Georgia editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Augusta Chronicle on two new nuclear reactors being built at Plant Vogtle:
How important are the two new nuclear reactors being built at nearby Plant Vogtle?
They’re watching closely from as far away as Massachusetts — as evidenced by the letter elsewhere on this page from two experts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including a professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
The delicate and crucial need for “reducing carbon emissions while serving electricity demand,” they write, requires a vital contribution from nuclear. The two experts urge that “the U.S. should preserve its current fleet of nuclear power plants and invest in new nuclear technologies, such as the AP1000 reactors under construction at the Vogtle site in Georgia.”
It is with that nudge of encouragement, and a sigh of relief, that we take note of the new reactors’ four partners reaffirming their commitment to the project and each other this past week.
Amid huge cost overruns and perhaps a little suspense, the four co-owners — Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities — announced in a joint statement that they’d agreed to “finalize and execute definitive agreements which helps mitigate financial exposure for each of them.”
The two new reactors at Vogtle, which would join two others already in operation, represent both a first and a last for the country: the first to be built in the U.S. in over 30 years, and the last new commercial nuclear plant under construction, after the abandonment of the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina last year.
With the V.C. Summer plant failure, the prospect of a ditched Vogtle project was daunting, both financially and psychically. In a letter to Vogtle owners just over a week ago, the U.S. Department of Energy said the project is “a linchpin in the all-of-the-above energy strategy required to sustain our nation’s economic strength and energy independence.” The department warned that if Vogtle reactors 3 and 4 were canceled, it would quickly call for repayment of almost $6 billion in federal government loans.
That will get your attention.
The project’s future also has the rapt attention of the state government.
“Given the project’s critical economic impact to the State of Georgia,” Gov. Nathan Deal wrote in a letter to one of the owners, “I strongly encourage (the project’s) co-owners to continue work and complete the construction. I am counting on the project co-owners to follow through on the commitments you made to the citizens of Georgia, ratepayers and myself.”
The project is also important to the Augusta-area economy: As the reactors’ owners say in their statement, this is “the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia, employing more than 7,000 workers from across the country, with more than 800 permanent jobs available once the units begin operating.”
Perhaps lost in all the challenges of getting this done, reportedly by November 2021 (Unit 3) and November 2022 (Unit 4), is the importance of the reactors to the region’s energy future. “The new units are expected to generate enough emission-free electricity to power approximately 500,000 homes and businesses,” the owners say.
And, as the MIT experts note, that’s good for the entire nation.
Valdosta Times on battling breast cancer:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
October reminds us of just how many women we know and love, those who are co-workers, neighbors, friends and family, who battle this disease.
Breast cancer pays no heed to socio-economics, race or age.
It can strike any woman, at any time.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month should not be viewed as a topic to be considered for a few weeks each year in the fall then ignored the remaining 11 months of each year.
As too many women and families know, as The Valdosta Daily Times has witnessed too often with stories about South Georgia women, breast cancer strikes women everyday throughout the year.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about raising awareness, raising funds, sharing information and needs.
But it’s not just about October.
It’s about reminding us that funds must be raised, precautions must be taken and the battle will continue being fought each and every day until there is a cure.
The Savannah Morning News on registering to vote in Georgia:
Voting is the cornerstone of American democracy.
If you plan to exercise that right in the Nov. 6 election, you must register to vote before the Oct. 9 deadline. ...
Whether you’re planning to vote early or you prefer to wait until election day, you can’t vote if you haven’t registered.
Registering to vote
To register to vote in Georgia, you have three options: visit registertovote.sos.ga.gov online, mail a completed copy of the National Voter Registration Form to your local election office, or stop by your county’s election office to register in person.
State law requires that you must be a U.S. citizen, a legal resident of Georgia (and of the county in which you wish to vote) and 18 years of age by election day in order to register to vote. You are not allowed to register to vote if you’re currently serving a convicted felony sentence or if you’ve been deemed mentally incompetent by the judicial system.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to show an ID in order to register to vote in Georgia. The current voter registration forms incorrectly read otherwise, an issue the Georgia Secretary of State’s office is working to fix. However, state officials have said they want to use up the current stock of forms, the ones that indicate would-be voters must present an ID in order to register.
Some have seized on the inconsistency between the voter registration forms and state law as a form of voter suppression. The validity of this argument is debatable, but it’s safe to assume the stock of erroneous forms will be in use for the next week.
With that in mind, new registrants need to know they don’t need to produce photo identification when they turn in their forms — and we encourage board of elections’ officials to spread that message loud and clear.
Voters do need to show their IDs when they go to the polls, however.
An important election
The Nov. 6 election promises to be an important one for Georgia — and possibly even a historic occasion. The Peach State’s gubernatorial race has already attracted national media attention due, in part, to the fact that Georgia has the potential to elect the nation’s first African-American female governor.
Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp have each been campaigning heavily across the state and running political ads and TV commercials to attempt to sway voters. In terms of their political platforms, as well as their leadership styles, the two gubernatorial candidates seem to have little in common.
However, each candidate has been successful in mobilizing his or her political base. The true measure of success will be revealed on election day.
Some political experts are predicting that young voters, disaffected Democrats and moderates, and African-American voters have the power to push Abrams to victory. Mobilizing voters in those demographics is a critical part of the Democratic election strategy in Georgia.
Regardless of the outcome, it’s time for our local electorate to be more engaged and to make their voices heard at the polls. The percentage of registered voters actually going to the polls has been remarkably low in recent years.
We can do better. We must do better.
So, get registered, head to the polls and make your voice heard in the November election. Our state’s future may depend upon it.