Baltimore native Cathy Garger says there's a good reason why she doesn't want nuclear power plants built in Oklahoma.
"Why don't I want you to have nuclear power in your state? Because we have it in mine," Garger said.
Garger is not a scientist, but is an activist, she said, campaigning against nuclear power, radiation and weaponry. She is also a columnist for the website Axis of Logic and a former member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth " a group that denies the events of Sept. 11, 2001, were the result of a terrorist attack.
Garger spoke to the Cimarron Group of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club Nov. 8 at the Bethany Public Library about the dangers of nuclear power.
The abundant use of water by nuclear power plants, storage of nuclear waste and the plants' radiological effects on the surrounding environment and organisms all make nuclear power unsafe, according to Garger.
Garger said she believes nuclear power plants are responsible for allowing radiation to escape outside of the reactors and facilities and into the environment, resulting in higher rates of cancer, birth defects and other severe ecological issues.
Nuclear power plants also harm water supplies and aquatic food chains because nearby lake or river water is used to cool nuclear reactors, then is dumped back into the water body, causing the overall water temperature to rise and form algal blooms. The algae, which Garger said are irradiated because of their exposure to the water, are eaten by other organisms and eventually contaminate fish and humans, Garger told the group.
"Quite a bit of that has to do with agricultural (run-off) and other industrial (pollution)," one audience member said.
"That's part of it, and also the other thing we're not being told is radioactivity does it," Garger answered. "It's something that no one is talking about: thermal discharge."
Garger encouraged the club members to fight against possible pushes for nuclear power in the state when the Legislature reconvenes, even if they were alone in doing so.
"It's really just us, because there's really no organization doing what needs to be done and there's certainly no agency doing that," Garger said. "Right now, you can get Oklahoma ready for the fight, because there's going to be a fight and they're going to keep pushing this year, next year."
Garger said opposition to nuclear power is a nonpartisan issue. "A lot of conservatives I know are very much into protecting families; they're very pro-life. Nuclear is not pro-life."
Garger said she believes nuclear plants are responsible for much of the destruction of life in the Chesapeake Bay because of radiation and warm water being dumped from nuclear plants into tributaries.
Carrie Dickerson, who helped muster a successful fight against the proposed Black Fox Nuclear Power Plant in Oklahoma, should be an inspiration for anyone hoping to keep nuclear power out of their area, Garger said.
"We need more Carrie Dickersons," Garger said. "Even if no one else is fighting nuclear power in your state and it's something you don't want, do it yourself. There will be someone who will toot your horn and get your message out. Sometimes it is the power of one." "Clifton Adcock
photo Cathy Garger, an anti-nuclear activist from Baltimore, discusses how the allowable tolerances for
background radiation levels in drinking water have risen. Photo/Mark Hancock