Signing Bonus?

30 Jul

I was driving down the New Jersey turnpike today as I have done quite often over the past 40 years and I am constantly amazed by the incredible array of power plants, smoke stacks, oil tanks, refineries, generating stations, fire belching exhaust stacks and the miles of conduit pipes that seem to connect them all.

It’s the stretch of the Turnpike that most New Jersey-ans like to call “cancer alley” most probably because it smells like and looks like what could be the Devil’s workshop if the Devil indeed had one! And on this day it looked just like it had on any other day of driving through this hellish landscape… except for one small difference.

And that was a giant new sign on one of the largest power plants that read: ” Energy Efficient and Environmentally Advanced”

And I thought to myself, Really? What’s new and different? Have changes been made? Is our country moving in the right direction and are our energy systems finally becoming more efficient and advanced? And if so why does everything still look, smell and belch exactly as it always had before?

So I did a little research and discovered that a new study of the world’s largest economies has ranked the energy efficiency, policy and programs of each, and Germany is ranked #1 with the United States ranked at lucky #13…but worse than that, China is ranked #4 and India #11! We’re behind India and China!

And those are the 2 countries that are always mentioned by U.S. politicians whenever they attempt to explain why America can’t and shouldn’t join in the fight against global warming and climate change…because India and China, the 2 most populous countries are ruining the planet with their energy inefficiency so why should we bother…but we’re doing worse than they are!

Anyway, it turns out that that power plant on the turnpike with the big sign is one of the top polluters in the state of New Jersey. And our Governor recently pulled our state out of a multistate initiative known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.

Those in favor of the program see it as a model on how the nation can curb pollution from power plants that increase global warming. But Critics, like our Governor say that such efforts are ineffective and just another tax on utilities.

So, I guess it’s much more environmentally advanced and efficient to just get a big sign and put that on top of the power plants instead

…yep, that oughta do it…a nice, big, fat sign!

12 Responses to “Signing Bonus?”

  1. drshyamalavatsa July 30, 2014 at 4:25 am #

    I passed this stretch more than ten times last month. Yes, it does look awful when you come across it after travelling down the nice, clean-looking highway up to that point – but you have to put your power plants somewhere! I honestly think America does a good job of making driving through it a pleasure. But it’s true that America contributes considerably to global warming, and I don’t agree with the ’emissions trading’ part of the Kyoto Protocol. And don’t worry about India ranking above the US in energy efficiency – we simply don’t have enough of it to ruin the planet! Can I ask you something? Why isn’t there enough public transport? Almost every car you pass on the street has only one person in it. And gas is so cheap that nobody thinks twice about wasting it.

    • onnovocks July 30, 2014 at 5:38 am #

      Why isn’t there enough public transport? Well, many U.S. Cities had a street car system like San Francisco. GM purchased those, like the one in Minneapolis and ran them into the ground so they could sell buses and cars. Luckily the one in San Francisco survived with it’s unique cable system.

    • gpicone July 31, 2014 at 2:38 am #

      That’s all part of being good capitalists. Here in America buying what we don’t need and then wasting it is what we do. And it’s the job of America;s corporations to make sure that we keep doing it. Will India ever need to use over 30% of the world’s stuff? If they do then we’ll need another world to exploit…or 2!

  2. Ravi Chander July 30, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    India is populous, but just doesn’t have enough electricity for all its people. Most people outside the urban areas are lucky if they get few hours of electricity per day. However, India is using a lot of gasoline which it can ill afford as it needs to buy oil from the world market where it has no leverage.

    I travel on the turnpike to NYC regularly and the Linden to Newark stretch is definitely an eye sore. Also, well etched in our minds from ‘The Sopranos’ title song.

  3. avwalters July 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    When in doubt, obfuscate. When there was concern about air quality for the 1984 L.A. Olympics, they just changed the standards. Here, they didn’t even bother with that–they just hung a sign misrepresenting the status. Oh well. For whatever it’s worth, until August 3rd, we’re in the comment period during which the EPA is accepting comments for their proposal to increase, by several hundredfold, the allowable exposure to nuclear radiation. (Fukushima? Hanford? WIPP?) Make your voice heard.

  4. avwalters July 30, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    By the way, nice title.

  5. learningisthereward July 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    Things don’t LOOK so awful down here in Oklahoma, because we mostly extract and ship fossil fuels to refiners elsewhere, but oil and gas drives the state economy. Our governor and legislature protect those industries with everything they’ve got. Fracking causes earthquakes? No, that can’t be, because even though OK state university petroleum enginering researchers see a link, we can buy research elsewhere that says there’s no link. Also, you’d think that in Oklahoma, where “the wind comes whipping down the plains” wind power would be one answer to growing concerns about climate change (which we know doesn’t happen because our illustrious U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe–author of The Greatest Hoax–says so). Instead, the legislature imposed a “sun tax” on those who install solar panels and wind turbines to conserve energy. Fine ’em! That’ll show ’em!

    • avwalters July 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm #


    • onnovocks July 30, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

      Hmm, no earthquakes? In The Netherlands, where there were no earthquakes in living memory, there are earthquakes in Groningen now, on a rather regular basis. In the Netherlands I have not heard a single person dispute that fracking is the cause of these quakes, they are reducing the extraction of natural gas in an effort to slow the frequency of these events even if no one expects that it will totally stop. Maybe they could impose an earthquake tax to prepare for the damage claims later. OK, they’ll just spend it on something else, like a bridge to the moon to extract helium.

  6. Dan Hennessy July 30, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    I’m all choked up about the sign .

  7. bigdave1583 August 20, 2014 at 4:56 am #

    This is so good!!

  8. Outlier Babe August 22, 2014 at 3:34 am #

    When I was a child, and had severe asthma, driving through this section of Jersey was always exciting, for we never knew if I would survive the experience. We’d pick an off-traffic time, I’d use the inhaler at the beginning of the “run”, we’d roll up the windows, I’d put a towel in front of my mouth, and my father would floor it as much as he dared to avoid a ticket. By the time we reached breathable air, I would be wheezing and have difficulty inhaling enough air to use the inhaler a second time (a no-no, but necessary).

    Disgusting place. Excellent post.

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