Bees, Burners, and Steel

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A few random items for your consideration:

The loss of bees has been a hot topic lately. But as Mouse and Garden and the Star Tribune both point out today, it is not the loss of all bees; it is the loss of European Honeybees.  We have over 1,500 native bees on this continent and the European Honeybee is the only one being affected by what is now being called Colony Collapse Disorder.   Of course, we have large numbers of honeybees because they are darn good at pollinating (with reportedly one-third of our food relying on such services) and because of the honey.  However, realizing that only this one type of non-native species is being affected does bring up some interesting questions (which I’ll leave to you to ponder).  Perhaps this is more about a flawed industrial system for food in our country than it is about a breakdown in nature.  The potential tragedy of this disorder being all of the lives and jobs that are dependent on this food system remaining intact.

On the energy front, while many folks were organizing to improve our energy future via the Senate Environment and Energy Omnibus Finance Bill, Xcel Energy was busy trying to undermine the use of a distributed (potentially clean, given the proper fuel source) energy system at the Rock Tenn paper recycling facility here in St. Paul.  Rock Tenn employs some 450 Steelworks and handles half of Minnesota’s recycled paper.  Fortunately, the Twin Cities Daily Planet is shedding some light on Xcel’s lobbying. 

Speaking of Steelworker jobs and the environment.  The American Iron and Steel Institute was in D.C. yesterday testifying on efforts to reduce global warming pollution produced during the manufacturing of steel.  They are making some pretty big promises about the potential to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions during the production of steel.  Of course, it is all in the research stage and in need of demonstration.  But as long as we are going to keep mining taconite from the Range, wouldn’t it be great to demonstrate once and for all that creating jobs up north and protecting the environment aren’t always in opposition?

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