Pointy-headed scientists make life in these United States way too complicated.
They always want to study a problem to death and, once they have reached a consensus on how to fix it, they want to spend tons of money on a cure. We need to simplify the process with less scientific study and more gut-inspired action.
Take the issue of nuclear waste disposal. The U.S. has struggled for decades trying to clean up high-level radioactive waste. There has been a lot of heartburn about removing high-level waste from the Idaho National Laboratory, as well as from the Hanford Reservation in Washington and Savannah River in South Carolina. The cost of cleaning up the waste is astronomical and finding a place to dispose of it is perplexing.
The U.S. Department of Energy under the stewardship of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has cut through all of the red tape and figured out a simple solution--just change the classification of the waste from high-level to low-level. Why didn’t we think of that long ago? Those of you who poked fun at Perry for not being able to name the Energy Department as one of the three agencies he proposed to eliminate during the 2016 presidential primaries should be eating a little crow, thanks to this stroke of genius.
Lowering the classification of the waste will save $40 billion in cleanup costs and allow the reclassified waste to be disposed of in low-level facilities in Utah or Texas. Problem solved with the stroke of a pen!
And, how about reducing the number of deaths from the fine particulate pollution produced by burning fossil fuels? When the Environmental Protection Agency proposed to eliminate the strict air pollution rule in the Clean Power Plan, its scientific staff estimated the roll-back would result in an added 1,400 premature deaths in the U.S. each year.
Agency leadership has just announced a simple solution to the dilemma -- simply change the methodology for calculating the number of deaths that will be caused by the rule change. Now we can have more air pollution and fewer deaths at the same time. Problem solved by a simple calculation change!
Climate scientists are continually warning of the existential danger facing the Earth from climate change. They point to the record-breaking weather disasters occurring around the globe and claim they will intensify if earthlings do not take drastic action to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. They say the danger will increase dramatically in the second half of this century.
The administration has settled upon a simple fix to the problem. Rather than projecting the effects of climate change to the end of the century, as we currently do, just cut the projections off at the year 2040. That provides a less dire picture since the greatest effects of climate change will occur after that time. And it eliminates the need to take effective action now to save the planet from turning into an uninhabitable hothouse for our children and their offspring. Another problem solved by the mere stroke of a pen!
Why spend the time it takes to carefully study a complex problem and develop a scientific consensus as to how to solve it, when most problems can be easily resolved by a simple gut check and change of nomenclature? We don’t need to follow the urgent warnings of 97% of the climate experts about the growing danger of climate change when we can simply step outside on a cold day and announce “problem solved.”
Jim Jones is a former Idaho Supreme Court chief justice and a former Idaho attorney general. His previous columns can be found athttps://JJCommonTater.com.