Monthly Archives: August 2020


There have been a number of suggestions on the federal level that stimulus packages potentially benefit certain states at the expense to others.  OK, Mitch McConnell and Rick Scott has both said that there should be no bailouts for “poorly operated blue states” by “red” states.  The assumption here is that “red” states are better more responsible in their operations that “blue” states, and that there is a net transfer of funds by “red” states to “blue” states.  So aside from the fact that we are all in this together, and we are all better off when everyone benefits in the long run, the question is – it this red-blue argument really true?  And if not, what is really true?  Let’s take a look at some basic statistics tracked by the federal government and others.

Let’s start with the basic one.  What is the net federal flow of funds per capita?  Negative numbers mean more money leaves the state than comes in.  What this graph shows is that Kentucky and Virginia receive the most federal funding per capital than any other state (over $9,000/person).  The states with a large net funding going out are Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Dakota, New York, New Jersey, while Illinois and Washington, while negative, are closer to net zero.  The states near net even are California and Colorado. Texas and Utah are slightly positive.  The rest of the states average a net influx of $4,000 per capita.  States asking for help in the Covid 19 crisis?  New Jersey, New York, California and Illinois.  Not what you expected.

Net Fed dollars


The GDP is highest in many of these same states, plus Minnesota, Virginia, and Delaware).  So, are these net payers because they have high income?  The answer is to a degree, yes, although Alaska, Delaware and Wyoming are high income subsidized states, Alaska particularly so.  Alaska, Delaware and Wyoming are states with falling incomes over the past 5 years, and challenging budgets – Alaska is considering ending payments for oil since their Treasury is now broke.  Not Connecticut also has a falling income.

income per capita

GDP per capita

So the reality is that these states that are net payers tend to have better economies.  They also have better education and spend more money, but that is for the paper that I am writing about this.  Stay tuned (but don’t be Kentucky).


More than half the wells tested in the Piedmont area of North Carolina tested exceeded the standards for hexavalent chromium.  Private wells are not regulated so a disturbing question is how many people are drinking this contaminated water.  Treatment is not pursued.  Very concerning

Bottled water is the bane of every utility industry.  But more interesting is that Impossible Foods suggested that their vegetable burger requires 75% less water, 95% less land, and 87% less greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy demands plummeted as covid19 started.  In the US and Europe, the decrease was over 10%.  Couple that with greatly reduced fuel costs, and I think the energy companies will be fine.  Oil and coal demands will drop 9% and 8% respectively.  Global carbon emissions and other pollutants will likewise decrease.  So maybe covid-19 was Mother Nature’s wake-up call that we are screwing things up on Earth?

There is a recent study from the University of Illinois that dry distiller grains (a byproduct of ethanol production that is used in feedstock) is really high in Phosphorous.  The animal eat the feedstock and poop out the phosphorous, which can contaminate nearby surface waters.  But these researchers figures out a way to recover over half of the phosphorous from the dry distiller grains.  That byproduct can be reapplied as fertilizer reducing the need for phosphate mining and water pollution.  Sounds like a neat idea.

And given that another study indicated that soil adjacent to streams are impacted by returning salmon, I can see a whole new effort to maximize these two ideas.  Add to that the fact that the EMOH device (for oxygen addition) really works and stream quality could be improved.  Yu can find our papers on EMOH, but pond treatment, manure ponds, silviculture, wastewater are all good uses of the technology.

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