The story of Boyd County, Nebraska and the fight between two multinational corporations over a low level nuclear waste dump is the focus of a new book published by an AMACOM division. Dr. Gregory Hayden, a former member of the committee responsible for siting the dump and a vocal opponent of the project, asked Susan Cragin to write the book when she was working as a story editor for a documentary film company.
Through the Central Compact, US Ecology, and Bechtel International, states offered $3 million a year for 40 years to locate a dump in Boyd County, a tiny, isolated county. Despite its idyllic appearance, the county was poor, so butte agreed to host the site, anticipating that it would generate jobs that would benefit a community where families often struggle to survive on farming alone.
Their plan was to transform farmland into a nuclear waste dump site, believing there would be no opposition. They couldn t have been more wrong. Despite a government attempt to buy off a small, seemingly forgotten town, the residents of this largely uneducated farming town chose to fight back, igniting a political powder keg that lasted nearly two decades in Nebraska.
Contaminating America s breadbasket would have been catastrophic if the dump had been located near the Ogallala aquifer, which covers portions of eight states and is the primary source of water for America s breadbasket.
This inspiring story shows the community’s evolution from a small farming community to a defiant environmental movement, from its first revolt to its hard-won victory. After a long and drawn-out battle, farmers prevailed over US Ecology engineers, and building permits were denied as a result of their environmental expertise.
A cast of many characters played a key part in the long fight, but chief among them: Phyllis Weakly, the chain-smoking �Momma Nuke� who put in 16-hour days in front of her computer–which only had In order to refute Bechtel’s highly-paid engineers, I searched with a slow dial-up modem; Paulette Blair, the fourth-grade teacher who painted caricatures on demonstrators’ signs and t-shirts (particularly with Kay Pinocchiorr Orr at the time), and Lowell Fisher, the rancher who participated in a hunger strike.
We begin to comprehend how one small group of forgotten Americans found the inner resources to stop a site which would cost them their livelihoods and their health by reading the incredible stories of these seemingly ordinary, but courageous people who were deceived by their own government. The film NUCLEAR NEBRASKA is both harrowing and inspiring at the same time.NUCLEAR NEBRASKA
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