09 November 2013


The Great Lakes are home to the largest body of fresh water in the world. It has been said that if you stood on the moon, you would instantly recognize the enormity of the Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie. Covering more than 94,000 square miles, these “freshwater seas” hold “an estimated 6 quadrillion gallons of water, or about one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water supply,” according to the Great Lakes Information Center. In the U.S. alone, these magnificent lakes account for about nine-tenths of the U.S. supply of fresh surface water.

So the idea that yet another nuclear power plant could surface on Lake Erie — there are already three — should scare the daylights out of everyone. Both the Davis-Besse and Perry Nuclear Power Plants are located adjacent to Lake Erie, and in Michigan, the Fermi II plant is located next to Lake Erie near the city of Monroe.

There have already been two near catastrophes at Davis-Besse. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the plant was responsible for “two of the top five most dangerous nuclear incidents in the United States” since 1979.

So when people say, “not in my backyard” to wind turbines on Lake Erie, have they considered that just one catastrophe on Lake Erie could decimate up to one-fifth of the world’s fresh water supply?

I sure have.

If your ‘backyard’ is Lake Erie — everyone should embrace the future — now. We should do it before Ontario puts a fourth nuclear power plant on the shores of this — the most shallow of all of the Great Lakes. Estimates from a 2004 Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) report states that 12,000 wind-industry jobs could be created in Ohio, a region decimated by the loss of manufacturing jobs. That is second only to California.

For once, we should follow the lead of the innovative visionaries in Holland who have not only embraced wind farms, but dozens of other innovative environmental solutions. 

We need to take the leap — and accelerate the development of renewable energy on the shores of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes as a whole.

In Ohio, Michigan, and the Midwest, millions are out of work. The fear of losing it all is beginning to hit home. In that context, this NIMBY—not-in-my-backyard mentality over wind turbines just doesn’t work anymore —especially with a fourth nuclear power plant on Lake Erie's horizon.

People need jobs. We need power. The future of power generation in the Midwest is there for the taking. We can shift to wind power and push the nuclear threat away from the shores of our Great Lakes.

It is irresponsible to not act.

PHOTO CREDIT: dani_boi1221