How quickly American’s seem to turn their backs on our roots…the simple foundations on which our country was built upon. Some of these ideas, while seemingly outdated and maybe not the most convenient, are truly the best options when it comes to living in a sustainable way. Rail travel is one of those ideas.
The idea behind rail travel is not a new one. The first examples of rail travel began in Greece around 6 B.C. Grooves embedded into limestone rock provided a guide for wagon wheels pushed by slaves to traverse a 6 kilometer trail without leaving that trail and damaging the surrounding landscape. The idea slowly progressed from wooden rails laid on top of the ground to the current iron rails of today. In 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed opening up the western United States for settlement. The railroad also greatly reduced the amount of time and cost it took to ship goods from the east coast. Between 1896 and 1910, it’s said that 95% of all inter-city transportation was done by rail. In 1920, rail travel reached it’s pinnacle, transporting 1.2 billion passengers. But a nearly tripling in rail fares that year led more Americans than ever to look at the automobile as a cheaper, more self-sufficient way of travel. Rail travel saw another surge beginning in 1939 but it was still only half of ridership seen in the 20’s. By 1970, airlines were transporting almost 75% of travelers while trains carried a mere 7%. Amtrak was created during this same time period by the U.S. government to balance out transportation options and relieve traffic congestions on roads and highways. But since then, railroads haven’t had a huge impact on travel. It’s just another forgotten way.
Now, that forgotten mode of transportation is coming back to haunt us. This isn’t a scary haunting but one of those friendly spirits that appears to tell us we messed up writing off rail travel a long time ago. But, we can change that and some of our lawmakers are hoping to do just that. On November 6th, the Senate voted 70-22 to fund Amtrak with $11.4 billion for the next 6 years. That’s a fairly sizable increase to the government run, for-profit, railroad compared to years past. Is it enough to save passenger rail travel and encourage more to use the service? Only time will tell and the House still has to put their stamp of approval on the measure. President Bush and his administration has dallied with the idea of shutting down Amtrak and opening passenger rail travel to privatization. Under that plan, each railroad would have their own opportunity to provide passenger rail service, just like they did in the old days.
Rail travel requires about 20% less energy than traveling by car or plane making it more environmentally friendly. Trains can run in bad weather when planes might not be able to fly or when roads might be too hazardous and nerve-wracking to drive. Trains provide you with more leg room and you don’t have to deal with breathing that stale, recirculated air. You can get up, stretch your legs and walk around. Not to mention the fact you can actually see major portions of our country by traveling on a train. The scenery is always changing! So, if you plan on flying or driving this holiday season, take time to think about how it would be different boarding a train. Think about the environmental impacts, saving you headaches of early check-ins and security lines and most of all, the relaxation you’ll experience on your journey and most of all avoiding the $3/gallon gas prices. If you’re really passionate about it, book a trip on Amtrak or write your local Congressman or Senator a letter to let him/her know your support for rail travel.
$100 Oil Prices and The White House by Nate on January 3rd, 2008 Is anyone else even a little dismayed by the current administration in The White House? In case you missed it yesterday, oil prices hit the long-awaited $100 per barrel mark.
Is the price we pay for food really worth the impacts it will have on our life in the future? I think it’s a question more Americans should be asking themselves as they cue in line for a meal at the drive-thru or pull in to the local convenience store as they nab 44-ounces of carbonated diabetic bliss iced in a Styrofoam cup.
If more Americans took the time to learn about how their food is made they would inevitably make smarter choices. King Corn, a documentary highlighting the amazing influence corn has on our daily lives, is just another wake up call for people to change the way they think about the means in which they fuel their body. I’m left wondering why a product that is nutritionally void for humans, deadly to the animals that eat it and is worth next to nothing on the open market is so beloved by our federal government.
As the harvest ramps up here in southwestern Indiana, more and more fields of Number 2 corn are meeting the combine this week. I’m glad I watched the film King Corn, the brainchild of two college buddies, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis. It has given me a new perspective on a harvest process that I used to think was quaint and steeped in tradition but now I know is anything but. According to the Environmental Working Group, more than $50 Billion has been paid to subsidize corn farmers in the past decade. Between 2003 and 2005, 66% of those subsidies only went to 10% of our farmers.
