Texas continues to lead the way in wind energy, but don’t tell anyone

Texas leads the way in wind energy, but for some reason this is not common knowledge, nor is broadcast. First, a few statistics from the US Energy Information Administration.

“Texas produces more electricity than any other state, generating nearly twice as much as second-place Florida. In 2021, Texas accounted for about 12% of the nation’s total electricity net generation.

The share of electricity generated from wind in Texas has shot up from zero to 24 percent between 2001 and 2023.

In 2021, Texas produced about 26% of all U.S. wind-powered electricity generation, leading the nation for the 16th year in a row. Wind power surpassed the state’s nuclear generation for the first time in 2014 and exceeded coal-fired generation for the first time in 2019.”

Just picking the numbers 24% and 26%, the oil rich state of Texas gets about 1/4 of its electricity from wind energy and it provides about 1/4 of the wind powered electricity in the country.

Why? Four main reasons.

1)Texas provided powerlines to rural areas starting back at the turn of the century to harness electricity from such sources to meet a renewable energy goal of 15%.

2)Texas wind energy developers pay an annual rent to ranchers and farmers to put wind mills on their property. The number I recall is $5,000 per annum per windmill. One ranchers said he gets $55,000 per year for his eleven windmills which is huge supplement to his income.

3)Per now-deceased oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, he said on “60 Minutes” about ten years ago that wind is the future of energy in the middle of America; natural gas is just buying us time. Iowa gets about 43% of its electricity from wind energy with several other states getting over 1/3 of theirs.

4)The production of wind energy has dropped in cost to be as cost-effective, if not moreso, than coal energy. Natural gas put the first nail in coal’s coffin, with wind and solar energy adding two more nails.

The reason I love this story is it surprises people. But, it also shows how an oil rich Texas planned ahead and now is seeing the dividends. It should be noted because of these four reasons, other utilities not based in Texas have wind farms in that state. Not only is wind renewable, it is not a zero-sum provider of electricity. My wind energy does not affect yours.


PFAS forever chemicals continue to show up around the country

This is a repeat of a post from last year about more forever chemicals showing up with prior knowledge of the polluter, this time in New Hampshire. As of this writing, there is an issue with older plants in the Cape Fear River basin near Wilmington, NC. And, not totally unrelated, the Marine Camp Lejeune about an hour away had been poisoning Marines and their families for several decades with chemical run off into the water supply. The piece from last year sadly still rings true.

Recently, I have written several posts about the poisoning in groundwater by companies who use these forever chemicals referred to by their acronym of PFAS. Dupont was highlighted in the movie “Dark Waters” about the true story surrounding their making of Teflon in a West Virginia plant, where they denied for years what they admitted knowing in their files. In short, PFAS (or per and polyfluorinated substances) “is a harmful manmade set of chemicals that don’t break down in the environment and can cause medical issues like some cancers if consumed enough.” See the fact sheet below from the CDC.

In an article in The Guardian yesterday by Tom Perkins called “‘They all knew’: textile company misled regulators about use of toxic PFAS, documents show,” we learned that Dupont was not the only company to hide the fact the making of and disposal of waste from their product was causing major health concerns in adults and children in the area. Here are a few paragraphs from the article that can be linked to below.

“A French industrial fabric producer that poisoned drinking water supplies with PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ across 65 sq miles (168 sq km) of southern New Hampshire misled regulators about the amount of toxic substance it used, a group of state lawmakers and public health advocates charge.

The company, Saint Gobain, now admits it used far more PFAS than regulators previously knew, and officials fear thousands more residents outside the contamination zone’s boundaries may be drinking tainted water in a region plagued by cancer clusters and other health problems thought to stem from PFAS pollution.

Saint Gobain in 2018 agreed to provide clean drinking water in the 65-sq-mile area as part of a consent agreement with New Hampshire regulators, and damning evidence suggesting it used more PFAS than previously admitted surfaced in a trove of documents released in a separate class-action lawsuit.

‘People are sick, there are really high cancer rates and people literally have died, so when you see what’s happening and the company acts like this – it’s really upsetting,’ said Mindi Messmer, a former state representative who analyzed the documents and sent them to the New Hampshire attorney general and state regulators.

Saint Gobain has denied wrongdoing. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 12,000 chemicals used across dozens of industries to make products resist water, stains and heat. The highly toxic compounds don’t naturally break down, and are linked to cancer, thyroid disease, kidney problems, decreased immunity, birth defects and other serious health problems. They have been called ‘forever chemicals’ due to their longevity in the environment.

