Crypto Currency Versus Barter

Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column; Published on 10/30/15, a www.SamBurlum.com Exclusive

Source: There are many other forms of instruments for conducting a financial transaction for goods and services, so what are a few alternatives to hard cash, or having to use credit and debit cards? Sam Burlum discusses some of the more popular possibilities.

Individuals whom have lost faith in the traditional monetary system have been in search for other ways to exchange their goods and/or services for other desired needs and wants, using other platforms to be compensated for their wares. Since the housing bubble crisis in 2008, and the evolution of electronic software and secured purchasing platforms, Crypto Currency and Barter are on the rise. Crypto currencies such as Bitcoin and OneCoin have gained popularity internationally as confidence in national currencies, such as the US Dollar, have been dwindling.

However, Crypto Currency is not alone in the competitive race to capture financial exchanges using other methods than paper money. Barter is on the rise, and has made a big comeback since the days of the 1930’s depression. Barter platforms have allowed for local businesses to exchange their services for items, goods, or services that particular business directly needs to grow its presence on Main Street.

Both Crypto Currency and Barter have their advantages, depending weather your business operates locally or internationally. A business or individual is not limited to just one platform, unlike paper money which is controlled by government institutions and banking interest. Crypto Currency and Barter are not a regulated security, unlike other formal exchanges of money. These platforms seem to be more self-regulating, where trade organizations help create and institute ethical standards in which how these new forms of trading can be utilized.

Crypto Currency such as Bitcoin or OneCoin are a platform which no real paper money that is exchanged. They are not regulated by the Federal Reserve, nor by any other banking institution. Bitcoin is an electronic digital currency, which a value of Bitcoin is exchanged for products and services, within a network of software that connects other users of bitcoin to each other. OneCoin works in similar fashion however OneCoin is backed by real and solid gold. These crypto currencies can only be utilized by other individuals within their respective network.

These two platforms have grown in popularity with companies that offer their products on a worldwide market. Apple for instance has begun to accept these different types of currency in exchange for products at their stores and online. Other businesses have begun to accept these types of currencies for payment include big box retailers (in selected markets), technology companies, and in areas where paper money may have little or no value. The largest demographic using these new currencies are Millennia and Z generation, since they are more in tune with e-wallet systems.

Barter on the other hand has a very strong presence with businesses located on Main Street, USA. Local businesses can trade directly with other businesses, and in some cases, with their customers, for items the business may need in order to grow. This reserves cash for things where barter may not be applicable such as rent, utilities, or payroll for employees. Barter has been around since mankind began to trade goods with each other, however Barter has reinvented itself a number of times and has taken on a new form in today’s market.

Platforms such as Badger Barter, allow for a business to engage in purchasing items for their business ranging from print materials and marketing collateral to property maintenance services and professional services. Trading credits can be used with any other business which is a Badger Barter Member, in exchange for products and/or services from over 600 participants. Credits can also be deposited in another account via the Badger Barter member services website. Businesses which have at least a 30% markup, or higher, on products and services are the most ideal fit for a barter system.

Furthermore barter has proven to even increase cash flow. For instance where a person visited a restaurant as a guest of someone who was a member of the barter platform, like the dining experience, they may return to that specific restaurant on their own accord (not being a barter member themselves) and would pay cash or credit for their meal. The restaurant then gains another faithful patron; from a situation it may have not before been able to reach that consumer.

Barter can also be utilized in exchanging hours of labor, thus “trading time” which is often done in small communities where “friends” and “neighbors” might rely on help from one another to complete a task. An example is the carpenter may need his car fixed yet may not have all the cash to pay the mechanic for their services, so the mechanic may trade his expertise in fixing the car in exchange for having the carpenter come over and fix up the garage door or renovate a closet at the home. Just about any type of product or service can be exchanged in a barter situation as long as two people agree upon it.

So which is better for you: Crypto Currency or Barter? It depends on your needs. If you are more localized with your business or individual needs, then a barter system may work better to your advantage. If your business is heavily invested in selling its products and services online, and services international orders, then a Crypto Currency may be more beneficial.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

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The Minimum Wage Debate: What Are We Really Missing?

Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column Published on 8/01/15, a www.SamBurlum.com Exclusive

Source: Sam Burlum begins the discussion relating the minimum wage debate: do we make law to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour as some are demanding or are we missing the bigger picture and asking for the wrong request? Samuel Burlum investigates

In June of 2015, the City of Los Angeles had adopted an ordinance which mandates the hourly minimum wage to be raised to $15 per hour over the next four years. Prior to the action by the governing body of LA, the City of Seattle passed a similar ordinance. This came after much public outcry over the issues that surround the dubbed “income inequality” and “fair share” for individuals who may receive minimum wage compensation for entry level positions or jobs that are considered low skilled work. Theses recent actions taken by government that mandate individuals to be compensated based on their need rather than being compensated on their performance sets a very dangerous precedence.

There are many questions to be answered as we debate this issue. This is a very complicated issue that deserves more discussion and inclusion of input from economist, small businesses, and intellects who have studies social and community engineering. Government officials whom were quick to answer a call of action to mandate the minimum wage hike to $15 per hour, were either responding to popular consensus or just eager to capture political votes, I doubt thought of the severe consequences of this very action. There are many economic and social ramifications that small business and society will have to tackle for years to come as a result of increasing the minimum wage in the name of income inequality.

Concerns surrounding the minimum wage hike are far beyond the common arguments discussed by small business and consumers whom speak against the measure, afraid it will cause a spike in prices of products and services that rely on entry level labor to provide. With the middle class continuing to struggle to meet their family’s daily needs, they now have to add into the equation higher prices for goods or services once considered “affordable,” or “economical.” Such an example is in the area of fast food restaurants, where a family of four would entertain a meal for just under $20; has now jumped up in the past 10 years to double the cost. With workers in such establishments now demanding higher pay for entry level work, restaurant chains will be forced to pass along the cost to the consumer, thus making the fast food less affordable.

We must also tackle the issue of what someone’s value, time, and/or skill set are worth. Having to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for a job or task that clearly does not justly match the service or labor provided will have workers in jobs that require further education and training, maybe more dangerous, or require more investment into the craft will surely be advocating for a larger paycheck that reflects their individual value proposition. For instance, a truck driver whom must content with an industry which is over regulated and must invest time into extensive training, sometimes without pay, can expect to be paid between $13 per hour to $23 per hour, depending on experience and safety record, according to payscale.com research. The average median pay for a truck driver is $17 per hour. Why would someone want to risk their lives behind the wheel, assume all of the stress and responsibility, and have to deal with being away from home for weeks at a time, for $17 per hour, when they can work a Mc-Job without any stress for $15 per hour and be home every night? Clearly the stage is being set for a serious disagreement by folks whom provide more value than those who are working at entry level positions.

Opponents also says that a minimum wage hike send the wrong message overall to society. By “entitling” people to make, what are wages usually reserved for middle class families and the trades, we are sending a message that society is diminishing the value and virtue of self-responsibility. When a person is compensated based on need, and not on performance or based on the skill sets they provide, we are undermining incentive for those who wish to provide quality work, those who wish to continue to invest into their trade or professions in order to stay competitive in the job market. If everyone is to receive equal pay regardless of the value they bring to the table, then why should anyone work so hard?

One area of great debate is how do we justify a $15 per hour minimum wage for someone whom works in an entry level position, when someone whom serves in the military, whom put their life on the line to defend our freedoms, who will face hostile situations, only makes between $15 to $22 per hour depending on the range of skill sets and assignments they are commanded to carry out. If one can make $15 per hour as an entry level position, then why would anyone want to join the military as a career choice knowing that such a job consists of far more risk? To offer $15 per hour for a job reserved clearly as entry level, in this situation should be reconsidered and denied as a matter of national security.

Companies are already looking for ways to lessen the need of minimum wage workers in their operations. In retail and grocery stores, automated self-service checks out registers are quickly replacing cashiers and front end clerks. You may see one individual who would now oversee four registers where in the past you would have one clerk to every register. Fast food restaurants and airports have been replacing people with self-service kiosk. Some businesses have stopped hiring all together, including some businesses interviewed who are family owned and located on Main Street. More workers are also hired as “part-time” and are limited hours, so they can never reach full time status.

Mandated minimum wage increases are just a band aid on the broken arm of the much severe challenge at large. The real source of the problem is the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but yet everyone is afraid to say it. As we the people, we should not be demanding $15 per hour compensation for a minimum wage job; we should be demanding better jobs. Jobs associated with minimum wage compensation are usually jobs set aside for low skill or no skill workers. These are usually entry level positions where the value provided by the employee is not of its greatest value relating to the product or service offered to the consumer. With the economic down turn in the United States, and the vast migration of manufacturing jobs lost to cheaper labor overseas, individuals once in middle management or low paying skilled jobs have had to resort to accepting what work is available.

