Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nuclear energy versus flood control - choose one

I spent most of this last week on my second trip to Washington DC on behalf of our local water district, trying to see if we can funding for flood control projects primarily, and secondarily for environmental restoration and dam safety.  I'm getting to the point now where I'm starting to understand what it is that I don't know, so maybe that's progress.

Comments I wrote about the previous trip still stand, especially regarding budgets.  Here's something new to me:  the implication of the fact that the Corps of Engineers flood control budget competes with the Department of Energy's nuclear power development program budget in a budgetary appropriations subcommittee.  DOE also supports nuclear weapons programs, but I'm not clear as to exactly where that money comes from.  As political actors starting from Obama and moving to his right support subsidies for nuclear power, that limits the amount of money we can get to support our flood control projects (which incidentally have a lot of good environmental aspects to them).  So far, it's not looking good for flood control.

In a rational world it's not clear why these two budget items would face off any more than any other two federal budget items, but that's not the hand we've been dealt.  More question in my mind then whether nuclear power deserves the vast level of subsidy it's been given.

In other news, more speculation about Santorum 2016, this time from an apparent Santorum skeptic who sez "I wouldn't put him among the top three contenders".  I suggested in the comments that we make it interesting with a nominal $50 bet over whether he fails to place third.  The apparent skeptic questioned whether he had made a prediction, so I guess I stand corrected.