Saint Gobain Performance Plastics’ Merrimack, New Hampshire, plant had for decades treated its products with PFOA, one type of PFAS, to make them stronger. The company released PFOA from its smokestacks and the chemicals, once on the ground, moved through the soil and into aquifers. Hundreds of residential and municipal wells pull from the groundwater.

Please look through the CDC Fact Sheet below. If you have not seen “Dark Waters,” please watch it as it shows how Dupont knew and covered up their poisoning of others, then was shown verified causal data from the largest sampling of people in a scientific study and reneged on an offer to help and then lost successive lawsuits before they settled the remaining cases in a class action. I am sure there are some theatrics in the movie, but over all the movie will disgust you that leaders of a company could be so brazen. And, stop using Teflon cookware as their poison resides within many of us if we did.

Companies must be held to account. Leaders must be held to account. And, it cannot be so rarely done, that they make a movie out of the effort. Rob Bilott, the attorney who fought Dupont and Erin Brockovich cannot be the only folks recognized for fighting these battles.




Do not default on America’s debts

Note to Democrat and Republican leadership – DO NOT DEFAULT on America’s debts. That is beyond poor stewardship and borders on malfeasance. And, it certainly is not a conservative principle.

Find a way to get it done and then talk in greater detail about doing things to reduce the debt and deficit. You could start with listening to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Like the Simpson Bowles Deficit Reduction Committee, this group advocates both tax increases and spending cuts. Otherwise, the math simply will not work despite what politicians say.

Both parties have left something to be desired on dealing with our debt. Yet, it is the Republicans who have been the worse steward having increased debt by $2 trillion with a tax cut in 2018 when they led both chambers in Congress and the White House and unbalanced a surplus budget when the younger Bush took over for Bill Clinton again with a tax cut Bush’s Treasury Secretary said was unneeded.

The grandstanding needs to stop. Playing chicken with a very serious matter has to stop. Pretending to only care about the debt when not in charge has to stop. First pay our bills, then fix the problem with a holistic solution.

Thursday throwaways

The week is nearing its end as we head toward Mother’s Day. Here are a few throwaway remarks on this Thursday. In no particular order:

-Note to CNN, if you have a Town Hall with Donald Trump make sure you have an audience that represents America. Watching Trump lie with impunity is not a Town Hall I want to watch. To continue to tell the same election was stolen BS after the $1 billion plus and counting penance for gaslighting by Fox News is just stuff we no longer need to hear.

-Note to House Republican leadership, you should have avoided putting newly arrested George Santos on two committees. This future train wreck was very visible back in January when he was sworn in. The wisest course would have been to not seat him pending further investigation, but placing him on committees exposed the rest of the country to his deceptive ways.

-Note to Democrat and Republican leadership – DO NOT DEFAULT on America’s debts. That is beyond poor stewardship and borders on malfeasance. And, it certainly is not a conservative principle. Find a way to get it done and then talk in greater detail about doing things to reduce the debt and deficit. You could start with listening to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

-Don’t forget your mothers. Unfortunately, our two are gone, but we will remember them well. We will do something for my wife and mother of our three adult children, but it will be a more somber day. I used to call my mother at 7 pm every day when she went into a memory long term care facility, so I would think of her calling for months after she passed.

Have a great rest of your week and weekend.

Two rising sea stories from today (a reprise from four years ago)

I wrote the following post four years ago, but these stories still warrant attention. If your family has property on the coast, make sure you read this. The footnote is of interest as well.

In my newspaper today, two articles caught my eye about the impact of rising seas. The first is an editorial entitled “Rising seas eroding coastal property values,” written by Orrin Pilkey, the co-author of a study of this subject.

The other is an article called “Highest tide in 50 years swamps Venice,” by Elisabetta Povoledo of The New York Times. Beginning with the sensational, per Povoledo, “The Mayor of Venice, who said that the city ‘was on its knees’ has called for a state of emergency and the closing of all schools after the Italian city was submerged under…an exceptionally high tide – the highest in 50 years.”

At six-feet, the rising sea level in Venice was the most since 1966. Yet, per the article, “Last year, as severe weather in Italy killed 11 people, ferocious winds drove the high tide in Venice to more than five feet above average sea level.”

In Pilkey’s editorial, the study was reported in his book with Keith Pilkey called “Sea level rise: a slow Tsunami on America’s shores.” “The First Foundation, a non-profit research group with flood risk, analyzed 13.3 million real estate transactions, and compared the results to 25.6 million properties along the east coast and Gulf coast of the US. They concluded that there was a $15.8 billion loss in home value appreciation between Maine and Texas from 2015 to 2017.”

