Utah, one just west of Bryce Canyon National Park, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The Daily Caller noted the approvals came within hours of the TVA announcement. So Utah's public lands will pay for Trump's loss back east.

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