The Global Development and Environmental Institute in a report titled Industrial Livestock Companies’ Gains from Low Feed Prices showed just how far those grain subsidies stretch in our food system. Between 1997 and 2005, the industrial broiler chicken industry saved $11.25 Billion and the industrial hog industry saved $8.5 Billion from the very farm bill policies that keep corn and soybean prices below the price of production.
King Corn goes on to show the dramatic rise in human consumption of high-fructose corn syrup over the past three decades and the severe health consequences we as Americans now face because of it. I highly recommend this documentary to anyone interested in learning the impacts brought about by what you might think is just a quaint field of corn.
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of the DVD:
Termination seems like such a dirty word. The societal stigma attached to it is enough to make you feel vile; rolled in the dregs of society and tossed out into the street for all to see and smell. You, left to feel like nothing more than an offense to the olfactory and beyond. Why is it I feel like I should embody that feeling, sulking further into my own self wallow?
There is this great aversion to getting fired. Nobody wants to hear it and most don’t want anybody to know it ever happened to them. That’s why our corporate forefathers came up with terms like “let go”, RIF (reduction in force), laid off, “opting out” and canceled contract. Like wrapping a blanket around a Billy club, is it merely to ease the blow to one’s ego? Or is it like a golden ray shining down from above, making employers feel at ease, almost angelic in letting you down softly and tiptoeing around the word fire or terminate.
This week, I’m learning to embrace being fired. I was ambushed. Walking back to my desk at the end of my shift late Friday night, there sat my boss. He magically reappeared, wearing the same damn clothes he left the office in four hours before. It wouldn’t have won him any awards for his performance but he tried to act sorrowful. He wasn’t soft about it at all. He didn’t even try to let me down easily. It’s the only time he’s ever really truly had the balls to act like a real manager and he managed me right out the front door.
The kick in the ass brought an end to two years of this Midwestern misery. They moved me 1800 miles away from home promising a long-term commitment. From day one though, it’s been anything but. I was sold a bill of goods and unfortunately drank the Kool-Aid. Each quaff left a taste in my mouth that grew more and more wretched. Luckily I choked and regurgitated the rotgut and am now cleaning house. One chapter is ending. Another one is beginning.
It’s ironic this has hall happened because just about two weeks ago T and sat down and made lists. Not for grocery shopping or things to do around this half-acre homestead. These lists were our priorities in life; a test to see where we each stood at this very portion of our lives. Little did we know that these lists would come into play just a few days later. Here is how my priorities panned out:
1) Make sure my T, my wife, and my darling daughter are taking care of emotionally, physically and financially
2) Find a job that makes me happy
3) Live life as sustainable as possible
4) Buy a farm, ranch or other plot of land to build a life on
5) Financial freedom: ditch the debt, save more
T’s priorities were surprisingly similar. Our thoughts and notions on what we wanted to achieve together weren’t as far off as we might have expected them to be. We never expected to be in the position of changing career paths this quickly. I had a contract that would leave us a year to think about our next moves but now that has shriveled and died right on the vine.
So another chapter begins. We have two months, possibly three, of funds to get us through until the next opportunity beckons. We’re looking at ways to stretch every possible dollar and every possible resource we use on a daily basis. It can only help us make it through and last even longer than some would anticipate. It will be the true test of our skills and desires to live life in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly and happiness inducing way.
I just took action by submitting a letter of concern to the USDA regarding their current consideration of implementing some long-overdue rules that would make markets fairer for poultry and livestock farmers. Big agribusiness is trying to fight back of course, preventing the new rules from ever passing. If you’d like to help out the cause, head to the Food & Water Watch website.
Here is a copy of the letter I wrote. I used the form letter but personalized the first part:
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
Let me begin by expressing my deep disgust and distrust with the mass-market meat system currently in place. I have taken my consumer dollars out of the meat department at my local grocery stores and instead invested in a share of a local, Community Supported Agriculture operation. For my investment in the farmer just down the road, which averages $5 per pound, I am guaranteed about 20lbs. of farm fresh, organically raised meat products each month. It’s the best investment I ever could have made and don’t intend to buy meat from the local grocers case again any time soon.
I am writing to express my support for the proposed rule on “Implementation of Regulations Required Under Title XI of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; Conduct in Violation of the Act” (“Farm Bill Comments, FR page 35338, June 22, 2010). This new proposed rule is an important first step in leveling the playing field for livestock producers, improving market transparency and protecting poultry growers from unfair contract terms.