Pilkey made reference to increasing “sunny day flooding.” They note the sunny day flooding will increase even more until it becomes more permanent. In essence the sea water comes up through the storm drains in the street leaving standing water. A key quote toward the end of the article is a warning. “I know that if my family were living in or near a sunny day flooding area, I would urge them to sell and leave.”

Low lying coastal cities are at great risk. Global climate scientists have long said the City of Miami is the most at risk city in the world. Miami Beach is already seeing many more days of sunny day flooding. The state that had the most property loss in value is Florida. I would hope the leaders of that state would be banging the drum the loudest. As for Venice, they rely so much on tourism. Yet, that future looks to be at grave risk given its low sea level status.

Note: Below are two links to these articles:



Note further: A famous climate change “denier” in words does not match his rhetoric with his actions. Per a Politico article in May, 2016 entitled “Trump acknowledges climate change — at his golf course:”

“The New York billionaire is applying for permission to erect a coastal protection works to prevent erosion at his seaside golf resort, Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland, in County Clare. A permit application for the wall, filed by Trump International Golf Links Ireland and reviewed by POLITICO, explicitly cites global warming and its consequences — increased erosion due to rising sea levels and extreme weather this century — as a chief justification for building the structure.” These actions support the concerns of the Pilkey study of property values being at risk due to sea level rise.

Florida and the US deserve better

Apparently, I missed the announcement of the Florida governor running for president. I have seen a well-polished commercial that masks over all his warts starting this weekend, so I guess he is in. In anticipation of this, I sent the following letter to my hometown Florida newspaper in hopes they would print it. Please feel free to adapt and use.

In my home state of Florida, several major problems go undiscussed and unresolved. Climate change, environmental maltreatment, healthcare costs, better gun governance, job retraining, fresh water shortage, etc. Instead, the governor and legislature focus on contrived or exaggerated issues like wokeness, critical race theory, banning books that dare speak of our ugly history and punishing people and companies who act in an egalitarian manner.

It is quite disappointing to this independent and former Republican to know the Florida governor threw his hat in the presidential campaign ring. We need serious minded leaders who will help all citizens and focus on real issues not contrived wedge issues. What we don’t need are authoritarian bullies who pick on people who don’t agree with them.

Friday follies and foibles Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo. For a no-longer-drinker, have a Corona or margarita for me. Those days are long behind me, thank goodness. Just a few miscellaneous follies and foibles to start the celebration.

I saw where The Donald is considering testifying in his rape trial. The judge has given him until Sunday at 5 pm to decide. Oh, I hope he does. When your history is one of making things up, getting in front of a judge and jury is not the best action Trump could take. An attorney once said he got Trump to change thirty or so statements during one deposition to avoid perjury. One deposition – 30 or so lies.

Speaking of lawsuits, I am delighted to see Disney suing the autocratic governor of Florida for infringing on their business. The governor is picking on the largest tourism destination in a state run by sales tax revenue using them as a scapegoat for wokeness, which many cannot define. The term is used as a weapon like any name calling term, but at its heart it is good to be universally accepting and supportive of all people’s rights. To me, this is just one of the many infringements the governor and his party are imposing on people.

Between, DeSantis and his twin Greg Abbott in Texas, two of the largest states in the US are so poorly governed. Abbott does not get the national press DeSantis gets, but he makes a similar habit of not taking criticism well, saying derogatory things and infringing on the rights of those who do not look like our Europeans immigrants that came here.

There are imperfect people in the Democrat party, but I can argue policy with them or ask why they have not followed through on campaign promises? Trump created a bigger mess at the southern border than existed before he became president, but Joe Biden has not made things better. We need to hold him to what he said he would do, as we are not holding to our ideals as we make it very difficult to come here.

Finally, we need to deal with our debt problem, but not paying our bills is not the solution. It is the result. We need serious fact based discussion on a variety of solutions including raising revenue and cutting expenses. Grandstanding changes as the Republicans in the House have done is not the way to go about this. We should remind Republicans, they are not very good at solving our debt problem especially when in charge. Think George W. Bush cutting taxes to eliminate a surplus budget and Donald Trump cutting taxes to increase the debt by $2 trillion. Anyone can cut taxes, but we have to pay did things and watch spending both.

And the band played on – add Oklahoma to recent Texas and Georgia shootings

The band played on as the Titanic slowly sank is a metaphor for elected officials who fail to do things to remedy obvious problems. When shootings of multiple people occur routinely that is a problem. Americans have grown numb to spineless politicians, mostly Republicans, but some Democrats, who ignore the obvious.

The latest multiple gun death shooting occurred yesterday in Oklahoma as reported in these first few paragraphs of an article called “7 people found dead in Oklahoma were shot in the head in apparent murder-suicide, authorities say” in US News.

