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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Environmental Check

Today will be wet. Just rain, maybe a clap of thunder. It's all about storm track- and the cold side with snow is just to our north. March is around the corner, but there will be a few more shots at getting that satisfying storm. I am off to visit a group of first graders this morning, so I will tough on that when we begin to cool down tomorrow.

I've already mentioned the record snowfall in many locations to our north, Great Lakes and in the Rockies. It's been an active winter- just not for us- yet...
Today, I wanted to share a few environmentally related stories:
Are you bothered by high gas prices.. me too! Regular gas is about 75 cents higher than this time last year. A lot can be blamed on a refinery explosion last week that limits the supply of gas, regardless of how much oil we have to work with. Since no new refinery has been allowed to be built in the US in the last 20 years- supplies are tight.
This report in today's USA Today brings an issue I've talked about to the mainstream. Electric cars are not the answer since they will result in more pollution from power plants.
Flex fuel cars are not the answer, while they are being pushed on the market. They use Ethanol 85 derived from corn which sounds great. But it tends to be 20% less fuel efficient, so you would have to fill up your tank more often- thus burning more in the long run. It has also caused the price of corn and other crops to jump. In fact last year Germany had a hops shortage since farmers were growing crops for E-85 instead. Beer prices went up and there was a public outcry.
If you have a realistic answer- please share.
As for home electric bills, we can be appreciative that it has not be too cold here. I spoke with a family yesterday that has a 2800 square foot house. Their BGE bill last month was close to $1000. I live on a south facing hill and will gladly put up solar panels- if it becomes cost worthy. The going rate is 12%-18%, which does not pay off the high cost of installation. Again, we do not have any legitimate alternative solutions yet. While France is 75% run on Nuclear Power- without a meltdown- don't expect to see a new Nuclear Plant here soon. Again- what do we do if we can't use our own oil reserves??? Just watch the prices go up. Trust me, I feel your pain!

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