Our governor is a coward

By Nicholas Pappas

First, congratulations. Thousands stood up and tore down Divine Strake. If you’ve never heard of Divine Strake, I’ll sum it up for you. It’s a toy for big boys to play with, like an M-80, except roughly a million times bigger. Oh, and it also causes cancer. The government would like to tell you it was risk-free, but it’s been wrong before. Ask the downwinders who received radiation badges and lower life expectancies in the ’50s. It’s a good feeling knowing common men and women can still raise their voices and make a difference.

Second, you win some and you lose some. On Feb. 27, while students at the U enjoyed a day off, so did Gov. Jon Huntsman. Given the option to either veto or sign Senate Bill 155, Huntsman chose to whistle, turn his head and slide it down the line.

SB 155 restores an exemption for EnergySolutions, allowing it to avoid asking the governor or Legislature for permission to pile waste higher on sections of its square-mile landfill. Gov. Huntsman called it a “technical clarification.” I understand. It seems like a lot of busy work to ask those who represent us their opinions on the matter.

Protesters voiced their concerns. Picket lines formed at the new EnergySolutions Arena and more than a thousand calls were made. But it wasn’t enough. Our legislators formed a simple math equation: 1,000 calls < $189,020 in political donations. That doesn't even include the Jazz tickets.

Gov. Huntsman is a coward. He stated clearly when he was elected that he would never allow a bill to pass without a signature or veto. So much for conviction. By taking away the right to intercede, he has weakened his ability and the ability of governors down the line to do anything about EnergySolutions in the future. Since 1988, regulators have amended the company’s license to take more and different kinds of waste 80 times. When will it end? As hotter waste is transported, it only increases the possibility of accidents occurring during transport.

Of greater immediate concern is Gov. Huntsman’s apathy and lies. He has already begun a PR campaign, proclaiming, “I take very seriously my responsibility to ensure that our state will not become the dumping ground of other states’ nuclear waste. I remain committed to fighting increased volumes of waste.” Perhaps a more important statement would have been vetoing the bill, but I wasn’t elected governor–nor given contributions for future campaigns.

I think we could all learn a valuable lesson from our governor. If you hate your job, instead of working hard or quitting, clock in and do nothing. If your baby begins crying in a movie theater, instead of taking the baby out or letting it continue, just move a few rows away and pretend it’s not yours. If you don’t agree with every aspect of your religion, instead of being completely faithful or agnostic, go to church on Sundays, Wendover on Fridays and watch R-rated movies with the naughty words edited out.

Gov. Jon Huntsman had the opportunity to take a stand. He did nothing.

Thanks for nothing, Governor.