California candidate Jonathan Jaech pledges Fukushima action

Jonathan Jaech is running for Attorney General in the California primary election June 3.

He pledges specific action on the Fukushima crisis as part of his platform. His knowledge of this serious situation and the breadth of action he wants to take on this and other issues is refreshing.

This is his statement on Fukushima.

 Jonathan Jaech on Fukushima

As a large landowner and recipient of property taxes from all private land holders in the State, the State of California has legitimate interests in the protection of its property interests. When those property interests come under assault by parties outside of the State through environmental pollution, it should act to protect its property interests.

One such large-scale environmental attack is currently going on, and the present Attorney General has shown too little interest in investigating the damage or mitigating its effects. The meltdown, explosions and continuing releases of radioactive Strontium and Cesium from the Fukushima facility into the Pacific Ocean pose a very serious health and environmental risk to California property and residents. Both Strontium 90 and Cesium 137, with half-lives of about 30 years, were released to the ocean in large quantities, and some release may be ongoing still. These radioactive materials are arriving in California coastal waters by action of the Japanese current, and will accumulate here for many years to come. Bioaccumulation of radioactive materials in marine animals and residents may cause illness and early death of marine flora and fauna as well as people, and possibly extinction or permanent genome damage of less mobile species. Fukushima radiation undoubtedly poses a serious threat to California, yet is poorly understood and little investigated. This apathy and state of denial must end.

As Attorney General, I would use all available means to rouse the United States federal government from its deliberate denial and inaction, filing suit under environmental or other laws if necessary. I would also initiate proceedings against Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) and the national government of Japan in any appropriate forum, possibly including Japanese, U.S., or International courts, seeking information and injunctive relief from inadequate mitigation and remediation measures at the Fukushima site. Longer term, I would seek appropriate recovery of damages, if possible, against Tepco and the national government of Japan for licensing and operating the Fukushima site without adequate safeguards, for covering up the full extent of radioactive releases, and inadequate remediation.

I would seek to form legal and investigative alliances with the states of Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, the province of British Columbia, the Mexican coastal provinces from Baja California southward, and other interested stakeholders. The purpose of these alliances would include pooling resources for environmental monitoring and remediation, and to apply legal and political pressure on national governments to put in place effective long-term solutions to radioactive pollution threats. This may include taking legal action directed towards phasing out all nuclear reactors operating in California. I am not anti-nuclear power in general, but Fukushima has proven that current fission designs susceptible to meltdown in the event of coolant loss are not safe in the event of natural disasters or war.

In short, if elected, I would direct the resources of the Attorney General’s offices away from prosecuting victimless crimes and serving special interests, and towards mitigating what is potentially the gravest environmental threat this State has ever faced.