The proposed rule would eliminate the most abusive contract terms and practices used by poultry companies, ban retaliation against growers who speak out about unfair conditions or contract abuses; protect growers who make expensive upgrades to their chicken houses; require notification before companies suspend contracts with growers; and allow growers to opt out of arbitration clauses.
Unfortunately, the proposed rule fails to rein in similarly unfair practices in livestock markets. The proposed rule addresses a few specific unfair practices widely used by meatpackers, but it fails to establish guidelines that would prevent meatpackers from unfairly favoring one hog or cattle farmer over another through marketing agreements and contracts. It does prevent one limited kind of price discrimination (the full trailer volume discount), bans packer-to-packer sales, prohibits one auction buyer from representing multiple meatpackers and offers only limited improvements on marketing transparency. These are important and necessary improvements, but do not address most of the widespread unfair treatment in the cattle and hog industry. In addition to implementing this proposed rule as soon as possible, I urge you to take the next steps necessary to address the market power of large meatpackers and require packers to pay a firm bid price for all livestock they procure and require them to sell in an open public market where all buyers and sellers have access.
The whole reason you have a farmers market is to support local agriculture. Apparently the City of Evansville and GAGE have a different idea.
I think the title of this post says it all. It was another attack on a family farm. Within the past 24 hours here in Evansville I’ve seen a local farmer and his products accepted, shunned and then welcomed once again at the downtown farmer’s market. The weekly farmers market is put on by an organization called GAGE or the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville.
There have always been problems with GAGE’s attempt at trying to create a farmers market for the city. When the market was first created it was the city’s creative reuse of an old brick warehouse type building that had sat empty. Before we moved to the area I’m told the inside portion contained a deli and other fun food merchants like that along with the weekly spread of produce and other goods. The City of Evansville and GAGE have always run the market for only three months out of the year. It’s an idea which makes little to no sense, especially in our area that sports a growing season at least 6 months long. The indoor market essentially failed. The city couldn’t keep up with the cost of keeping the building empty for most of the year.
Now the market has been brought back around again, this time as a way to attract people to the downtown area. The market is held in an open field in the center of a city block every Friday morning and every other Saturday. To most of us who go, that schedule has never really made sense either. Most are working on Friday mornings and to only have it every other Saturday just gives more time for people to forget the opportunity to shop at the farmers market even exists.
On Friday, the farmer we buy our locally grown, grass-fed organic meats from as part of a CSA, was banned from selling his frozen meats. Keith Canon who owns Stonewall Farm was inspected by the Vanderburgh County Health Department at opening day of the farmers market and passed inspection. He was told he was following all code. But GAGE, in talks with the Vanderburgh County Health Department, decided that it wasn’t a good idea to allow the sale of frozen meat at the farmers market for fear of mishandling.
Stonewall Farm already has a decent customer base and uses the downtown farmers market as a stop for customers to pick up their monthly take of meat, eggs and other goods bought as part of their CSA. By shutting out Stonewall Farm, GAGE was essentially turning away a huge base of potential customers for the other vendors. Stonewall Farm is also offering a locally grown product. Many of the fruits and vegetables currently sold at the market aren’t even grown nearby and the people selling them aren’t even farmers, they’re distributors.
Many of us who support eating locally and organically were outraged by GAGE’s decision and let them know it by inundating their telephones and emailing. An impressive social networking campaign also kicked up just a couple hours after the initial decision to ban the meat sales. People who were angry contacted them via Facebook and Twitter and let them know it. My favorite local coffee shop, Penny Lane, also reacted. They’ve announced they want to start a farmers market with all locally grown products.
Today we drove out to Stonewall Farm to pickup our monthly take of meat and eggs. Keith told us the good news that the upswell of support for Stonewall apparently made GAGE reconsider their decision. They will once again allow Stonewall Farm to sell their frozen meats! This just goes to show how bureaucratic decision making can sometimes be changed by simply speaking our minds. I think that’s great.
I hope the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville has learned an important lesson. They have a golden opportunity to create a worthwhile farmers market. A farmers market that actually supports and cultivates the idea that local farmers do actually have a place they can sell their goods and that people looking for local produce can find it.
Other suggestions for GAGE’s Evansville Farmers Market:
1) Make it every Saturday instead of every other
2) Consider extending the season beyond just 3 months of Summer. I know several farmers in the Evansville area with greenhouses that would be willing to heat them and grow if they had a place to sell.
