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Perception Vs. Reality:
Where Are The Real Issues?

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I realized the true distance between reality and perception on the gun issues when I tried to pick up a box of .22 ammo at the Walmart late last year. In all the discussion about background checks, high capacity magazines and assault rifles, I am having a hard time figuring out which part of this proposal would cause the general public to wipe out the available supply of .22 shells!

We can run into the same problems on the other issues – the key is to figure out which parts of the proposals are actually going to affect us, and how. A lot of these issues are complex, and the answers are not always the same from area to area. An excellent example of this recently came up on the energy front. In West Texas, we have a lot of wind energy capacity. Wind energy has really taken off in this region and, for the most part, is becoming an effective alternative energy source for our area. One of the main problems with sources of energy like wind and solar is that you have to back it up. In West Texas, the power companies are installing natural gas turbines that can be started very quickly if the wind quits blowing, and that works pretty well.

While in Washington a few months ago, I listened to a presentation from a Southern California power company. The speaker was discussing how environmental regulations were tending to shutter old power plants and making it very difficult to build replacement power plants in that state. As the older plants shut down, the state is moving toward an increased percentage of renewable energy. When I asked what was being used to back up the renewables, the representative indicated that was a major concern that had not been solved. Maybe the wind just always blows in Southern California.

Separating the issues from the politics and prioritizing all these issues is a major undertaking. The association folks are doing our best to keep the issues properly ranked, but sometimes keeping perception versus reality straight can be a real challenge.

Kelley Green is Director of Technical Services for the Texas Cotton Ginners Association in Austin, Texas. He contributed this ginning article. Contact him at (512) 476-8388 or kelley@tcga.org.

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