Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mercury good! Mercury bad! Which is it?

Is there anything other than “Yuk!” to describe this weather? Summer began Sunday morning, but it’s keeping it a deep secret for some reason. The weather folk tell us we’ll see some real summer in a couple more days with temperatures into the 80s. But then they add the possibility of showers and thundershowers, especially afternoons. Real summer weather, they say.

I certainly wouldn’t want to leave out my Tuesday senior fitness report. I went, and now I’m home again.

I have an upper partial plate I call teeth. One of those teeth split in half and broke off. I took it to the dentist to get it fixed and it was, but it was an all day event. There’s something very uncomfortable about not having one’s middle upper teeth.

Yesterday I commented on how much it cost NASCAR for those Air Force flyovers at their races. My Fearless Friend, who’s an avid NASCAR fan, said he had seen somewhere that they cost NASCAR nothing. Pilots have to have so many hours in training flights that some are simply scheduled for event timing and the publicity/advertising for the military is priceless. Makes sense to me. Thanks, FF.

Maine government has a new way to have you spend more of your money. A new law requires the manufacturers of those fluorescent light bulbs to provide and pay for recycling them. When they burn out, current law requires they properly be eliminated to prevent excess mercury from getting into the ecosystem. On the Maine.gov website there is, or was (I haven’t checked recently), a whole document on the procedures to following if one of those bulbs breaks.

There has been a voluntary recycling program in effect for several months where people with those bulbs return burned out ones to a store participating in the program. That store then takes care of making sure they get properly recycled. Now, when the new law takes effect, the recycling will be mandatory and financed by the bulb industry.

Businesses don’t normally work that way. Sure, they’ll provide the funds for the program and possibly even make special means to collect the recycled bulbs. Education, another requirement of the bill, will be provided to teach people about the program and the proper use and disposal of the bulbs. Legislators in Augusta will tout the success of the program.

The big question is, where will the money to do all that come from? The manufacturers aren’t going to take a loss so the logical answer is the money will come from us. There’ll be a subtle price increase which only Mainers will have to pay and it will be to satisfy the requirements of the new law.

Did I mention another provision of the law where the State will set the amount of mercury allowed in the bulbs? If that requirement ends up different than what is allowed in the rest of the nation, I’d bet manufacturers won’t create a special bulb just for Maine. It might lead to the end of fluorescent bulbs in this state.

It always amazes me how state government works. We must use these new fluorescent bulbs that contain mercury. Yet we can’t use a thermostat that uses mercury because it’s a danger to the environment. I wonder if Maine will ever get its act together.

Have you ever noticed how weather like we’ve been having can put a person into a foul mood?


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