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Issue #62

Features:

O Buffalo: Why Move When we can Secede? - Al Uthman

Love or Four Hour Erections: The Choice is Clear - Matt Taibbi

The Falsification and Death Administration: FDA Approval may be Hazardous to your Health - Kit Smith

Meaning of Tripe: Countdown to the Beast's Ten Worst Presidential Election Campaign Hacks of 2004- Matt Taibbi

10 Ultra-Cynical Ways to Beat the Republicans

The Big Rig: This Election was Worse than 2000 - William Rivers Pitt

The Smoldering Fuel Rods of Environmental Justice - Chris Meister


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The BEAST Interview With God

Who Voted Bush? - A BEAST Quiz

A Word From Our Sponsors



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




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Movies:

Kino Korner

Music:

Beastivities

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Wide Right: O Captain my Captain - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

Beast Comix - Jim Gielow

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob The Angry Flower - Stephen Notley







Last Issue (#61)

Features:

Voting Guide of FEAR

Top 10 Reasons to be TERRIFIED This Halloween - Al Uthman

Onward Christian Assholes: Some Folks Just Can't Wait for the Apocalypse - Matt Taibbi

A Talk With Sam Hoyt - Eric Gauchat

Give 'em Enough Pink Ribbon to Hang Themselves: Breast Cancer? Chemical Firm Supplies Cause & Cure - Kit Smith


Faux-tures:

Our Election Campaign Sponsors

The BEAST Scary Election Fun Page!

Over 60 Million Killed in Huge Fucking Flu Epidemic - Josh Righter



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters




Entertainment:

Movies:

Kino Korner

Music:

Album Reviews: Interpol, Mos Def

Sports:

Wide Right: Going Double-Negative - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob The Angry Flower - Stephen Notley







Issue #60

Features:

Mayoral Survivor Contest: The BEAST Wants You to Run for Mayor!

Truth is Overrated: Why Does My TV Think Bush Won the Debate? - Al Uthman

Political Snickering: M&M/Mars' Campaign of Terror - Matt Taibbi

Big Brother Knows Best: Blockbuster Rents Bogus Fahrenheit 9/11 DVDs - Paco Alameda

Scary Little Man: Bush's Belligerence -William Rivers Pitt

Kneeling Before George: President Bush is a Serious Stud - Merry Dunce, the Beast's "Fresh Voice"

American Indian Museum Opens in DC, Promptly Stolen by American History Museum -Jake Novak

Reading the Blitz: Election Hacks Score Touchdown in Overtime Frenzy - Matt Taibbi

Freedumb: Zell Miller Echoes Militaristic Fallacy - Mark Golden




Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Notes from the Big House

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten

Brush with Greatness: I met Gretzky - Seamus Gallivan

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters




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2004 The Beast

The Smoldering Fuel Rods of Environmental Justice - by Chris Meister

Mercurial weather put an electricity in the late October air in West Valley last weekend. Or perhaps that electricity came from the blazing fires of dissent? A nuclear waste processing plant, AKA the West Valley Demonstration Project, was the arena for a pre-Halloween protest-fest that drew a whopping…20 people.

All right…evidently it was the weather putting that electricity into the air, or maybe the radiation was going to our heads. Either way, it was a rather dismal turnout for something as time-honored as a good ol' fashioned anti-nuke protest. Even the plant security guards could afford to be eerily pleasant. There were no bullets, batons or righteous indignation to be found there.

The West Valley Demonstration Project is not a nuclear power plant per se, but it served as a reprocessing facility for spent nuclear fuel and hazardous materials from across the state of New York and the country from 1966 until 1972. Under the jurisdiction of the Department of Energy, it demonstrates (hence the name "Demonstration Project") the possibility of waste vitrification-turning underground liquid waste, which is liable to leak into the surrounding water and soil, into much more manageable and mobile glass canisters, kept above ground and ready for transport to someone else's backyard. While the WVDP served as the setting for the protest, the process itself was by no means the object of outrage; in fact the facility has received accolades from the EPA for setting world records for methodical and financial efficiency.

Granted, given its emaciated condition under the Bush administration, getting a gold star from the EPA is kind of like getting a humanitarian award from Slobodan Milosevic. If vitrification, waste removal, and eventual dismantling of the plant goes as planned, there will still be some abnormally high radiation in the area. Leaks happen more than any facility would like to admit. But if for one second we were to step into Alternate Reality (you know, that place where the Great Pumpkin, Pauly Shore and fundamentalist Christians live), this place in West Valley would be a pretty decent facility, as nuclear waste sites go. Furthermore, WVDP hasn't accepted any waste in over 30 years. In the words of Ray Vaughn of the West Valley Coalition, the role of this facility is simply to "babysit" and reprocess the remaining waste until the feds come and remove it. Then the waste can go to another remote area for the government to ignore and the people to overlook.

