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10559Re: Energy subsidies

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  • SusanD
    Apr 9, 2011
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      Tyra-

      My name is Susan Dancer and I posted the comment about externalized expenses. Two of my websites are www.mccnia.homestead.com and www.texasblessings.com You can learn more about me there.

      Let me give you all an example of externalized expenses and how they relate to subsidies and the need/lack of need.

      I live in Blessing, Texas about 8 or 9 miles from the STP nuclear plant. My husband is employed there as an engineer specialist. A couple of years back, STP security personnel got an anonymous phone call asking what their "no fly zone" distance parameters were. This put security on edge. Later in the morning, sure enough, a little Cessna plane came puttering into the protected airspace. STP officials notified the US military and an F16 fighter jet came swooshing in from Corpus Christi to intercept the smaller plane. Later in the same day, a witness saw a man carrying a rifle case into the main office building and notified security, which was pretty frazzled by that point I assume. All local law enforcement: sheriff's depts., cities' police forces were dispatched to the nuclear plant and the plant went into total lockdown, no one could come or go.

      As it turns out, the small plane was a contractor hired to be sure the transmission right-of-ways were clear and free of debris and not overgrown. The man with the rifle case had just purchased it---at the STP company store where they SELL rifle cases! It was hunting season...

      My point is this: At what expense to the taxpayer comes this kind of security? What does it cost to scramble a fighter jet? What does it cost the taxpayer for such equipment and training? What expense did our community bear to send all our local deputies to the plant to find that their "security crisis" was that one of their own employees had simply purchased an item from their employee store?

      And, the more important question to me, where are these expenses accounted for? Where are they figured into the cost of nuclear power generation? The answer, of course, is they are not.

      Another cost issue that is not raised is water use. In addition to river water, STP currently uses 1,200,000 gallons of water from the aquifer per day. In their environmental impact statement for proposed units 3 & 4, they acknowledge that there will not be enough water available to meet municipal drinking water needs by 2050, but their water rights supersede the muni's. So they allege that we can meet our drinking water needs through desalinization which is not only very energy intensive to begin with but also very expensive. So if we have to take on additional expenses, as a society, to have water to drink due to such high water demand from this production plant and those costs are hidden in water treatment, they will never be captured an added back to the nuclear energy production costs.

      I'm not nearly as familiar with the petro chem industry, but I'm sure we have a huge outflow of externalized costs to them as well, at least in our military missions that specifically protect oil-rich areas and shipments of crude back here for refinement.

      If we weren't paying such huge amounts in federal income tax to cover the hidden costs of these industries, we could afford to pay more per gallon of petro or per KWH of electricity with no impact to our overall financial picture. Its not just that these industries have artificially low costs, its just that many of their true costs are hidden.

      Susan
      --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "subramaniamrami" <rami1284@...> wrote:
      >
      > Good topic. I recently had a discussion about this with a friend of mine who suggested that cutting all oil subsidies would cripple the economy as there exists a "threshold" cost for which many people would be unable to sustain in a day to day life. This is true and don't suggest that the government cut all subsidies as it would be disastrous to our economy. However I believe that some reduction of subsidies would increase the price of oil such that the demand for smarter more fuel efficient cars would increase substantially, which I believe addresses another key issue. It seems to me that people rarely respond to the threat of calamity (i.e. global warming or dwindling fuel supply), rather they respond only when the "calamity" is tangibly felt, which clearly is not the smart thing.
      >
      > Similar to people, many auto makers foolishly do what's popular for the quick profit and are not being forward thinking in their mission. Perhaps being constrained more by the price of gas would force them to drastically alter their portfolio. In some ways this is a much less contentious approach as given the current spending scare people are relatively happy not subsidizing anything more than what's necessary, and the argument of preventing free markets and imposing government mandates are no longer valid.
      >
      > Thanks,
      > Rami S.
      >
      >
      > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Tyra Rankin" <tyra@> wrote:
      > >
      > > This is an excellent comment! Who posted this?
      > >
      > > Tyra
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > _____
      > >
      > > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of SusanD
      > > Sent: Friday, April 08, 2011 10:18 AM
      > > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      > > Subject: [hreg] Re: Energy subsidies
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Yes, and usually the subsidies we see and can calculate are just the direct hand-out amounts and don't even consider externalized expenses such as military dollars spent to protect the industries, especially in foreign countries.
      > >
      > > I know that in the case of nuclear energy, which I am more familiar with than some of the others, they have successfully externalized their waste storage and security back onto the government via lawsuits and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and have very little fiscal responsibility in case of accident here via the Price-Anderson Act. CNN Money did a great video about this aspect:
      > >
      > > http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/01/the-possible-cost-of-an-u-s-nuclear-disaster/
      > >
      > > This reduces their overhead since they require virtually no liability coverage and causes their operating cost to have yet another unfair advantage over more standard business models and their necessary expenses. I'm sure other, older industry has taken advantage of similar resources.
      > >
      > > I think that anytime you have newer and cleaner power industries having to compete with old, mature industry, the old industry--outright subsidies or not--have such financial advantage because they simply benefit from what one of the earlier posters called something like the revolving door between industry and government. In each case, they have had decades to draft legislation to protect their interests, lower their corporate expense at a price to the tax-payer and milk more and more services out of the government at all levels.
      > >
      > > I wish there was some data as to the REAL cost per unit of energy produced, with all the externalized costs added back in.
      > >
      > > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com> , "Jay Ring" <public@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > I have not heard this argument before. Could you explain?
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com> , Bill or Dorothy Swann <dbswann4@> wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > The dollars in subsidies need to reflect pounds of carbon emitted. Annual
      > > > > 42,600,000,000,000 #'s for ancient stored solar energy.
      > > > >
      > > > > Thanks,Bill S
      > > > > Ph 832-338-3080
      > > > > www.watt-tracker.com
      > > > > www.promotingevs.com
      > > > > www.hstech.biz
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > ________________________________
      > > > > From: Tyra Rankin <tyra@>
      > > > > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > Sent: Thu, April 7, 2011 12:26:13 PM
      > > > > Subject: RE: [hreg] Energy subsidies
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > Kevin:
      > > > >
      > > > > Great statistics. I assume that the $312 Billion is an annual figure spent on
      > > > > oil and gas subsidies worldwide. I wonder what they mean by â€Å"consumption
      > > > > subsidies?” That term makes me think the number for total subsidies for oil and
      > > > > gas is much larger. Few offer the full details on these figures.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > Tyra
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > ________________________________
      > > > >
      > > > > From:hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of kevin
      > > > > conlin
      > > > > Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 11:38 AM
      > > > > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > Subject: [hreg] Energy subsidies
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > This came across my screen this morning....
      > > > >
      > > > > --Although fossil fuels are mature and renewables currently cost more,
      > > > > fossil fuels still gobble up the lion's share of subsidies. The fossil
      > > > > industry worldwide benefits from $312 billion in consumption subsidies.
      > > > > Renewables only get $57 billion. (Note: This sort of stat will make fossil
      > > > > advocates switch from arguing that 'subsidies are wrong' to 'larger
      > > > > subsidies to larger industries make sense.')
      > > > >
      > > > > Heliosolar Design, Inc.
      > > > > Kevin Conlin
      > > > > PH: 281-202-9629
      > > > > kevin@
      > > > >
      > > >
      > >
      >
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