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Short Term Thinking?Part 2

In the feverish drive for domestic energy, all energy sources are on the table. With renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, surging, and oil and gas continuing to be not only the primary source of energy, but also the prominent “evil-doer” in the energy industry, other sources have been able to slide under the radar of the public—for better or worse.

After the disaster in Fukushima, nuclear energy has been on the ropes, but it is not down for the count. Despite the limitations placed on the nuclear energy industry regarding building new power plants, uranium is still highly valued and highly sought after. Granted, the uranium mined may not be for solely energy purposes, but it is still being extracted a fairly quick pace.

In Wyoming, uranium mining is a perfect example of sacrificing the future for the present.Prospectors have made deals with farmers allowing them to tap into minerals, oil, and gas beneath their properties, which struggling farmers are eager to agree to in order to receive extra income.

Though the surface is dry on the majority of the lands prospectors are pursuing, underground, vast reservoirs hold billions of gallons of water suitable for drinking, according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Everyday though, injection wells pump hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic and radioactive waste from uranium mining into these underground aquifers.

The Safe Water Drinking Act forbids injecting industrial waste into or above drinking water aquifers, but the EPA issued what are called aquifer exemptions which gave mine operators permission to ignore the law. Over the last three decades, the agency has issued more than 1,500 such exemptions nationwide, allowing energy and mining companies to pollute portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers.

Sacrificing clean drinking water both in the present and the future, which many scholars believe will be the next resource wars and conflicts are fought over, for the short-term gains in domestic energy production, is a reckless policy which can only lead to problems.

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