Day: February 7, 2022

The electric vehicle industry is booming in Kentucky. Will ownership follow?

Daniel Monroe has let more than 275 people sit behind the wheel of his 2018 Tesla Model 3 and experience what he calls the “transformative effect” of driving on an electromagnetic field. 

“People hit that accelerator and they go, ‘Whoa,’” said Monroe, president of Evolve KY, a group that advocates for electric vehicles in.

Letting people drive his Tesla is one way Monroe hopes to create converts in a state that consistently ranks near the bottom nationally in EV ownership and infrastructure. “My car can’t save the planet staying in my driveway,” he said.

For nearly a decade, Evolve KY has done its part to increase EV ownership in Kentucky, most notably, installing 91 EV chargers around the state. But Kentucky remains one of the least EV-friendly states. 

Last summer, Bumper.com, a vehicle data website, ranked Kentucky 45th in the U.S. for owning an electric vehicle. It said the state is third worst in the nation for charging stations per 100,000 residents and in the bottom five for electric vehicle infrastructure.

“Kentucky is not alone in this regard—many states in the region are lagging in the adoption of EVs and the necessary infrastructure to support them,” said Bumper.com spokesperson Kerry Sherin.

A similar study from the insurance comparison app Jerry placed Kentucky in the bottom three states for owning an EV and the Consumer Choice Center rated EVs as “barely accessible” in Kentucky. 

Read the full article here

What Did We See and Learn From the Protests in Ottawa?

Guest host David Clement welcomes political commentator Rowan Czech-Maurice and Anthony Koch from AK strategies to discuss the convoy that became an emotional outlet for Canadians across the nation.

‘One-size-fits-all pesticide policy hurts farmers and doesn’t help pollinators’ — Why Boulder, Colorado ignores science in push to ban neonicotinoids

It is commonly cited within the beekeeping community that pesticides called neonics can negatively impact honeybees.

An oft-invoked visualization shows a bee landing on a sunflower grown from seeds coated in neonics, triggering its neuroreceptors and leading it to collect nectar in an inefficient and bizarre pattern.

While this is harmful to the foraging bees that are at the end of their lifecycle, this doesn’t mean that this is leading to colony collapse disorder or massive deaths of bees.

What’s more, recent evidence has proven that pesticides such as neonics (short for neonicotinoids) and sulfoxaflor haven’t been as responsible for declines in bee populations after all.

While we understand the urge to protect and promote pollinators such as honeybees in Colorado, Boulder County needs to allow farmers the choice of pesticides…. Banning neonics means that sugar beet farmers must use the pesticide Counter, which is applied at 9.8 pounds per acre compared to 24 grams per acre for neonics.

That’s why, whether at the local level or state level, lawmakers must keep in mind that pesticides are vital for farmers and turn to science, not politics, when it comes to crafting smart policy.

Originally published here

With Rising Food Prices, We Can’t Afford To Worsen the Position of Consumers

The highest inflation in 13 years is hitting American consumers. Since September 2020, overall food prices have risen by 4.6 percent, with eggs, poultry, meat, and fish being the most affected. As consumers scramble to make ends meet in a labor market that remains volatile, it stands to reason that U.S agriculture policy should follow suit.

Over in Europe, the situation for consumers is comparable: with food prices on a 3.4 percent inflation rate, automatic indexation systems in countries that apply them have already affected wages. However, not all European countries benefit from the same luxury, and even those getting a salary boost are still seeing their purchasing power reduced. Meanwhile, European Union lawmakers continue their push for mechanisms set out to make the food system more sustainable.

Sustainability in agriculture means different things depending on who you ask. For the EU, sustainability has long meant a reduction in crop protection tools (i.e. pesticides), even though there is no link between organic pesticides and a more environmentally-friendly food system. Since the early 2010s, the EU has been leading the way in confronting neonicotinoid insecticides, which have been accused of harming honeybee populations. On top of these bans, the EU now seeks to export its policy abroad: The European Commission has announced that food products grown with the help of two specific neonicotinoids will no longer be allowed to be sold in the EU.

There are two ways in which you can analyze this decision: 1) is it scientifically sound? and 2) is it suitable for trade? Uniquely, the European Commission gets it wrong on both ends.

Just this year, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency decided that the two neonicotinoids in question – clothianidin and thiamethoxam – were not harmful to pollinators, reversing its own 2018 decision. The entire conversation on “bee-harming pesticides” needs to get back to the facts, meaning that the European Commission needs to establish that these insecticides harm pollinators and should be transparent about the fact that bee populations are not declining. If it did those things, we would not be looking at increasingly dire situations for farmers needing to protect their crops from pests.

The other issue is that of international trade. This is not a food safety concern, per the idea that the imported foodstuffs are bad for European consumers. It applies European political and environmental conclusions to trade partners who did not reach those conclusions. Decisions like this need to come under close inspection by the WTO and have no place in an international food market based on free exchange. Consumers should have choices, including those choices that the European Commission disapproves of politically.

For consumers, reduced crop protection toolboxes for farmers is bad news. Unable to protect their crops from pests, farmers will see a significant reduction in output, leading to higher prices. This is not just theoretical. Just last year, France voted to cancel its ban on neonicotinoids because it saw a dire situation for its beet farmers, who saw a dramatic production decline. At the brink of needing to import sugar beet from abroad, French lawmakers abandoned the ban for three years.

In 2015, the French far-right National Front campaigned in the European Parliament for a ban on the insecticide sulfoxaflor, often named as an alternative to neonicotinoids. Back then, Marine Le Pen’s party was shot down politically on the issue, only for the French government to outlaw the substance early last year. One of many decisions that led to the crisis of beet farmers last year.

The United States cannot afford to follow the path of Europe. Increasingly, environmental groups have targeted insecticides, leading to a battle in New York between farmers and legislators wishing to outlaw the substances in question. For all the talk of listening to farmers in the push for sustainability, political actors have done very little of it. In fact, the policies seeking to impose a one-size-fits-all solution to farming will reduce agricultural output and increase prices at the time we can afford it the least.

Originally published here

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