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President Obama wants to push part of his $1 trillion so-called stimulus package into infrastructure and I have a terrific place for him to start.
Forget roads and bridges and the rest. Though important, they’re mostly usable.
What isn’t particularly usable (or sensible, for that matter) is the goofy way we all hook up to the electric grid.
If the recent ice storm didn’t convince you of that, I don’t know what will.
Why any rational person would disagree that the millions of miles of electric wires that link us all shouldn’t be buried is a mystery.
More expensive? You bet. But wouldn’t it make more sense than stringing the dang lines to pine poles and leave them vulnerable every time it ices up, the wind blows too hard or whatever else nature can dish out?
Consider, too, just how vulnerable we are as a nation when our very sanity it seems is tied to the ability to flip the switch. Were we to be attacked, our enemy would need only to wipe out electricity for a few weeks, leaving us shivering in the corner like a bad bowl of Jello.
That’s where Obama comes in. Like his politics or not, if the man wants to dump money into infrastructure, he should dole some out to the utility companies and get this project under way.
Consider the benefits, aside from the obvious ones of security and our ability to survive natural disasters more easily.
First, it would save millions of trees that are used each year to replace power poles.
Second, the aesthetics of not seeing the lines and poles would enhance the natural scenic beauty (and would certainly smooth over those who don’t want to see windmills for miles on end if Obama ever gets them built).
Third, birds and animals wouldn’t get baked on the lines nearly as often. Remember the story last summer of the buzzard that got cooked, dropped into the weeds and started a brush fire?
There are some downsides, but none that can’t be overcome. Of course those who set power poles and lines for a living wouldn’t see much job security in this plan, but if Detroit workers can be retrained to build electric cars, you boys can certainly be trained to bury the lines instead of hang them.
No, this couldn’t be done in a few years; it might take decades. But it certainly would be a service to our children and grandchildren on many levels, and clearly a better use of Obama’s stimulus money than some of the pork being pulled in Congress.
E-mail Ben Carlson at email@example.com.