Women. Power. Peace.

Courtney Hanson: If the Lord’s Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise

Ft. Calhoun under flood waters. AP Photo

There’s a saying here in the south (everything will be okay if) “If the Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise.” As an ex-pat from the Nebraska, this was a new phrase for me. The only flooding we ever had to worry about was from underground sprinkler systems gone awry as they desperately worked to keep our lawn greener than the neighbors’ in the dry prairie climate.

Now it seems folks in my home state could be adopting this same mantra as the flooding of the Missouri River continues to threaten nuclear stations Ft. Calhoun,  20 miles from Omaha, the state’s largest city, and Cooper Station, near Brownville.

Rumors of a White House ordered news blackout imposed on the area to impede the spread of mass hysteria have been reported as untrue. Investors tout nuclear power as ‘clean and safe’, and officials continue claim the public is not in danger. But it seems that hysteria might be just what’s in order, that public safety might really only be feasible if ..the Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise.

The water level at Cooper Station is sinking, but last week it was up to 900.6 feet. Authorities say they will be forced to shut down the plant (and likely face major safety issues) if the water level rises to 902 feet. So perhaps officials really mean the public is safe as long as….the Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise.

The station relies on gauges to monitor the water level, but the Lincoln Journal Star reported that a malfunction on a gauge at Cooper Station caused ‘bad data’ on the river level. Safety precautions are great if we know when we need to implement them. But it seems in this case, for residents living near Cooper Station, the best hope for keeping their homes uncontaminated is not in human-operated technology, it’s simplify if..the Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise.

But is the Lord willin’?  The AP reports that 48 (about 2/3) of nuclear plants in the U.S. have or are currently leaking radioactive tritium into the water. Yes, this DOES threaten groundwater—the water we all drink. Cooper station was one of those. It has also been found to have leaked toxic Cesium.

If now’s not the time to take it out of the Lord’s hands and into our own, then when? The creek's risin'.

Courtney Hanson is Public Outreach and Communications Coordinator at Georgia WAND. She is an Atlanta activist and writer. Prior to moving to the south, she worked as a journalist in Chicago, covering education, personalities, community events, women’s issues, homelessness and poverty.


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