3) Find a permanent and covered location for the market so it can go on even if there is inclement weather. There are awnings along the back of the old Greyhound Station, what about using that space?
4) Force vendors to label where produce is coming from and if it’s organic or not. I think too many people believe they’re buying food from a local farmer who may not use pesticides and other harsh chemicals when in fact they may not be.
5) Grow the market. Make it a true event with food and entertainment.
Agricultural conglomerate Monsanto is at it again with another big threat to organic agriculture and we all need to speak out against it. The USDA is currently taking public comment on Monsanto’s request to approve Genetically Engineered (GE) alfalfa that will be Roundup ready.
This is similar to their Roundup ready soybeans currently on the market. The GE seeds produced by Monsanto allow farmers to spray their crops with Roundup chemical herbicides, protecting the soybeans or alfalfa but killing everything else herbaceous, like weeds, growing around it.
The USDA itself predicts that by approving GE alfalfa, it would damage family farms and organic meat and dairy markets but doesn’t propose any way to protect them. The main concern revolves around cross-contamination of organically grown non-GE alfalfa and the fact that organic foods can be sold without having to identify that the animals were fed GE livestock feed.
Public comment is open until February 16th, so time is ticking. Head to the True Food Network to send a form letter to the USDA as part of the public comment record. You can also submit a direct response at the regulations.gov website. Our friends over at Organic Valley have also provided these talking points and suggestions for writing your own letter and mailing it over, which in some cases, seems to have more of an impact than an electronic statement.
By Mail: A written letter is very powerful. Mail your comments to:
Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044
Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238
Talking Point Suggestions
Let the USDA know that you do care about GE contamination of organic crops and food
Tell USDA that you will reject GE-contaminated alfalfa and alfalfa-derived foods
If GE alfalfa is deregulated, widespread GE contamination of non-GM and organic alfalfa is inevitable.
Organic alfalfa is a critical component for organic farming and feed.
Remind USDA it’s their job to protect Organic farmers, and all farmers who choose to grow non-GE crops.
GE alfalfa would significantly increase pesticide use and thereby harm human health and the environment.
Harm to small and organic farmers is significant.
USDA should extend the comment period.
Let USDA Know That You Care About GE Contamination of Organic Crops and Food:
USDA claims that there is no evidence that consumers care about contamination of organic alfalfa and alfalfa-derived foods with Monsanto’s GE Roundup Ready alfalfa.
Prohibition of genetic engineering (GE) is a fundamental part of the Organic Standard. In fact, USDA’s failure to exclude GE crops from the first version of the organic rule was one of the main reasons that 275,000 people filed public comments in 1997– the largest outpouring of public participation in the history of U.S. administrative procedure. Consumers care deeply about organic integrity, and genetic engineering is fundamentally at odds with organic. More than 75% of consumers believe that they are purchasing products without GE ingredients when they buy organic.[i]
Tell USDA You Will Reject GE Contaminated Alfalfa and Alfalfa-Derived Foods:
USDA claims that consumers will not reject GE contamination of organic alfalfa if the contamination is unintentional or if the GE material is not transmitted to the end milk or meat product.
The Organic Standards require that livestock feed for animals used for meat, milk, eggs, and other animal products is 100 percent organic. Protecting organic alfalfa, the main source of feed for the organic dairy industry, is crucial to the health of that important sector of U.S. agriculture. Additionally, as the Court found in the lawsuit that required this EIS, to “farmers and consumers organic means not genetically engineered, even if the farmer did not intend for his crop to be so engineered.” Whether or not the end product is impacted is not the issue. Farmers’ fundamental right to sow the crop of their choice is eliminated when it is contaminated with transgenes, and so is the public’s ability to support meaningful organic food and feed production. The public’s trust in the integrity of the organic label is essential to the continued vitality of the organic foods industry. Tell USDA you reject GE contamination of organic by any means or at any stage of sustainable food production.
Tell USDA to Protect Organic Farmers and All Farmers Who Wish to Choose to Grow Non-GE Crops:
Although USDA says it supports “coexistence” of all types of agriculture, USDA refuses to even consider any future for alfalfa that would include protections from contamination for organic and conventional farmers and exporters.
