Everyone was probably as underwhelmed as I was to see the story the other day in which the "Southern Alliance for Clean Energy" voiced its opposition to the proposed expansion of Plant Vogtle.
This Atlanta environmental group says it's alarmed because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission failed to take the nuclear plant's impact on the Savannah River into account when it approved a draft Environmental Impact Statement supporting the project.
C'mon; let's be honest. Environmentalists are going to oppose the Vogtle expansion no matter what. Does anyone really believe these Atlanta folks are worried about the nuclear power plant's impact on the Savannah River?
They don't like nuke plants. Just say so and quit hiding behind phony concerns, like water.
Besides: It boggles my mind that, in this modern era, greenies would continue to blindly oppose the cleanest, safest, most efficient form of electricity generation.
Oh, sure, we all would love to skip through the daisies and bat our eyelashes over things like solar and wind power. But those noble concepts just can't remotely meet our current and future energy needs.
If I could wave a magic wand, we'd build nuclear plants while shutting down coal plants, and use the extra energy to power plug-in hybrid automobiles that can be built using current (no pun intended) technology.
Every nuke-fired electric mile would be one more buck out of the pockets of petro-terrorists, and one more dollar in our pockets.
I'm sure some of those dollars would even make their way to environmental organizations, including those cute '60s throwbacks who still find it fashionable to reflexively oppose nuclear power. If it'll make them feel better, they can spend their gas savings on a solar panel for their house.
Speaking of electricity, a ruling the other day on a Public Service Commission case potentially has direct impact on Columbia County - especially if the now-semi-comatose idea of consolidation awakens again.
If you recall, one of the touted advantages of consolidation was that, by incorporating as a city, Columbia County could collect franchise fees.
In simple terms, those fees currently are paid by every utility customer. But the utilities then give the money only to cities - not to counties. That unfair advantage makes incorporation somewhat attractive.
Pushed by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, and under protest from the Georgia Municipal Association, the PSC decided in 2006 that, starting next year, Georgia Power will gradually collect half of its franchise fees only from city customers, with the other half spread out among all non-city residents.
It isn't much money per person; city residents eventually will see their rates rise less than a dollar a month, with county residents getting the benefit.
Naturally, some of Georgia's cities sued over the potential dent in their gravy train. It all ended just a few weeks ago with a superior court ruling in favor of the PSC change.
In 2008, then, the "advantage" of incorporation will start to fade. It was never a very good sales pitch to start with, and now it's pretty much gone.
Something else that's gone, but not forgotten, is the old Leah High School. Gary and Nancy Blanchard, former students of the school, are seeking artifacts from Leah High as part of a future historical exhibit.
If you have anything at all from the old school - artifacts, photos, documents - give them a call at (706) 541-0043.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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