Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

March 12, 2013
Reputation as world’s garbage dump rises

I feel betrayed by our Tooele County leaders. I don’t understand why garbage is so attractive to them. We have become the garbage dump of the world, and all in the name of economic development.

I accept the need for our DOD facilities — Deseret Chemical, Tooele Army Depot, Dugway Proving Ground — because of the need for such facilities during wartime. I am forced to accept the presence of the copper smelters and their associated facilities, simply because that is where the ore deposits are (even though during my youth I had to endure the effects of the smelter smoke). And maybe even the magnesium plant on the other side of the lake simply because that’s where the minerals are.

But why approve the establishment of a dump for the waste generated in another county? And why approve the establishment of a nuclear waste site for waste created in other areas of the nation and of the world? As Energy Solutions was lobbying for approval of hotter waste, I had to laugh at their attempts to pacify us by calling on nuclear experts who testified that this nuclear waste is safe if it is handled properly. Good grief! Load an A-bomb on a semi, drive it from one end of SR-36 to the other, and it will be safe, “if it is handled properly.” Give me a break!

And our county leaders didn’t stop with that. Then came more garbage with the creation of the new jail that was supposed to make money for the county. It didn’t, and we are left to pick up the bill, and our county reputation as the world’s garbage dump is once again strengthened. Now our leaders are lobbying for even more garbage: the new state penitentiary, with all its attendant concerns. Economic development. Jobs. Bah humbug. Why can’t they think of clean industries like Grantsville did with the Walmart Distribution Center? That seems to me to be real economic development, and not at the expense of our county population.

Furthermore, has our governor given any thought to the inconvenience of thousands of prison workers who would now have to travel many more miles to get to and from work? Or what about the hundreds of volunteers? Where will they come from if the prison is moved to the west desert? Will he provide transportation from Salt Lake valley, and at more cost to the taxpayers? Or will the workers be forced to move in order to preserve their jobs?

I don’t believe many of the volunteers will stay on the job if the prison is moved far away. But just think of the great benefit to that other county with the freeing up of hundreds of acres of land for economic development (Who cares about good old Tooele County, the garbage capitol of the world?).

Sadly, the old adage is once again proven: If you have enough money, you can buy anything this world has to offer, even if it involves depriving us the lifestyle that we “rural hicks” would like to enjoy, or the selling of one’s soul for a bowl of soup. It’s not often that I am glad to be 81 years old. It’s comforting to know that I don’t have to watch all this kind of economic development for many more years.

Dr. Clark is a retired chemical engineer who lives in Erda.

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