One of my favorite songs, and covered by everyone from Van Morrison to Kermit the Frog…”It’s Not Easy Being Green”, takes on an entirely new meaning when applied to saving the planet. Before I get accused of being a knee-jerk naysayer, let me remind the reader that I have espoused my views on “Global Warming” in prior columns. In short…I’m not sure what’s happening to the atmosphere or who is to blame, but I’m of the opinion that something is happening, and I’m in favor of erring on the side of caution. That means…we need to be better stewards of the planet. It just bothers me to see it politicized and corrupted.
Speaking of politicized and corrupted, here’s a good example of how the effort to be “green” can be expensive in addition to “not easy”. The city of Nashua, NH, under the guidance of Mayor Louzeau, decided it would like ten new garbage trucks that ran on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) which burns clean and is relatively inexpensive. It requires little refining between source and retail and this plays a major part in keeping the cost low.
Consider, though, that each new truck costs an extra $40,000. above and beyond a normal diesel model. Whoa…that’s pushing a half million bucks in extra costs for ten trucks. That fact alone would slow down most buyers, but Nashua found some help with the cost. That “help” came from the State of NH Department of Environmental Services. This is the agency that licenses and oversees everything from septic system design and installation to hazardous environmental issues. They also levy fines over a large array of violations from wetlands to gas stations.
Yes…the D.E.S., even as the State struggles with budget cuts and red ink,found there was four hundred grand lying around to help a single city achieve a single dream. Unbelievable. Every taxpayer, I’m sure, will be getting a little “thank you” note from Mayor Lozeau.
The silliness doesn’t end there. You may already have asked yourself…”where do you fill up with CNG?” Well…nowhere, at the moment. There are roughly three…yes…three CNG stations in the State of New Hampshire. I think two of them are owned by the State and do not sell to the public, or to cities who may just have purchased new “Green Garbage Trucks”.
Naturally, as with any ill-fated project being driven by politicians and governments, the obvious solution is for Nashua to have its own CNG filling station. A brand new one that will require the purchase of land, permits from the D.E.S., and of course, construction and then staffing. No word yet on whether or not this will be a “public” station, or just another facility for the City of Nashua to maintain.
You see…there’s nothing wrong with the idea. Green, eco-friendly trucks. The mistake is getting the taxpayers involved. If there is a market for it…and I bet there is…let a private company buy those trucks and make a go of it. Find customers willing to pay a little extra, and I bet you could, to dispose of their trash with the services of said company. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll all know the market wasn’t ready for it.
It’s another example of the “Two Americas”. The one with common sense…and the one without it whose mistakes are always funded by BOTH groups.