Do more to deal with nuclear waste

February 17, 2019

Although I applaud the efforts of Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, to create an advisory task force via Senate Bill 54 to evaluate nuclear waste storage proposals (such as Holtec’s), it provides no authority to deny a license or impose conditions on facility operation.

To deal with a future Waste Isolation Pilot Plant-like event and other issues associated with such storage facilities, we need legislation that requires the federal government to indemnify the state against: the cost of moving or repackaging waste stored in any temporary storage facility if a permanent storage facility isn’t available when needed; the cost of cleanup and remediation of a radioactive waste leak from any transport or storage cask; and any costs that a private entity responsible for such a facility cannot cover due to failure on their part or bankruptcy.

Finally, to cover ongoing oversight costs, the legislation also should impose an appropriate annual royalty charge.

Ed Birnbaum

Los Alamos

More technology?

I didn’t enjoy marking “no” on the recent mail-in ballot asking for money for more technology at our public schools (School tax vote will be first local election by mail,” Jan. 28). I usually support any attempt to raise money for our beleaguered system. But I am not certain that more reliance on technology — from take-home laptops for all students to coaches in all kinds of electronic know-how — is really in the best interest of young people. We are seeing more and more evidence of the harm done by excessive hours spent on screens, especially in the case of boys, for whom “educational” uses like those proposed might easily lead to more absorption in video games. We are past the time when “technology” promised to cure all the ills students are prone to: shortened attention spans, difficulty in learning to read, unruly behavior and so on.

Sallie Bingham

Santa Fe

Only the dying

Aid in dying is not suicide. Terminally ill people want to live, would prefer to live, but they have no choice. Healing options are over; they are going to die.

Perhaps Dr. Anthony Vigil (“State should oppose assisted suicide,” My View, Feb. 3) needs to spend more time with the terminally ill to understand their perspective, what their lives have become. Opioids have limitations, and there are more often than not complications to the body and mind that cause even more distress to an already suffering body. Doctors should be more than just healers in the sense of making a patient well again. No one lives forever; that is a certainty. When it comes to the end of one’s life, only the dying person should have the right to determine how that will be. My hope is that the New Mexico Legislature will allow that right to become law and pass House Bill 90, the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act.

Leah Popp


Behaving like puppets

I totally agree that it is difficult these days to be a Republican in New Mexico (“ ‘It’s frustrating being a Republican this year,’ ” Feb. 10). I have called and emailed my Democratic representatives numerous times on different issues, and it seems that no matter what we say, the results are always along party lines. They just don’t listen to views that are not on their agenda. House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, knows darn well that Republicans in the Legislature are not treated as equals. Democrats in the state Legislature are exactly like those in the U.S. Congress. Puppets!

L.P. Perez

Santa Fe