Letter N

NIMBY-NOT IN MY BACK YARD. This is an acronym I run across a lot. It has to do with the idea that people and neighborhoods are opposed to new construction projects, business locations and development.

As stated before, I work in a power plant so lets start by a quick review. 1. No, it’s not nuclear, and 2. No, I don’t know Homer Simpson, and though we don’t eat doughnuts 24/7, we do like them. I may have said that before, but it always comes up.

The NIMBY mentality is usually the worst in the Northeast section of the United States. Initially, it seemed to be focused on power plants, waste water treatment facilities, prisons and other industrial areas. My personal favorite? People are opposed to wind turbines, but not cell phone towers everywhere. Many are afraid to fly, but they won’t support High Speed Rail Systems. Presently, the rejections have trickled down, which is odd because here in New England, it seems that at every major intersection, we have a CVS, a Walgreen’s and a Dunkin Donuts. I wanted a CVS near my house. It was fought tooth and nail by the locals. We finally got it, but it’s not allowed to be open 24 hours a day. The good news, it’s clean and bright, and it displaced 2 crappy looking buildings on the same spot. This is how urban renewal works.

Things are not always as they appear. Recently, some energy companies tried and failed to build a natural gas line up into New England to address the unstable and inadequate supply to the area. On a similar note, I’m well aware of the problems with the XL pipeline in the Midwest. I’m opposed to it, because who it really serves, and it’s not the people in the Midwest who need the oil to heat their homes. Adding to the problems are the environmental issues not being addressed.

How do I not sound like a hypocrite here? I spoke to a friend of mine, who over dinner one night conveyed her fears, and apprehension for the new pipeline up into New Hampshire. She thought it was dangerous, and extremely detrimental to the environment as well (coincidentally) to the value of her ski condo; “oh right, then there’s that” I said to her indignant scowl.

The day after the pipeline was voted down, there was a big congratulatory press release from a company who provided major financing to the “resistance.” Are they the ones who whipped up the hate fear? Maybe. How do I know this? Well, it turns out they were my employer, and now, a former employer who sold off the power generation assets to focus on the larger profit gas industry. The bottom line; they operated the largest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in New England. if the new pipeline went forward, they had a lot to lose. “The Truth,” is not always “Out There!”

These days, it’s not always easy to know what business’s and industries really are good for the community; and that means not only the local, but the regional community. One thing is for certain, blind rejection will  turn away not only tax revenue, but in many cases good paying jobs and opportunity for business, science and technology to develop; unless “you” are trying intentionally to push those jobs out of the United States?

I shouldn’t feel so pessimistic. I recently read a comment at the bottom of an article concerning coal mining. “Thank God,” he said. “America is finally addressing the disappearing coal mining jobs and the proud American industry that it is. With this problem solved, let’s start thinking about bringing back the glorious whaling industry as well!” (HELLO SARCASM!!! Just in case you missed it.)




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