USDA can approve GE crops in whole or in part. Partial approval could include use restrictions, geographic limitations or planting isolation distances. Yet, in the court-ordered analysis, USDA analyzed only two options: 1) Full approval, allowing GE alfalfa to be grown and sold without restriction like any other crop; and 2) No action, meaning GE alfalfa could only be grown under USDA permit, as at present. USDA’s “all or nothing” approach leaves un-analyzed any potential options to protect farmers. This is contrary to law and logic. USDA’s basic mission is “protecting American agriculture.” Yet, USDA refused to even consider any options that might protect organic and conventional agriculture from contamination and the resulting loss of markets and ability to sow the crop of their choice.
If GE alfalfa is deregulated, widespread GE contamination of non-GM and organic alfalfa is inevitable.
USDA claims that Monsanto’s seed contracts require measures sufficient to prevent GE contamination. But according to Fred Kirschenmann, Iowa Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow, alfalfa is impossible to contain. “Alfalfa is a perennial with a three-mile pollination radius, so farm buffers won’t work.”
In the lawsuit requiring the EIS, the Court found that GE contamination had already occurred in the fields of several Western states with these same business-as-usual practices in place!
The EIS itself acknowledges that GE contamination may happen and includes studies that honey bees can cross-pollinate at distances over 6 miles, and Alkali bees at 4-5 miles,[ii] much further than any distances under Monsanto’s “best practices.”
In general, where other GE crops were approved without restriction, contamination of organic and conventional seeds and crops is widespread and has been documented around the world.[iii] A recent report documented 39 cases in 2007 and more than 200 in the last decade.[iv] The harms incurred by organic farmers and food companies from GE contamination are many and include: lost markets, lost sales, lower prices, negative publicity, withdrawal of organic certification, expensive testing and prevention measures, and product recalls.[v] In Canada, pervasive GE contamination eliminated the entire organic canola opportunity.[vi]
GE Alfalfa Would Significantly Increase Pesticide Use and Thereby Harm Human Health and the Environment.
USDA admits (correctly) that introduction of Roundup Ready alfalfa will increase Roundup use. However, USDA’s claims that the increase is not significant and that Roundup will replace other, more toxic herbicides are flat-out wrong.
The great majority of GE crops grown today are Roundup Ready, and their widespread introduction has vastly increased Roundup use and fostered an epidemic of Roundup-resistant weeds. To kill Roundup-resistant weeds requires higher doses of Roundup, often in combination with other toxic herbicides. Over the past 13 years, Roundup Ready crops have significantly increased overall herbicide use on corn, soybeans and cotton – by 383 million pounds[vii] – and Roundup Ready alfalfa will only make matters worse.
As the agency’s own studies here show, the great majority of alfalfa is currently grown without the use of any herbicides at all.[viii] So Roundup Ready alfalfa will increase Roundup use and exacerbate the resistant weed epidemic without displacing other herbicides on most alfalfa farms.
Roundup has been associated with increased rates of several cancers in pesticide applicators (e.g. non-Hodgkin’s & multiple myeloma),[ix] and is highly toxic to frogs at field-relevant concentrations.[x] The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently re-assessing the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, for the first time in over 15 years. USDA should wait for this new EPA assessment before it considers approving GE alfalfa.
Harm to Small and Organic Farmers Would Be Significant.
USDA concludes that GE alfalfa will cause production to shift to larger farms (that can afford built-in isolation distances) and conventional growers who are not threatened by GE contamination, but that these economic shifts are not significant.
Small, family farmers are the backbone and future of American agriculture and must be protected. Organic agriculture provides many benefits to society: healthy foods for consumers, economic opportunities for family farmers and urban and rural communities, and a farming system that improves the quality of the environment. However, the continued vitality of this sector is imperiled by the complete absence of measures to protect organic production systems from GE contamination and subsequent environmental, consumer, and economic losses.
Tell USDA to Extend the Comment Period:
USDA provided only a 60-day comment period, from Dec 16-Feb 16.
The document is almost 200 pages, 1400 with appendices. The comment period began right before the holiday season. This is the first EIS the agency has ever conducted for any GE crop. Given these factors, and its failure to release its “Plant Pest Determination,” USDA should extend the comment period at least 30 days to give the public adequate time to comment.
[i] Organic Community Comments to APHIS, Proposed Rule and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Introduction of Genetically Engineered Organisms, APHIS Docket 2008-002, June 29, 2009.
