By Russ White (Michigan)
November 18, 2010

Christine Todd Whitman is the former Governor of New Jersey, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Co-Chair of the of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, a national grassroots coalition which supports increased use of nuclear energy as an environmentally safe, affordable and reliable source of electricity.

Gov. Whitman spoke to the Lansing Economic Club on November 16 about future realities of nuclear energy in America and about CASEnergy’s “Policy Roadmap for Clean Energy” — a four-point guide to put the U.S. on a viable path towards realizing its clean energy future.

She sees nuclear energy expansion as critical to America’s energy future.

“We’re looking at a 28 percent in electricity demand by 2035,” says Whitman. “That sounds like a long way off, but it’s tomorrow as far as utilities are concerned in making their decisions on where to invest in capital costs.

“We need to do more in conservation; clearly we can do better with our green energy sources, and nuclear is one of those green energy sources.”

“Nuclear energy is the only form of base power – the 24/7 power – that emits no greenhouse gases or other regulated pollutants while it’s producing power.

Whitman says nuclear is 20 percent of our nation’s power today and over 70 percent of our clean energy.

“So as we look to our energy future and this increasing demand, we know that while we can and must do better with our clean energy sources like wind and solar, nuclear is a form of power that is very affordable, clean and safe.”

Whitman adds that nuclear and other clean energies are crucial factors in America’s economic future.

“If we’re going to have economic growth, we’re going to have to have stable, reliable and affordable power; that’s a given.

There’s been some talk in Washington about doing away with the Environmental Protection Agency. Whitman believes that idea is very short-sighted.

“The agency was created under President Nixon in 1970 because we had rivers that were spontaneously combusting because of the stuff we’d been dumping in them, and we had people ending up in the hospital emergency room on a regular basis in the summer due to bad air quality. As much as we like to think people do the right thing automatically, there are some who don’t.

“We’re the only developed country in the world that does not treat the environment as a Cabinet-level position. People can’t live and thrive if they don’t have clean air to breathe, fresh and clean water to drink, and a quality of life that includes some open space.