So then what's the problem? Western New Yorkers are no strangers to being the proverbial state toilet. If the waste is being treated with a reasonable resemblance of competence, then why were there even 20 of us cranks out there bitching about it?

It's easy to let an unsightly waste dump in a remote area slip beneath the radar. After all, "out of sight, out of mind" seems to be the American environmental mantra. But that's exactly what the people of the West Valley Coalition want to prevent with their "Dig It Up!" campaign. Dig It Up! isn't railing against the plant itself, but merely demands that it finish the job it set out to do under the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's orders. It seems straightforward enough, doesn't it?

Well, here is the big whopper: the Department of Energy, in all its omniscience, wants to reclassify West Valley's remaining liquid waste from its current "high level" rating to a "low level" rating, making it sound more innocuous. Basically, if the DOE gets its way, that waste will sit there, as is, indefinitely. But federal reclassification won't change the dangerous nature of what lies beneath the Erie-Cattaraugus county line.

Another consideration is the geological makeup of the area. Much of Western New York is highly prone to erosion, which in turn makes conventional underground storage containers more prone to leaks, putting wonderful things like cesium, strontium, and everyone's favorite, plutonium, into our rivers and aquifers. By the way, most of the waste burial grounds are sitting right on top of a big-ass aquifer that provides the drinking water for Yorkshire, Arcade, Sardinia, Concord, Ellicottville, and Freedom, just to name a few (imagine the headline: "DOE Endangers Freedom"). The runoff also flows through the Cattaraugus Creek and into Lake Erie, Buffalo's already-toxic primary source of drinking water. Rock on.

Not only does this violate common sense, but it also violates a 1987 Nuclear Regulatory Commission stipulation that this is the responsibility of the Department of Energy, not that of the New York State government and its people. If the DOE walks away, it's highly, highly unlikely that New York state will step in to save the day. They can't even get a damn budget passed on time, let alone stop a meltdown.

Why would the DOE would walk away from a successful project? A couple of simple reasons:

  • Everything remotely connected with environmental protection has been gutted in the past four years. Hell, the EPA might as well just start doing the HAZMAT dumping itself. Part of the problem is that environmental and public safety costs are just so damn inconvenient to tabulate. In economics, incalculable costs are known as "externalities." In the military, it's "collateral damage." Either way, it's difficult to get governments to fight for something as intangible as air, water and public safety, regardless of how vital and unavoidable it is-especially when the regulatory bodies involved are staffed by industry insiders.
  • For those of you who live under a rock and/or in that Alternate Reality place where nuclear power is completely clean and safe, here's a news flash: NEW YORK IS BROKE. The geology of an area means nothing in the search for dumping grounds of any kind. An entity like the DOE sees very little threat coming from far-flung rural areas surrounding the Seneca Nation of Indians and a cash-strapped urban core. The sad truth is, it's the poor and desperate who get shat upon, in every situation, in every region of the world.


It's been a hell of a few weeks, hasn't it? For that reason, I offer you this one flicker of hope: all of that stuff about externalities and being poor and desperate becomes meaningless when you have a sufficiently informed and angry segment of the population. You started by reading this article-good job. Now go to the West Valley Coalition's website (http://www.concernedcitizens.homestead.com/maplink_WestValley.html) for a kick-ass account of what's going on. Then, go forth and be the smoldering fuel rod of environmental justice.


Or you could just save some glowing green West Valley water for next year's Halloween party. It's your choice.



 

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O Buffalo

Al Uthman

It's time to face some unpleasant facts, Buffalo. This country may not be the best place for us anymore. On November 2nd, we all bore witness to a terrible turning point in our history; a bad lifestyle choice, if you will. We had the chance to reject the increasing madness of our nation's leadership, their blind march to pointless war and craven desire to take advantage of us in every manner conceivable, and we blew it. America has spoken, and it said "duh."


Love or 4-Hour Erections

Matt Taibbi

...If history is any guide, the DLC will spend the next four years trying to find a pious bomb-thrower to put up as the nominee- unless, of course, the poll numbers in a few years' time show that Barack Obama is good-looking, black and charming enough to get the party over the hump using the same basic playbook that worked so swimmingly this time.


10 Ultra-cynical Ways to Beat the Republicans

Why did the Democrats lose? At least in part, it's because they thought that being right would actually work in their favor. Let's face it, logic doesn't mean squat in politics. People say there's too much cynicism in politics today, but we think there really isn't enough. Cynicism works. The Republican Party has embraced it, and it has worked wonders for them. The Democrats have made some progress in this area, but they are still lagging badly. If there's any hope for the blue states, they must learn the lessons of Machiavelli and Rove. To help them along, the BEAST offers these suggestions.


