Monday, August 4, 2008

Virginia in the News

Virginia has been in the news lately. The Washington Post is once again touting it as a battleground state in the presidential election. A new fact I was not aware of is that McCain is apparently considering Rep. Eric Cantor as his running mate. Cantor is a four term Congressman from Virginia, and (like the author of this blog) a graduate of both The College of William and Mary and George Washington University. Seems like a small fish to me - I doubt he'll get picked - but that's an interesting tidbit. It's notable that McCain isn't going near any of Virginia's bigger name Republicans - like George Allen.

Forbes magazine also reported its annual ranking of states in terms of their competitiveness. For the third year in a row Virginia ranked first, but the runners up closed the gap from last year. In fact, the first two paragraphs are dedicated to the fifth-place state - Georgia - without mentioning Virginia at all until the third paragraph! The Bacon's Rebellion blog, on my blog roll, reports on this as well.

You have to take these rankings with a grain of salt - the underlying point is that we're doing well. Lots of rankings like this exist (maybe I'll do a blog post on it some day), so you have to look at where you fall out in the distribution across several of them.

Finally, yesterday's Post reported on a number of new wind energy projects that are set to go up in the western part of Virginia over the next several years. This is very exciting, but there seems to be some opposition from... not Big Coal... not state Republicans... but ENVIRONMENTALISTS! Yes folks, wind turbines can kill birds and destroy the tranquility of the mountain forests where they will be built. Good grief. I fancy myself an environmentalist for all intents and purposes - but these people are going to have us living in caves pretty soon. An environmentalist opposing wind energy? I was dumbfounded.

Apparently Virginia passed a law in 2007 that made the state very friendly to the development of wind energy, which got a lot of firms interested in new projects. Kudos to Richmond! The article did not talk much about the state's coal options. We have a lot of coal left in Virginia, and we really need to look into how to burn it AND extract it cleanly. A lot of people scoff at the idea of "clean coal", but my understanding is there's something to it. It's certainly worth checking it out since we're sitting on so much of the stuff.


JSN said...

Looks like the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club is noting that they aren't building the wind farm just anywhere, but in the most remote, natural areas in Virginia. Neither side in the debate seems to mention where the most wind in Virginia actually is, but it hardly matters.

There is a "wind belt" in America which runs from North Dakota to west Texas, where the air runs across the plains east of the Rockies.

Pretty much all the electricity needs in America can be gotten from the wind there.

dkuehn said...

jsn - you should read an earlier post of mine on T Boone Pickens

Evan said...

I hadn't heard about the McCain possibility. In any case, you forgot the VA news item about the e. coli outbreak at Goshen Scout camp! Not what you were looking for?

JSN said...

It's quite sad that, now that wind power is getting some traction, that we aren't looking to Lester Brown or other experts in the field, rather an aging oil man.

By the way, I'm having a lot of fun pointing out that nowhere do Becker or Posner talk about freedom, liberty, independence or justice in their discussion of the possibility of American decline. Posner's comment clearly mentions social conservative concerns only to point out they have no impact on the economy, and military strength only in terms of expenditures. I left a comment on the Becker post, too. :)