Sunday, April 06, 2008

They're At It Again, Ma!

The Tri-City Herald published an editorial critical of what they perceived as the reluctance of Governor Gregoire in supporting the construction of an AREVA uranium enrichment plant in the state. Today they backtracked when they were told by the governor that the reported reluctance was simply not the case.

Our editorial Thursday morning said we wanted to hear from the governor regarding the future of Washington's nuclear industry.
It didn't take long.
Before lunch, Gov. Chris Gregoire called to let us know we'd gotten the wrong idea about her thoughts on a new uranium enrichment plant in Richland.
If we've been laboring under a misconception, we're happy to admit it.
She'd welcome the expansion of Areva's footprint in Washington, Gregoire said.
The international energy giant employs about 1,000 people in Washington. If Richland is selected for the uranium plant, the number would jump by about 400 more.
Yes, the governor mentioned to the head of Areva's U.S. division during a recent phone conversation that there'd be some regulatory hurdles to clear if Areva chooses Richland for the new plant.
But our editorial missed the mark when it described Gregoire's support as conditional, she said.
If her earlier remarks to the Herald about wastes from the plant sounded like she harbored concerns, they weren't meant that way.
Washingtonians need to hear that depleted uranium left over from the enrichment process will be handled properly if Richland is selected for the plant.
But Areva is a good corporate citizen of Washington, and Gregoire made clear she's confident the company will continue to act responsibly.
Gregoire added that her recent phone conversations with Michael McMurphy, president and CEO of Areva's U.S. operations, "couldn't have been more positive."
The Herald's editorial (which incidentally attributed the phone call to the wrong Areva official) was prompted partly out of our frustration with the governor's timing.
With 400 Tri-City jobs on the line, we'd have preferred to hear positive remarks a lot earlier in the process--the demands of the legislative session notwithstanding.
But that was then.
Gregoire's latest comments to the Herald make clear she takes a positive view of Richland's potential for a new plant, and conveyed her support for Areva.
It's good to hear it.

It's clear to me that there was some sloppy reporting here. The original editorial indicates that the writer had the old "West side hates nuclear" story line in mind when they wrote it. It's too bad the Herald wants us to give them a by on their sloppiness but not give the Governor a by on being buried in work with the legislative session. Gregoire has been a great governor and I don't think the people at the Herald can quite get their minds around that.

It's also noted that the retraction editorial above is not linked on the Herald website. Are they hoping the blogging world won't see it?

Contrary to the conventional wisdom that all things nuclear have little political support, both of the state's U.S. Senators, Cantwell and Murray, have expressed clear support for the AREVA plant. And now the governor has done the same.

So take that, my wee little Herald monkeys!

1 comment:

djysrv said...

The Herald's "retraction" did not show up in my Google alerts on the Areva plant, and Google has been very efficient about turning up all sorts of interesting stuff. The governor was still late to the table, compared to Idaho's response, and lecturing an Areva executive on waste issues can't have been the best possible strategy for making the case for Washington. It seems to me that Gregoire wants to have it both ways. Shore up the "green vote" in Seattle without annoying the building trade unions in Richland.

For detailed coverage in the blogsphere of the Areva deal, the following URL may be of interest.