Sunday, February 4, 2024

Nitrogen Tax, Carbon Tax offsets should be reconsidered

Skip Stiles wrote an article in the Daily Press Sunday, 2-4-2024; Skip advocates a carbon tax, much like our nitrogen tax in Virginia, to help "in theory" offset carbon emissions. I offered my experience with nitrogen credits to offset nitrogen loads to our waterways and how this tax, and that is what this is, has actually adversely affected our rural communities in Virginia, and he should reconsider.


I read your article in the Sunday paper today. 

I have to disagree with your approach to carbon reduction. I would point to the nitrogen offset credits program that came to us in the Obama era, designed for wastewater treatment plants, both centralized and decentralized, and the protection of the environment. In reality, these same types of credits have caused more harm to the environment than have helped. Offset nitrogen credits are expensive because only some large treatment plants will sell credits when new wastewater treatment is needed. Overall, the nitrogen offset credit program adversely affects our state's rural population but not so much the urban centers. Urban centers produce the most nitrogen and phosphorus discharge in stormwater runoff. However, local leaders are looking for the state to do something like you are. Local communities are reluctant to raise taxes on their urban communities to deal with these issues you are concerned with. Why? Leaders are leaders because they want power and fear being voted out. You blame the governor when you should point the finger at local leaders. 

The nitrogen offset credit program needs to be dismantled to address aging communities built before 1960 with decentralized wastewater treatment. We can now set the end-of-pipe limits of 10 bods, 10 tss, and a TN in the neighborhood of 15-20mgl. But then these same communities have to buy credits to get to zero and a recurring charge for credits. Rural communities with newer technology will not happen because large urban WWTPs are unwilling to sell credits as they want to keep them for themselves, and when they do sell credits, most cannot afford them. So, in the end, VDH's and DEP's hands are tied, as local community leaders look the other way, and we continue to pollute. Trust me, I know. This past October, I presented a paper on this subject at the 2024 NOWRA conference in Hampton, VA. 

Our issues in the world are significant, but America has generously reduced its carbon footprint while China and India continue to build coal-fired plants at a record pace. If America went carbon neutral tomorrow, our impact on the planet would be near zero. To help you understand the actual cost of a carbon tax, you are regulating our average consumer to a life of costly taxes the state government will no doubt have to implement to pay for the credits, and one has to ask from where these credits will come from. Solar farms? Wind farms? Even solar farms and wind farms hurt the environment, as some believe shore wind farms could be killing Right Whales as the structures attract food Right Whales eat, and the traffic of boats to and from these offshore wind farms is hitting and killing whales. Solar farms destroy the environment by reducing vegetation and trees. Whose job is it to what?

Come on, you know this one! Remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Where the left misses the boat altogether is found in Earth wobble. Removing groundwater from certain parts of our Earth has shifted our polar axes. Nasa confirms this. The tilt of the Earth is moving partly due to groundwater withdrawal, and when this happens, I speculate, as a keen observer of life on this planet, that we produce climate changes. It comes down to the Earth's tilt, whereas some parts of Earth now tilt more towards the sun today than in decades past, thus warming and climate change. 

If you want to get a cup of coffee, I can share my expertise and help you develop solutions where my expertise fits the ongoing saga of climate change. I do care, but our approach is based on greed for money in the form of carbon and nitrogen credit exchanges. 

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