THE LONGEST WALK
The Democrats' Dirty Secret: Presidential Candidates Backed by Nuclear Powerhouses
Posted February 27, 2008.
A hidden conflict over nuclear issues is simmering, pitting Obama and Clinton against many indigenous communities.
THE DEMOCRATS' DIRTY SECRET
The nuclear industry has helped bankroll the presidential campaigns of both Senators Obama and Clinton. Executives and employees of the Illinois-based Exelon have given Obama at least $221,517 -- making Exelon Obama's eighth largest contributor. Obama's chief political strategist, David Axelrod, has also served as a consultant to Exelon.
NRG Energy is betting on Clinton. In September, NRG filed an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to open the first U.S. nuclear plan in more than 30 years. NRG Energy has given Clinton nearly $80,000 in campaign contributions. The company's president and CEO, David Crane, is a "Hillraiser" -- a Clinton backer who has raised at least $100,000. NRG Energy has also given $175 million to The Clinton Global Initiative run by former President Bill Clinton...
As with people in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, Dine and Hopi communities in the Four Corner region (Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico) have suffered greatly from environmental contamination and widespread illness. These areas were deemed "National Sacrifice Areas" by the U.S. government -- lands determined "uninhabitable" due to the planned depletion of water resources by industry and widespread radioactive contamination.
The New York Times recently noted that in the case of New Mexico, where the nuclear power industry is seeking to restart uranium mining near a Dine (Navajo) reservation, "mining companies walked away from their cleanup responsibilities" of a thousand open mines after the Cold War ended. The Times stated "among the horrors" that resulted were "shifting mountains of uranium tailings; open mines leaching contaminated rain into drinking water tables; wind-blown radioactive dust; home construction from uranium mine slabs; and even the grim spectacle of children playing in radioactive swimming holes and ground pits."