Our current state senator, Al Melvin, has once again demonstrated how out of touch he is with the values of LD-26 voters.
His actions over the past two legislative sessions provide clear proof that he is determined to push his political agenda instead of looking out for Southern Arizona. A few examples:
Payday loans: Although 63 percent of LD-26 voters said "no" to allowing payday loan operators to continue doing business in Arizona, Melvin voted to allow them to stay in business.
Public education: By 2-to-1, voters in LD-26 voted to protect public education by passing Prop 100. In contrast Melvin voted 100 percent of the time against public education.
Now, he's promoting building numerous nuclear power plants in Arizona and – most alarmingly – turning Arizona into the world's nuclear waste dump.
In his op-ed (Arizona should consider atomic energy, The Explorer, June 9), Mr. Melvin manipulates the facts to support his push for Arizona to become a nuclear waste destination so we can become "very rich."
He states that nuclear energy costs 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to solar and wind (he lumps solar and wind together) at around 14 to 17 cents per kilowatt-hour.
What he doesn't tell you is that the stated 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour does not include capital costs (which make up 80 percent of the nuclear energy production cost) or costs of transmission.
The true cost of nuclear is about 25 cents per kilowatt-hour and is rising (due to materials and water costs). The price of solar is about 24 cents per kilowatt-hour and will continue to drop as research continues.
Studies have shown for every $1 million dollars invested solar will provide 13.5 jobs to the nuclear industry's 4.5 jobs.
Where to place this dangerous waste is not mentioned. (Perhaps Oracle State Park? He did vote to close it.) There is no discussion about the fact that all that this nuclear waste will be delivered by truck or rail. This fact raises critical public safety concerns.
His comparison about the "footprints" of solar versus nuclear is equally disingenuous. He refuses to acknowledge solar panels would not just be sitting in one large field; they would be placed throughout a community (top of homes and businesses, parking lots and infill areas). He states that Palo Verde's footprint is only 6.3 miles because he chooses to ignore the impact of mining uranium.
Like most Southern Arizonans I believe solar energy is a safer, cleaner, smarter alternative. The tremendous water requirements to manufacture nuclear energy convinces me that Arizona is not the place to build new nuclear power plants.
My opponent says Arizona has the "political will" to pursue nuclear power and waste. I have yet to meet one voter in LD-26 who is clamoring to bring nuclear waste to our beautiful state.
Once again, Mr. Melvin correlates "political will" with having enough votes in the legislature to push his agenda through — no matter what constituents value.
Cheryl Cage is a candidate for the Arizona State Senate from LD-26.