A couple of items caught my eye on this lovely Hawaiian Lāpule (Sunday) morning. From last weeks mornings headlines on the Tribune-Herald regarding developing a self-sustaining agriculture and energy self-reliance. It’s a good plan, if it’s carefully well thought out. Along with self-sustaining agriculture, there is the issue of bringing products to market. Which takes energy in the form of fuel. There have been several projects launched on the Big Island regarding energy, some are well thought out, others are not so well thought out.
Biomass fuels have become all the rage as an alternative to generating electricity rather than the petroleum-based products which generate much of our electricity here on the Big Island. The concept of burning trees for electricity has its merits, but also has a serious downside. What if you run out of trees?
HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A company seeking to fire up a wood-burning energy plant on the Big Island is facing community opposition as it works to address government requirements.
Hu Honua had hoped to begin selling power to Hawaii Electric Light Co. in late 2010.
But the company has added six months as it waits for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to approve modification of the old coal-burning plant’s existing air permit. Hawaii County and state requirements must also be met.
Some Pepeekeo residents have come out against the company’s plan to burn as much as 700 tons of wood and other biomass per day.
Opponents say the plant would create clouds of emissions and exhaust, noxious odors and a daily stream of trucks, leading to health problems and lower property values.
Indeed the clear cutting of trees would pose a serious problem to the ecosystem of Hawai’i. As demand for energy increases, more and more of Hawai’i’s natural resources will be used to generate electricity. The question has to be asked, “Is this a good use of the environment to produce energy?”; “Is this a sustainable use of our island resources?”. At 700 tons of wood per day, I would think you’d run out of trees very soon and trees don’t grow fast enough to be replenished as fuel for energy. Even if you were to burn garbage, the inherent consequences of burning garbage would be a solution to Hilo’s landfill problem, but what about the transportation of garbage to the site, the air quality from the burning of garbage and the quality of life for residents living near the biomass plant? Question: Is this a well thought out idea for energy self sustainability on the Big Island of Hawai’i? Alternative energies like wind and solar are good, but what do you do when the wind ceases and the sun sets? Like it or not, we will have to depend on petroleum base energies until either other alternative sources are found or a marriage between petroleum-based and alternative energies could be achieved . Until then, we should not exasperate our time, energy and resources on purchasing foreign oil when we have plenty here in this country to use. Drill Here, Drill NOW!
But what about that Global Warming Climate Change Thingy?
The destruction of natural ecosystems — whether rain forest in the tropics or grasslands in South America — not only releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when they are burned and plowed, but also deprives the planet of natural sponges to absorb carbon emissions. Cropland also absorbs far less carbon than the rain forests or even scrubland that it replaces.
So burning Green is worse that burning Oil? Who would have thunk it?
Besides our energy needs, there is that nasty habit of being able to feed ourselves. All over the Big Island, there are pockets of entrepreneurship taking advantage of locally grown resources. Like the many Guava and Macadamia products produced by Mom and Pop stores on this island for example. Smoked meats and fish are very popular and are also home-grown enterprises.
Locally grown produce that is sold at the farmers markets and in chain grocery stores are generally more expensive in price than the same produce brought in from the mainland and sold at the larger grocery stores. Back in August, I asked a question to Hamakua Springs Country Farms about why the price of produce was more expensive than the locally grown produce. Hamakua Springs County Farms is a large supplier of produce on the Big Island of Hawai’i. I found the answer to my question intriguing:
1) One reason, not easily seen, is the over-enthusiastic State policy of facilitating commerce. The Department of Agriculture is required to help mainland and foreign retailers keep their imported produce moving.
2) Another problem is that most of our Hawai‘i farms are small – less than 25 acres. Smaller farms cannot make ends meet without charging higher prices. Also, they do not have the production capability to help their customers stay efficient and competitive. Higher land prices play into the above.
3) Hawai‘i depends on fossil fuel for 78 percent of the generation of its electricity, whereas the U.S. mainland uses oil for only three percent of its electricity generation. This is significant because produce is commonly refrigerated in order to maintain freshness and quality. Oil prices have been rising lately and so Hawai‘i farmers are spending more for refrigeration; or else they are gambling that the decline in quality that results from not cooling will be okay.
So, our state and federal government artificially raises the price of produce grown on this island, AND we have to follow California standards of inspection. Hello, California is going bankrupt and may not be able to feed itself due to its own environmental restrictions. Makes perfect sense, I suppose. I guess the food we import from China is subject to the same scrutiny as our food produced here in Hawai’i.
Consider this list of Chinese products detained by the FDA just in the last month: frozen catfish tainted with illegal veterinary drugs, fresh ginger polluted with pesticides, melon seeds contaminated with a cancer-causing toxin and filthy dried dates.
I suppose we’ll fix the problem once enough dogs, cats and people die. There has to be a better way to manage this other than the current method. Even so, there has to be a better way to manage locally grown produce, and lower the prices with greater profit. A good start is deregulation. The government artificially increases the price of food through over regulation. Another is the state taxes the sale of food:
From The Hawai’i Reporter:
So, how is it that the democratic majority is so successful in making the public believe that they are the party of the poor, when they tax the poor heavily? The food tax is the most regressive tax and, it disproportionally falls on the poor. Hawaii is one of only eight states that do not offer either a total exemption or decreased tax on food products in the United States. That’s right! The government even taxes you on food. And it isn’t at 4 %. It is more like 12-14% with the GET. We are the only state in America to tax you to death on food.