Buffalo in Briefs

Election Day Madness! - Oh you crazy Western New York voters! How long have your politicians, specifically the assholes in Albany, been screwing you to the wall? Forever! So what did you motivated citizens go and do on election day? You went and reelected 99% of them. ?


The Falsification & Death Administration

Kit Smith

The staff at the Food and Drug Administration may not actively hate you and want you to die, but a study of the agency's sordid history suggests that they don't really care if you live either. Lucky for us, drug companies are kind, conscientious, and self-regulating. For example, in late September Merck and Co, makers of Vioxx, agreed to voluntarily recall their famous drug, now that a new study suggests it may put people at increased risk for heart attack. Isn't that nice of them? How thoughtful…. Unless four years doesn't qualify as "new" to you.


The Meaning of Tripe

WELL, IT'S OVER. Last week we Americans celebrated one of our grandest traditions, the victory of Tweedledum over Tweedledee. The occasion was marked by awe and splendor on all sides, as befits a contest in which the leader of the free world is chosen in race to see which Ivy League graduate is quicker to reach for a duck call at the sight of a Reuters photographer.


The Smoldering Fuel Rods of Environmental Justice

Chris Meister

Mercurial weather put an electricity in the late October air in West Valley last weekend. Or perhaps that electricity came from the blazing fires of dissent? A nuclear waste processing plant, AKA the West Valley Demonstration Project, was the arena for a pre-Halloween protest-fest that drew a whopping…20 people.


The Big Rig

William Rivers Pitt

Everyone remembers Florida's 2000 election debacle, and all of the new terms it introduced to our political lexicon: Hanging chads, dimpled chads, pregnant chads, overvotes, undervotes, Sore Losermans, Jews for Buchanan and so forth. It took several weeks, battalions of lawyers and a questionable decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to show the nation and the world how messy democracy can be. By any standard, what happened in Florida during the 2000 Presidential election was a disaster.


The BEAST Interview With God

Feeling dejected and withdrawn over the stupidity of our fellow countrymen in reelecting George W. Bush, our thoughts turned first to suicide, then alcohol. Once we calmed down and sobered up a bit, we had no choice but to go to the source to ask the tough questions about the election, the future of our country and the world.


Kino Korner

Michael Gildea

The funniest part of some movies is that after they show you the preview for that particular movie, they expect you to go out of the way by spending your money and seeing it. You know exactly what you're getting into with Alfie; you're given ample warning. But you can't really escape it.


BEAST-O-SCOPES

I think I get it now, Aries; your lack of visibility during the weeks leading up to November 2nd was part of a master plan to run for President in 2008. Pretty seedy stuff, but I have to admit it's a good plan; four more years of these dicks and we'd vote for an egg salad sandwich to get them out.


[sic] - Letters

Operation Mayflower

...Perhaps we should consider the possibility that the wonderful, unique experiment of the United States of America has come to and end. It had a magnificent run, and sent shockwaves of thought and change through the globe, for good and/or ill, but like all good thing, it reached its term. Maybe the US has become as cynical and ossified as the old Soviet Union. More cheerful and comfortable, yes, and with its aggression focused outward instead of inside, but just as hopeless. Not to mention the added insult that the Russian people knew they were being fed bullshit on an hourly basis by their government. The soviet press was quite aware that they were printing lies and ridiculous propaganda. I wish I could say the same about the United States....



The BEAST's Voting Guide of FEAR

We're looking forward to this election like we'd look forward to a hemorrhoidectomy. That's because George Bush is probably going to win. He's either going to win outright and Kerry will humbly concede, or he's going to rig or steal it in a squeaker, resulting in Kerry and the Democrats putting up a meek fight before humbly conceding. The electorate, at least those that were so passionate about anybody-but-Bush, will cry, whine a lot, accept it, lick their wounds and crawl back into their cubicles of prefabricated contentment, preferring to get an early start on their Christmas shopping.


Top 10 Reasons to be TERRIFIED This Halloween

Al Uthman

1. The Supreme Court. Not only could this body again determine the outcome of this election by a widely scorned 5-4 vote based on indefensible logic, but if Bush stays in power he'll get the chance to ensure a religious right majority for decades-say goodbye to Roe v Wade. Chief Justice Rehnquist is about to go down, and if Kerry wins, that means a chance to tip the scales in favor of reason.


Onward Christian Assholes Matt Taibbi

Nothing brings out the inner Mazes and Monsters fanatic in the fundamentalist Christian like a war. Times of peace and prosperity are, for the deep believer, relative fallow periods, where all the drama of existence is confined to shouting matches at P.T.A. meetings and pseudonymous requests for sexual advice in whispered late-night phone calls to Dr. Laura.


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