The American West at Risk: Science, Myths and Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery
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Today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.
- President Barack Obama, Prague, April 5, 2009

Throughout those forty years after World War II, environmental monitoring was carried out at Hanford in perhaps the most thorough and technically excellent example in the nation. Yet, this precedent-setting endeavor faltered by classifying most of the data it collected. Early Hanford chemists...felt they were on the cutting edge of science. How much sooner might the problems of airborne, river-borne, and groundwater discharges have been solved had these unique and talented environment-monitoring scientsts shared their data?
- Michele Gerber, On the Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site, 1997

The first nuclear explosion in history took place in New Mexico, at the Alamogordo Test Range, on the Jornada del Muerto (Journey of Death) desert, in the test named Trinity, July 16, 1945:
If the radiance of a thousand suns
were to burst at once into the sky,
that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...
I am become Death,
The shatterer of Worlds.

- The Bhagavad-Gita

Somewhere there are intelligent and highly skilled design engineers working the bugs out of ever more deadly weapons - lasers to blind armies, multiple multiple warheads, flames that stick to flesh and can't be extinguished, heat beams to fry the crews inside their tanks. And they pack up the printouts and turn off the computers and have a knock with the guys on the way home to the kiddies. Somebody has to do it. Right?
- John MacDonald, The Lonely Silver Rain, 1985

When the inhabitants of future millennia encounter the magniloquent signs of our atomic age, will their language still contain a word for irony? "This site will remain dangerous for 24,000 years: note on monument at the Gnome underground nuclear test site warning people for the next 10,000 years to not dig or drill."
- Alan Burdick, "The Last Cold-War Monument," Harpers Magazine, August 1992

Although the focus is reliability, RRW [Reliable Replacement Warhead] is also intended to create safer, more secure, and greener weapons.
- Eli Kintisch, Science, March 9, 2007

...[A]t the heart of the matter nuclear weapons are simply the enemy of humanity.
- General Lee Butler (USAF, retired) remarks to the Special Canadian Parliament Joint Senate-House Committee on Foreign Affairs, March 11, 1999

What I have come to believe is that the amassing of nuclear capability to the level of such grotesque excess as we witnessed between the United States and the Soviet Union over the period of the 50 years of the Cold War, was as much a product of fear, and ignorance and greed, and ego and power, and turf and dollars, as it was about the seemingly elegant theories of deterrence.
- General Lee Butler (USAF, retired) remarks to the Special Canadian Parliament Joint Senate-House Committee on Foreign Affairs, March 11, 1999

They told us it was low level and wouldn't harm us unless we held it in our hands or took a bite out of it.
- Jonathan Garcia, former Los Alamos National Laboratory Hot Dump operator, cancer victim (quoted by Alex Shoumatoff, Legends of the American Desert)

The Academy's efforts to advise the Atomic Energy Commission on disposal of radioactive waste materials reveals how difficult it is for the Academy to function as an effective critic of government.
- Philip M. Boffey, The Brain Bank of America - An Inquiry into the Politics of Science

We must always act out of love for the people and the land and not out of hatred...but jeez those bastards make it hard! I never imagined I'd be asked to face anything like this. We are so few and the nuclear weapons complex so nasty.
- Coila Ash, May, 2000

She murmurs in Navajo, describing the white man's prized uranium and how it destroyed her husband. They received $100,000 from the government, a check drawn to equal the life of Raymond Joe, who scraped radioactive rock from surrounding mountains to fuel the Cold War. It was never fought, but it killed Ray Joe just the same.
- Deborah Hastings, The Associated Press, July 30, 2000

[Project] Plowshare can help mankind reshape the earth into a Garden of Eden by overcoming the forces of nature.
- Glenn Seaborg, AEC Chairman, Man and Atom, 1971

...[A]nd these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange even to the men who used them.
- H.G. Wells, The World Set Free (1913)

In sum, the Atomic Energy Commission wasted billions of dollars on 'crackpot schemes', all for the purpose of proving that nuclear technology is beneficial and not in any way harmful.
- H.P. Metzger, The Atomic Establishment

The Plowshare Division may have been a complete failure, but one lasting result emerged from all these efforts: A powerful culture of denial sunk strong, deep roots into the heart of scientific and industrial America.
- Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly, March, 2000

The most long-lived program of public deception in U.S. history.
- Stewart Udall quoted by Garry Wills in A Necessary Evil, in reference to the testing of nuclear weapons and its effects on public health (p. 313)

No one disputes whether atomic radiation is harmful or harmless as they did in the fifties because atomic downwinders wrote the answer on their deathbeds.
- Chip Ward, Canaries On the Rim (1999)

Nuclear weapons are the scourge of the earth. To mine for them, manufacture them, and deploy them is a curse against God, the human family, and the earth itself.
- Philip Berrigan quoted in The Sun, "Acts of Faith", July 2003

In a very real sense, whenever weapons of mass death are unleashed, all humanity is downwind.
- Lewis M. Simons, "Weapons of Mass Destruction," National Geographic, Nov. 13, 2002, p. 34-35

One of the world's biggest arms manufacturers, British Aerospace, is investing heavily in eco-friendly weapons. Soldiers and civilians may now be blown up by a recyclable explosive, hit by a reduced-toxin rocket, or bombed by a fuel-efficient fighter jet. Biodegradable land mines and their victims both turn into compost over time. Quieter warheads reduce noise pollution, less smoky grenades reduce air pollution, and reduced-lead bullets, if left in the environment, do not cause any additional harm. Meanwhile, British troops will stay safe in their armored vehicles - hybrid, naturally. No company, regardless of what they make, can now just make a product, bung it out there, and then forget about it. We all have a duty of care to ensure that from cradle to grave products are being used appropriately and do not do lasting harm.
- Deborah Allen, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, British Aerospace, quote and commentary by Grist Magazine, 2006

A [nuclear weapon] stewardship program with no testing is a religious exercise, not science.
- Merri Wood, Los Alamos National Laboratory


The American West at Risk: Science, Myths and Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery

The American West At Risk summarizes the dominant human-generated environmental challenges in the 11 contiguous arid western United States - America's legendary, even mythical, frontier.

It now faces depletion of many of these resources, and potentially serious threats to its few "renewable" resources.

Purchase Here at Oxford Press



Dr. Howard G. Wilshire, Geologist; Dr. Jane E. Nielson, Geologist; Richard W. Hazlett, Geologist

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