A convicted rapist on trial for child pornography charges is believed to have fatally shot six people, five of them teenagers, before taking his own life at the rural Oklahoma property where the kids were having a sleepover last weekend, authorities said Wednesday.

All of the victims were shot in the head, said Joe Prentice, chief of the Okmulgee Police Department and spokesman of a violent crime task force overseeing the investigation into the killings outside the small town of Henryetta.

The suspected shooter, who I will not name, died of a gunshot wound to the head, Prentice said.”

This is on top of last week’s multiple shooting in Texas where a drunk neighbor reacted poorly to being asked to stop shooting in his backyard at 11 pm as they had children. He went next door and killed them all with head shots and still is at-large. Plus, in between these two shootings was another one in Georgia, where fortunately no one was killed, just injured.

Yet, multiple shooting deaths is not the most common gun death in the US – it is suicide. An impulsive act, by a depressed individual, and Susie or Johnny is dead. Suicide is the leading cause of gun deaths in every state but one the last time I checked. And, a home with a gun is much more likely to have a suicide than one without one.

America leads the civilized world in gun death rates. Compared to the top twenty-two other wealthy nations, the US gun death rate is significantly higher than each one. When children gun death rates are considered, the US leads all other 22 nations combined. We are indeed exceptional. Exceptionally stupid in my view. How can a nation whose own children are afraid to go to school look them in the eye and do so little?

Conspiracy theory fans like to look for conspiracies under rocks and in crevices. But, the gun industry funding of politicians is a conspiracy right in front of their noses. These funded politicians will stall the ball while the clock runs out issuing platitudes like thoughts and prayers, now is not the time, the 2nd amendment gives us the right, etc. Well, one thing is for certain with so many multiple shootings and daily gun deaths, there will always be gun deaths while the gun is still smoking.

Gun owners and non-owners can agree in majority and even significant majority on various actions. Do them and then do more. Get a group of parents in a room and they can share with you what is needed. It is a multi-faceted problem and requires holistic solutions. One thing is obvious – doing little or nothing “ain’t working.”

Call me crazy, but why pick on Disney in a tourism state?

The following is a letter I sent to the editor of my hometown newspaper. On occasion, they have been kind enough to print my letters. Let’s hope this one passes muster. Please feel free to adapt and use.

Call me crazy, but why is the governor of my home state of Florida slugging it out with arguably the most alluring tourist destination in a state which relies on tourism revenue to pay the bills? Like many corporations and people, Disney is not perfect, but they are trying to be an inviting place to all Americans and foreigners regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they worship, who they love, etc.

As for the governor (who may run for president), he apparently does not like dissent, criticism or history. We need our elected officials to represent all of us and work on our real problems, not exaggerated or contrived ones, so believes this independent and former Republican voter. The governor could start by doing things in his power to be an inviting state throwing out a welcome mat to everyone. Not only will that increase revenue for all, it is the right thing to do.

Thursday throw abouts

On yet another rainy April day, let me throw about a few thoughts this Thursday.

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi is taking steps to become more autocratic. Citizens who worship differently, are getting on the wrong side of his controlling nature as their civil rights are squeezed. With India soon becoming the most populous country in the world, this should add concern.

Modi’s steps are more dramatic than what is happening in Florida and Texas with their controlling governors. Yet, I did find it interesting that Disney Corporation has sued Florida governor Ron DeSantis for abusing his authority to control a corporation. As an outsider looking at my home state, Disney’s arguments have merit as DeSantis can’t seem to handle dissent or criticism very well. It should be noted that his fellow congress members are being none to kind as they remember DeSantis for the journalists.

Speaking of authoritarians, the former president had another bad hair day yesterday. A judge in one of his trials, the defamation one, told his attorneys that Trump’s calling the trial a sham in his communications is inappropriate asking Trump to stop the social media attacks and saying he may be exposing himself to further penance. Then, Jean Carroll took the stand and said she is only here because Donald Trump raped her. She will be cross examined, but this is not what the former president bargained for as she gets to tell her side of the story under oath.

Finally, why should people care what Boris Johnson has to say anymore? I saw his name at the top of some article I chose not to read. Why? He is no longer prime minister and he has never been too keen on truth telling. Adding kindred spirits Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, these three former elected officials need to sail off into the sunset and leave us alone. Maybe some billionaire, who unlike Trump is not cash poor, should offer to buy them lifetime room and board on some deserted island together with no contact to the outside world. That would make the world a safer, saner and sweeter place to live. Maybe he could put the name Trump up on the building to make the former president happy.