A New Manhattan Project

by Jack Bice | 6/21/01 5:00am

To the Editor:

A bit of history and a warning for my college-age grandchildren:

When I was a World War II veteran freshly returned from combat and attending college on the GI Bill, Harry Truman spoke of solar power, MIT was designing an experimental solar home, and Dwight Eisenhower warned against the military-industrial complex. Some of us foresaw a brighter future, and finally, Jimmy Carter fast-tracked development of alternative energy technology.

But Ronald Reagan killed it. The result? Preposterously, now, half-century later, our country and the world still languish in the grip of stupidity and oily greed as the Cheney-Bush energy proposals would perpetuate filthy, 19th century fossil fuels, dangerous nuclear power and unbridled corporate interests long into our 21st century.

Oil, natural gas and coal give us pollution and global warming. Nuclear holds eons-long vulnerability to terrorists, human error, natural disaster and meltdown. Yet, the Bush Administration ridicules not just conservation but cleaner resources such as close-source power grids from geothermal, wind, and roof-top solar; and they ignore hydrogen fusion, superconductors and fuel efficiency. Is it because all such technologies threaten the energy industry's worldwide lock on power and its fossil fuel economy?

We need a new Manhattan Project for clean energy independence; instead, with their greed, wanton members of my children's generation are finessing my grandchildren into grave danger.