More to the point, is that Hawai’i’s liberal democrats are responsible for the high cost of living in Hawai’i. Hawai’i is also heavily unionized with liberal democrat leaders which have also compound the problem. Hawai’i’s budget shortfall has everyone across all sectors of the state’s economy cutting back to save money. The recent education union contract will cut 17 school days over a two year span. The decision to cut school days was the union’s decision and not the states. It unfairly hurts children and their parents by cutting valuable education time. The unions could have cut days that did not interfere with actual class time, but the unions put themselves ahead of Hawai’i’s children. Again, Hawai’i’s liberal democrats only think about themselves:
From the Star Bulletin:
Gov. Linda Lingle told reporters she regrets signing off on the contract that requires teachers to take 17 furlough days this school year. Lingle said she assumed the Department of Education, state Board of Education and HSTA would draft a contract that had the best interest of students in mind.
But she says that did not happen.
So what do the unions suggest as an alternative to the state’s budget woes? RAISE TAXES! Yes, raise taxes, raid the hurricane fund, the rainy day fund. No solutions, just spend more taxpayer monies.
From the Hawai’i Reporter:
Some of Hawaii’s top Democratic political and union organizers attended, pressuring Republican Gov. Linda Lingle into releasing more funds to the state Department of Education. They want the governor to support the raiding of the state’s emergency Hurricane Fund, raiding of the Rainy Day Fund (again), and raising of state taxes again. Hawaii is already one of the overall highest taxed states in the nation.
Senator Sam Slom (R) 8th district has some thoughts on how to deal with Hawai’i budget crisis.
- The Legislature should remove the cap on charter schools, since operating costs per pupil are half that of regular public schools.
- The Board of Education must change the DOE budget so that 2/3 or all costs do not get spent on bureaucracy outside of the classroom.
- The HSTA must release their stranglehold over the number of minutes of instruction time per week, now limited to approximately 4.5 hours per day.
These are Conservative ideas that liberal democrats do not want to consider. Why? It would hurt their chances getting reelected. The stranglehold unions have over state legislators is the root of the problem. Conservative Republicans for years have warned about Hawai’i’s budget projections only to be ignored by the majority liberal democrats. Since when were the unions running the government? The unions were not elected to run the government, but the unions are pulling the strings and making decision on how to spend our money.
Wake up Hawai’i
Or We’ll Bust Up Your Knee Caps
Click on the above picture and see for yourself
People often wonder what is the difference between a Conservative and a liberal. The simple fact of the matter is that the major difference is that Conservatives wonder first what it is they are responsible for while liberals wonder first what everyone else should be doing for them.
Here are some brief rules of thumb:
- If a conservative sees a U.S. flag, his heart swells with pride.
- If a liberal sees a U.S. flag, he feels shame.
- If a conservative doesn’t like guns, they don’t buy them.
- If a liberal doesn’t like guns, then no one else should have one either.
- If a conservative is a vegetarian, he won’t eat meat.
- If a liberal is, they want to ban all meat products for everyone.
- If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat it.
- If a liberal see an enemy he wonders what he can do to appease him.
- If a conservative is homosexual, he’ll quietly enjoy his life.
- If a liberal is homosexual, he’ll demand everyone get involved in his bedroom activities.
- If a successful conservative is black or Hispanic, he’ll see himself as having succeeded on his own merits.
- Successful liberal minorities still claim “racism” and want government to give them even more.
- If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to work to better his situation.
- A liberal wants someone else to take care of him.
- If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
- If a liberal doesn’t like a radio show, he demands that the station be shut down or censored.
- If a conservative is a non-believer, he just doesn’t go to church.
- Non-believing liberals demand that everyone cease believing and demands churches be censored.
- If a conservative needs health care, he shops for it, or chooses a job that provides it.
- Liberals demand that everyone else provide him with healthcare for free.
- If a conservative sees a law, he thinks long and hard before suggesting a change.
- If a liberal sees a law he assumes it is just a suggestion and does what he wants anyway.
- Conservatives feel there is a right and wrong.
- Liberals feel that nothing is really wrong… unless it is believed by a conservative.
- Conservatives believe in freedom, responsibility, tradition, and self-reliance.
- Liberals believe in license, government restrictions, upending tradition, and collectives.
Just wanted to add my 2¢ to this list: Feel free to add to the list.
- Conservatives believe in Individualism, Objectivism, Ethics, keeping what is earned and charity.
- Liberals believe in Welfare, Handouts, High Taxes, Selfishness and taking other peoples money.
- Conservatives believe in life, all life, especially the life of the Unborn and the elderly.
- Liberals believe in death, abortion and assisted suicide.
- Conservatives believe in Capitalism.
- Liberals believe in communism.
Lucifer was the very first liberal
What’s for Dinner?