Home Opinion Dear Editor Holtec project poses risk for dairy

Holtec project poses risk for dairy

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The New Mexico dairy industry has a total economic impact exceeding $5 billion annually, second only to oil and gas revenues in economic impact to our state. The dairy industry currently provides employment for nearly 6,000 people directly, and over 17,000 jobs are generated indirectly when dairies hire businesses and contractors for getting fresh milk from the farm to the processor.

Most of the milk produced in New Mexico is delivered to two large cheese plants, Leprino Foods in Roswell and Southwest Cheese in Clovis.

Both these businesses employ hundreds of local people. Semi-trucks are generally used to haul raw milk from the dairy farms to these processing plants.

A large percentage of dairy feeds are either brought in on rail or trucked into the area on semis, utilizing the same transportation routes being proposed for the movement of nuclear fuel rods to the proposed storage facility near Carlsbad. Dairy feed commodities will be moved from farms throughout the Midwest, and most of the hay fed to local dairy cattle will be produced on irrigated farmland in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Arizona or Kansas.

Business owners will tell you allowances must be made to anticipate the unexpected by acknowledging the existence of “Murphy’s Law” — anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

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“Murphy” was in action the day synthetic kitty litter was substituted for clay at the WIPP site. The odds of a significant human error taking place at the proposed storage facility over the next 100 years or so would seem astronomical based upon the past performance of the nuclear industry. The generation of all of this waste with no solid plan in place for ultimately dealing with it is the hallmark of an industry that has never really been held accountable for actions or inactions that greatly harmed others.

A contamination event that released radionuclides onto our railways, highways, towns or farmlands, or into our stored commodities, irrigation water, drinking water, or into the air that we and our animals breathe could cause serious disruption of our ability to market highly perishable dairy products. An entire local industry could be destroyed in the midst of widespread consumer panic that would most certainly follow such an accident.

All these things being considered, this project poses disproportionate long-term risk with minimal, if any, benefit for the people living here, raising families here and trying to make an honest living here.

Allen G. Squire, DVM
Dairy owner and operator

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