Opening yesterday’s Albuquerque Journal, I was heartened to see this opinion piece from New Mexico State Senator David Ulibarri. In his article, Ulibarri cites the possibility that “if uranium mining resumes in New Mexico, we would be looking at the creation of about 20,000 jobs with a projected economic impact of $26 billion dollars over a 30-year period.”
For starters, it is good to see a Democrat out there promoting economic development in New Mexico. It would be great if Governor Richardson and political leaders of both parties embrace uranium mining as a way to generate jobs and economic prosperity in New Mexico.
And yes, environmentalists should support this as well. For starters, nuclear energy is carbon neutral and unlike wind and solar is a consistent, proven source of energy. Also, while many of the problems that have given uranium mining a bad reputation occurred when the federal government and military controlled mining operations. There was also an issue of ignorance of the pollution problem. Today, as Ulibarri points out, the private entities engaged in uranium mining are very safe.
Some of this requires national buy-in to nuclear power, but if that happens, New Mexico, if the right decisions are made, could be in a position to prosper.