Obama’s Bridge To Nowhere

Bill Clinton used his “Bridge to the Future” to defeat Bob Dole 12 years ago. In this campaign we again hear about a bridge, this one to nowhere. The “Bridge to Nowhere” was originally a metaphor for Government waste. Why build a $400M bridge to connect 500 people to the mainland? Good question. That bridge was never built, but some of that money was used to build roads and other structures that were actually needed.

The “Bridge to Nowhere” has new meaning in this election. Candidates such as Obama are thinking of allowing some limited drilling for oil as a bridge to green energy. The idea here is that green energy will happen in 10 years because of some yet unknown and unknowable invention or discovery. We need the time and the oil, then, to get to this panacea. My view is that this is the real “Bridge to Nowhere.”

A serious analysis in Scientific American (i.e. the authors are seriously promoting their work) of how a solar-based power system for the U.S. might work shows that we would need to cover 165,000 square miles of the southwest with solar panels. I don’t know if this includes cloudy days. Just for reference, Arizona is 114,000 square miles. Implementing the system would require over 40 years and need technologies that currently do not exist. Obama is promoting this bridge to nowhere.

On the other hand, nuclear power plants that reprocess their fuel would yield more electrical power in a smaller space, and could be distributed over the whole country. By reprocessing fuel in place, there is no need to transport or store nuclear waste. Yucca mountain would be obsolete. McCain is promoting such power plants. They were banned in the Carter administration because of Carter’s 12 year old daughter’s fear of nuclear proliferation.

The Democratic party’s position on nuclear power is either uninformed or irrational. They are against all forms of nuclear power. Obama is talking out of both sides of his mouth regarding nuclear power, sometimes he seems to support it, other times he seems to be against it. Will Obama fight against his own party and lead us over the bridge to a nuclear powered future? I doubt. His bridge leads to nowhere.

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