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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 12th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Great Little State of Idaho has one of the most important US National Energy Labs – The Idaho National Laboratory (INL). There was a time there were 52 research nuclear reactors at the INL which is in size equal to the whole State of Rhode Island – now the number of working reactors is zero.

The Foreign Press Center of the US Department of State and the Idaho Department of Commerce have arranged for a Media Tour of Idaho May 10-14, 2010 that covers many energy facilities in the State that
sprung up out of cooperation between the three State Universities and the Idaho National Laboratory, and private enterprise that saw here a chance to commercialize some of the technologies that sprung up from the cooperation between these public held institutions and private enterprise. We are participating in this tour and find it very exciting.

There are 13 participants from world media. The interesting thing is that besides myself and a Swiss team all the others are from Asia. The largest group is made up of Chinese conventional press followed by a team from Radio Taipei and by a Japanese. The media is based mainly in Washington DC, New York, Canada, and some, like the team from Taiwan, came specially from home base.

The tour started with a visit to the State Capitol in Boise. The Capitol was built in 1910 under Governor Hawley – a Republican – and the energy is of geothermal origin – hot water is being piped into the building, locally from 500 feet depth, in order to supply it with heat. The Lieutenant Governor – a part-time and non-paid position in Idaho – was the one to greet our group as the Governor himself is preparing to take off to China at the head of a business delegation.

I said the Great Little State of Idaho because Idaho has only 1.5 million people – so it is among the smallest States of the US, but it is GREAT in our opinion because by State Law, the State Government of Idaho is not allowed to operate under a deficit – they cannot vote expenditures more then what the State income provides – so there is no State debt. Imagine for a moment a Washington Federal Government without debt, or Greece and the rest of the EU without having created debt, and if our imagination is good enough we might actually discover that the Idaho example shows that it is possible.

But that is not all. When the economic crisis hit in 2008, obviously, it also hit Idaho, but Idaho could not vote a stimulus package like Washington did, because it would have meant debt, and that is not possible. The upshot was that some constriction in the budget had to happen, some people lost jobs because there was no money, but there were no complaints – this was a self-understood step that had to be taken. Something the people in Greece not just Washington DC, should note also.

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Our article series can be found via: www.sustainabilitank.info/?s=IDAH…

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One Response to “This is the beginning of a series of articles originating from our participation in a Foreign Media Tour of Idaho – a State of one and a half million people, that has no debt by State Law, and is host to one of the US National Energy Laboratories that was in the past, and will be in the forefront also in the future, when dealing with the energy subject. This reporting is started at the Sun Valley Lodge and is a work in progress.”

  1. htomfields Says:

    You can learn more about the lab’s research projects by visiting their facebook site. www.facebook.com/idahonationallab…

    Meanwhile, here is a 9-minute video that highlights many of the lab’s energy and security projects.
     www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.p…

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