As President Obama makes his Southeast Asian swing, someone likens it to his checking what occurs in the region when China flexes her muscles. It is best said in an adage, “When China spits, everybody swims!”
Hey! Hey! Hey! Even we volunteered to jump off our rescue boat yelling at the iceberg before us, “We’d approve casino and everything else you wish.” Humiliating, though, that we do it with servility or like slaves of rich and powerful folks nearby as to grandly ignore fiduciary duties.
When investors spit on our face
While everybody’s swimming confused, some are swimming upstream by telling lies about their HK and Macau trip. It is rumored that some potential investors are linked to organized crime or triad in Macau. There’s material that would validate suspicion on this very interesting point.
Reportedly, the governor said that they are hiring experts from Macau because the casino industry there is different from Vegas. Wrong! Why do you think China sought assistance from the Nevada Gaming Commission to set up operations and investments in Macau? Is it because it trusts the host group?
Furthermore, it is rumored that our Macau trip was taken via a private jet. Whose private jet is it, folks and would you like to revise your trip report?
The report in hand grants any person of decent reading comprehension to see that this administration and legislators tried fancy footing about people they’ve met to cover their tracks, only to stumble with bigger lies!
I will explain this mess upon completing a critical review of the report. It is more the reasons why the Latin term “gravitas,” meaning “integrity to leadership,” becomes most critical as we consider preventing the introduction of organized crime and corruption into the island.
Exercise in futility on energy
Recently, a bunch of legislators attended a conference in Guam on liquefied natural gas, otherwise known as “snake oil.” With their trip and per diem paid for by the taxpayers, are we supposed to see a decrease in power bills in the near future from the use of LNG?
Indeed, power companies throughout the world are converting to LNG because it is cheap, the supply is limitless, and the sources close enough to make it economical. None of these measures apply to the CNMI. LNG experts have candidly told Guam that snake oil is not the most economical or efficient option for islands situated in the middle of the Pacific.
Issues like storage and regasification terminal requirements must be addressed, especially the cost involved to set it up on the islands—all three islands—so there’s plenty of it at all times. Guam needs to spend about $800 million on storage in addition to ascertaining that all activities come to a full stop when an LNG ship enters the harbor.
Have we explored joint use of the Tanapag Harbor with the military? Or is this an issue to ignore from the outset as we settle, once more, using our outmoded television over vision? It’s all designed to meet EPA standards.
But then an educated observer offered that Guam should get out of the EPA “guillotine before our epitaph reads: “The operation was a success but the patient died.” Woe!
The battery system facility
With newly improved battery system, wind power ought to do the CNMI a whale of good. We could look forward to reliable, stable, and economical power system. How do we back up wind turbine power generation?
“Advanced lead acid batteries provided 10,000 megawatt-hours of on demand electricity to the Electric Rehabilitation Council of Texas grid in the last 15 months,” according to an article on energy in the Biz Journals.
“The batteries can respond to grid conditions in seconds by harnessing electricity from the nearby 153 megawatt wind farm. The success of the Energy’s 36 megawatt Notrees Wind and Battery Storage project in West Texas could lead to even more utility battery storage projects in Texas and across the country.
“The speed and accuracy of the system’s response during the pilot confirmed the benefits of the Notrees Battery Storage project and ERCOT has made it a permanent market service. The batteries can stabilize the voltage on the grid, provide power during periods of peak demand or absorb power from the wind turbines when it’s not needed.”
Solar is expensive!
Firstly, the islands suffer daily from what’s known as “cloud cover.” It means clouds roll over the islands and cuts sunlight from hitting solar panels consistently.
Secondly, households must spend anywhere between $8,000 and $15,000 per solar panel and installation. But why would you venture into an unreliable system that would cost you an arm and a leg?
At day’s end, it would cost you as much as your current power bills run by fossil fuel. Is it worth the trouble and investment if efficiency is reduced to 18 percent?
Would geothermal work in earthquake-prone isles? You can read up how Japan has slowly moved away and into wind turbine. There’s fear of the system completely shutting down when the Earth crushes pipes lowered to harness heat from thousands of feet below the Earth.
So what has leadership done to effect major policy on alternative energy? More than four years of second-guessing the future doing nothing except procrastination fueled by the lack of political resolve to begin lowering the high cost of power.
Planning for the future
In doing the right thing by doing it right, most admirable is the open position taken by Rep. Roman Benavente voting against the casino law. He acknowledges the voice of his people and that an issue of such magnitude is best decided by securing the disposition found in the “will of the people.”
As more folks read the casino law, the more it reveals its humiliating inherent shortsightedness. Benavente is correct that the issue belongs to the people and must therefore be given their right to dispose of it.
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.