LeRoy dairyman talks with D&C about immigration and energy
LeRoy resident and Genesee County Farm Bureau president Dale Stein gets to talk politics in the Democrat & Chronicle this morning.
Spoiler alert: He says he is voting for John McCain. He says that's his personal decision, not an endorsement from the Farm Bureau.
Among his concerns are the high cost of energy and immigration.
"Too much of this country believes we have enough labor, and we don't," said Stein, who owns Stein Farms in LeRoy, Genesee County.
The labor shortage hasn't affected Stein's own farm but he said it has caused 25 percent less cabbage to be grown in western New York because farmers knew they wouldn't have the workers for harvest.
Congress won't talk about it because they won't get re-elected," said Stein, president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau.
On energy, he favors more drilling and nuclear power.
Stein's energy costs have increased 40 percent in two years, and now his electricity bill is $7,000 a month. Electricity powers the milking system and the fans that keep the cows cool.
The Volt will rely on its electric motor, powered by its new battery, and will go up to 40 miles without using a drop of gas. For the nearly 80% of Americans who drive less than 40 miles a day, that would mean they could effectively eliminate gasoline from their lives. After 40 miles, the Volt's gas engine switches on, but unlike the Prius', it doesn't make the car move an inch. Rather, it generates electricity and feeds it to the battery, much the way an emergency generator in a hospital keeps the lights on during a blackout. This allows you to go an additional several hundred miles before you need either a fill-up or a charge-up. "With [past electrics] people had to change the way they lived," says Andrew Farah, the Volt's chief engineer. "I want a vehicle that doesn't ask them to change at all."GM expects the volt to be in production by 2010. That's a hugely accelerated time line for bringing any new car into production. This is like GM taking all of its cash, walking into a Las Vegas casino and placing it on red. If the bet works, it's a game changer not just for GM, but for American auto makers and American consumers and our place in the world. Fortunately, more than 33,000 people have already said they want to buy the car. More useful information here.
Does a 5-cent deposit on a soft-drink can help the environment? Mandatory deposits encourage recycling and reduce litter, but these programs typically spend $500 for every ton of cans and bottles collected, which makes curbside recycling look like a bargain. States without mandatory deposits -- like Texas and Washington -- have proven that the most efficient way to reduce litter is to hire clean-up crews, which pick up a lot more than just bottles and cans. Recycling takes money that could be used for other clean-up efforts: when New York's Sanitation Department started its recycling program, it cut back on street cleaning. Are reusable cups and plates better than disposables? A ceramic mug may seem a more virtuous choice than a cup made of polystyrene, the foam banned by ecologically conscious local governments. But it takes much more energy to manufacture the mug, and then each washing consumes more energy (not to mention water). According to calculations by Martin Hocking, a chemist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, you would have to use the mug 1,000 times before its energy-consumption-per-use is equal to the cup. (If the mug breaks after your 900th coffee, you would have been better off using 900 polystyrene cups.) A more immediate environmental impact has been demonstrated by studies in restaurants: the average number of bacterial organisms on reusable cups, plates and flatware is 200 times greater than on disposable ones.