[ii] United States Department of Agriculture. Glyphosate-Tolerant Alfalfa Events J101 and J163: Request for Nonregulated Status. Draft Environmental Impact Statement—November 2009. P.95.
[iii] See, e.g., New Study Finds GM Genes in Wild Mexican Maize, New Scientist, Feb. 21, 2009; Rex Dalton (2008) Modified genes spread to local maize: findings reignite debate over genetically modified crops, Nature, 456 (7219), 2000, at 149; The Institute for Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), Chile enters the list of countries contaminated with GMOs: A report from INTA has detected transgenic contamination of maize in the fields of central Chile, Oct. 22, 2008; Graeme Smith, Illegal GM Crops Found In Scotland, Herald, Sept. 13, 2008; Elizabeth Rosenthal, Questions on Biotech Crops with No Clear Answers, N.Y. Times, June 6, 2006; Gene Flow underscores growing concern over biotech crops, Associated Press, Sept. 22, 2004; Andrew Pollack, Can Biotech Crops be Good Neighbors?, N.Y. Times, Sept. 26, 2004; Lyle F. Friesen et al., Evidence of contamination of pedigreed canola (Brassica napus) seedlots in Western Canada with genetically engineered herbicide resistance traits, 95 Agron. J., 1342-1347 (2003); Simon Jeffery, Rogue genes: An unauthorised strain of GM crops has been found across England and Scotland., Guardian, Aug. 16, 2002; Alex Roslin, Modified Pollen hits organic farms: Genetically altered strains spread by wind, Toronto Star, Sept. 30, 2002; Fred Pearce, The Great Mexican Maize Scandal, New Scientist 2347, June 15, 2002.
[viii]United States Department of Agriculture. Glyphosate-Tolerant Alfalfa Events J101 and J163: Request for Nonregulated Status. Draft Environmental Impact Statement—November 2009. Appendix J, J-25, EIS pp. 34 & 43.
[ix] Hardell, L., & Eriksson, M. (1999). “A Case-Controlled Study of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Exposure to Pesticides,” Cancer, 85(6), 1353–1360; Hardell L, Eriksson M, & Nordstrom M. (2002). “Exposure to pesticides as risk factor for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and hairy cell leukemia: pooled analysis of two Swedish case-control studies,” Leuk Lymphoma, 43(5), 1043-1049; De Roos, et al. (2003). “Integrative assessment of multiple pesticides as risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among men,” Occup Environ Med, 60(9); De Roos, A. J. D., Blair, A., Rusiecki, J. A., Hoppin, J. A., Svec, M., Dosemeci, M., Sandler, D. P., & Alavanja, MC .2005. Cancer Incidence among Glyphosate‐Exposed Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(1), 49‐54.
[x] Relyea, R.A. (2005a). “The lethal impact of Roundup on aquatic and terrestial amphibians,” Ecological Applications 15(4): 1118–1124; Relyea et al (2005). “Pesticides and amphibians: The importance of community context,” Ecological Adaptations 15: 1125-1134; Relyea, R.A. (2005b). “The letal impacts of Roundup and predatory stress on six species of North American tadpoles,” Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 48: 351-57.
A $31 Million package of incentives and tax credits for alternative and green energy sources has passed the U.S. Senate’s Finance Committee. The package is expected to be ready for President Obama to sign by mid-February.
The packages would give homeowners tax credits for investing in alternative energy sources like wind or solar and for making their homes more energy efficient. Alternative energy companies can also carry their current tax credits for an additional five years.
I think this is fantastic and a good way to encourage people to start making the move to alternative energy and maximum efficiency. Unfortunately I feel like unless these packages were to be extended for several years, it’s not going to do much right now. The economy is in such poor shape that who, aside from the wealthy (once again), have the money to invest in solar panels and wind turbines right now?
I don’t think the answer will reveal very many people willing to make the investment in these rocky times even with as much as it will pay off in the long run. I hope our government realizes that this is a vital move to keep alive for several years and not just one tax season. Do green tax breaks like this one do enough to encourage you to make the move to alternative energy sources? Share your thoughts and opinions by posting a comment below!
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Sun Glorious Sun by Nate on February 16th, 2011 Glorious is the only way I can think to describe the sudden onset of balmy temperatures and sunshine the past couple of days.
Homemade Ice Melter by Nate on January 4th, 2009 By now several areas of the country have dealt with a crippling round of ice storms and with salt in short supply, de-icing in some parts of the country has been rather difficult.