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The “Public’s Interest” to protect the United States environment and reduce pollution has moved in an extreme direction, supported by government, which is not in the “Public’s Best Interest”.

In the situation of energy and paper, Public Interest is emotional and Public’s Best Interest is economical. The cost to the United States is the loss of global leadership, loss of domestic jobs, loss of tax revenues, loss as a global energy and paper product provider, and diminished scientific development of earth bound energy sources and the wood, pulp and paper industry process.

Positive Results of Public Interest . The positive effects of Public Interest has pushed initiatives to the point where paper companies are saving the forest and the environment, (but loosing the forset to home, resort and hotel development), by diverting waste from landfills, de-creasing the overall carbon footprint of paper products and decreasing dependency on coal and other fossil fuels. The paper industry’s goal continues to recover 60% of all paper that Americans consume for recycling. Using old paper to make new paper uses 30% to 50% less energy than making paper from new trees. Pollution is also reduced by 95% when used paper is used to make new sheets. The process for making paper for print in the United States utilizes more than 60% biofuels. Biofuels are considered neutral with respect to the emission of carbon dioxide because the carbon dioxide given off by burning them is balanced by the carbon dioxide absorbed by the plants that are grown to produce them. Paper mills even use what’s left over from the manufacturing process to generate bio-energy on site.

Unions: Public Interest often is not in the Publics Best Interest

Unions have a history of expressing the “Public’s Interest” engaging many restrictive and empowering aspects not in the “Public’s Best Interest.” Unions can easily be viewed in the “public’s interest” and its’ power and influence utilized to support the “public’s best interest” to protect wages, benefits, working conditions and job retention. Not in the public’s best interest can be the stubborn nature of Unions not to negotiate resulting in job lost. Unions acting in the Public’s Interest have pushed for more benefits and higher wages. The result is major corporations, inform their workers they must accept lower wages and benefits to make US companies competitive with their foreign rivals. Companies are demanding Union concessions and that workers accept concessions, claiming that this is the way to “save jobs.” The AFL-CIO and SEIU unions have given little or refused concessions accepting job layoffs claiming that State and Federal Democrat representatives will answer the problems of newly unemployed workers.

Going Green: Problems and Opportunities

Going Green is a “public interest” but often taken beyond practical application or not properly industry applied can be counter productive to serve the “public’s best interest.” Often going green is not in the public’s best interest but a strong public interest. When International Paper announced the closure of a mill in Franklin, Virginia, politicians and

newspapers mused about the possible redevelopment of the site as a biomass power generation plant, a wood pellet manufacturing plant, a cellulose ethanol plant, or a “green” mixed-industrial facility. Any of these proposals would offer only a fraction of the jobs that are being eliminated, and none would fully utilize the specialized machinery at the mill. The facts show that newly planted and cut trees for paper produc-tion keeps the forest from being sold for commercial develop-ment. Trees can be replanted in places where they were harvested and also in places where they don’t currently grow. Through public interest, some people still believe that saving trees is the leading solution and trees will be saved if we stop using paper by using electronic storage and usage. The old days are gone when it comes to the destruction of forest for wood, pulp and paper products. Replanting methods and faster growing trees allow for a balanced approach. In contrast, not in the public’s best interest, electronic devices are much more complex and expensive to recycle, recover and reuse due to the toxic nature of their components. The aver-age data center serving our electronic devices consumes the same amount of energy as 25,000 households, every day of the year.

By contrast, electronic server farms powering computers are the fastest growing users of fossil fuel in the world, and the energy they use doubles every year. Plus most electronic data usage requires more print paper in the paperless system. The paper most time is dis-carded and hopefully recycled with the data as back up. Elec-tronic devices do not grow anywhere or on anything and are not a renewable resource.

Public Interest diminishes Tree Growth.

Going Green may be too expensive for the financial health of many communities forcing jobs overseas. China and Indonesia “Green” concerns are not pursued with vigor. The “Print Grow Trees” campaign shows that supporting print on paper gives landowners the financial incentive they need to keep America’s woodlands safe from commercial develop-ment. The public interest to save trees has created a situation to diminish more tree growth. An average of 4,000 acres of forest is being converted to commercial development every day of the year, year after year. Trees contribute to many ecosystem benefits such as water, wildlife and carbon sequestration. Financial pressures are causing the owners of almost 60% of America’s woodlands to sell or transfer their land to commercial development at an alarming rate.

Problem: Public Interest creates Tax Loss and Unemployment

Public Interest often claims victory to save nature and be in the Publics’ Best Interest. As in the recent past and continuing today, the regulated use of oil and coal deposits, barriers to access energy deposits and closure of wood, pulp and paper plants, results in the loss of thousands of jobs. For example, with the many paper mills closing in the US, reports estimat-ing that there could be over 3,600 jobs lost at one paper mill and countless jobs never created with the regulations that block access to natural energy. The report predicts a dramatic impact on truckers, loggers, local businesses and restaurants resulting in a spike in the unemployment rate. The region’s tax base will also take a severe hit. For example, in the Isle of Wight County’s economic impact study estimates that $19.2 million in state tax revenue and $13.5 million in local tax revenue will be lost with the mill closure.

Page 59 - JanFeb2014

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