Instead of demanding that politicians write law that increases minimum wage, we should be demanding our jobs back that did allow us to properly support our families. We should be asking our nation’s leaders to address the hard questions, such as how are they (the elected officials or government decision makers) going to help recreate the preexisting conditions necessary that will foster innovation, encourage the renewal of the entrepreneurial spirit, and restore American Free Enterprise. Provided the opportunity to properly operate without the over burdensome number of government regulations, and control over free trade agreements, such companies would provide many quality jobs to support products and services manufactured here on US soil. We should be holding elected officials and government regulators accountable to their actions that created today’s unfriendly and adversarial business climate that has forced many companies to move valuable manufacturing jobs overseas, jobs in which paid at entry level above the $15 per hour mark.

We should be questioning the very ideals and details of “free trade” and be demanding “fair trade” where these policies have diluted the American market place with goods that are cheap replicas of lesser quality from foreign countries instead of making policy that would protect our very own income producing centers and industries. Instead of trying to be politically correct in the “global village” how come we did not protect our valuable industry profit centers that needed a well-qualified skilled labor force to assist in the success of the company, in which that company would then offer its goods as a valuable export to the world?

The issue of “income inequality” is just a cover up, masking the much bigger problem at large: where are all of the jobs that would allow for an individual to challenge themselves in seeking higher education or mastering a trade or specific niche skill set? Have we not any jobs left that allow for our society to take onto themselves the responsibility in seeking or aspiring to higher advancement. Are we a nation that now produces nothing but roll back deals, ATM fees, and big macs? Are we setting a trend where mediocrity rules and true value creation is minimized? The answer to this entire debate is better jobs that offer better compensation equivalent to the skill sets provided by the worker. The answer is to minimize some of the adversarial conditions which discourage entrepreneurs from making financial investments and which prevents them from taking a risk. To do those two things we would be providing something much greater than income equality; we would be providing opportunity equality, which fosters by natural progression far more individual wealth and freedom.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

How to Have a Positive Car Buying Experience

Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter-Author of The Green Lane;” Published on 4/15/15, a www.SamBurlum.com Exclusive Positive Car Buying Experience

Larry M. Quiah, Sales Executive for Hillside Honda, located in Jamaica Queens, offered the best Customer Service, was the most transparent in providing vehicle history and information, and offered the most stress free purchasing experience.

SOURCE: We visited four Honda/Acura New-Used Car dealerships in the Tri-State New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut in search of the most stress free vehicle purchasing experience, while shopping for our ideal vehicle; a low miles 2004 Honda Accord. With our specific year, make, model, and budget, we were ready to make a deal. I have always been fascinated by how much value I always seemed to get out of a well serviced used vehicle. As an early driver, I never had the luxury of borrowing my parent’s vehicle, or a friend’s car; so I had to be my own best guarantee, making sure I was getting the most out of every vehicle purchase I made. I have been a driver for over 23 years, accumulating a record of having over a million miles behind the wheel, including multiple coast to coast trips. During that time, I have own and driven a number of vehicles, and so I decided to share with you some of my practices in how I have managed to maximize my vehicle purchasing experience, thus getting the most value for your money. I set out to find and purchase the lowest mile driven 2004 Honda Accord, for under the price of $10,000. So I bet your wondering, “Of all of the vehicles to choose from, why a 2004 Honda Accord?” For many reasons: the Honda Accord is one of the most popular vehicles on the roads today; are known to surpass a life span of 300k miles when properly maintained; have a great resale value; and the 2004 Honda Accord has been known as a year that offered some of the best fuel economy ratings for the vehicle model itself. Purchasing a vehicle can be stressful. The internet has relieved some of the hassles such as price haggling, vehicle ownership history information, and availability. However when you do find that perfect used car, you still have to engage into the purchasing process. With the specific criteria I had chosen, such a vehicle would usually only be found at a car dealership. Having four vehicle candidates to choose from, I hit the road buy my vehicle. When I found the exact vehicle I desired, I called the night before my visiting the dealership, and made an appointment. This usually provides you an opportunity to have the vehicle held for being sold for a 24 hour period of your call. The next morning I arrived at the Honda dealership in Jamaica (Queens), New York. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a smiling and polite Larry Quiah, sales representative with Hillside Honda. He already knew my name, the vehicle I wanted, and had the vehicle ready for test drive. When we sat down in the office, he provided all the documents about the car: Carfax report, vehicle service records, vehicle history, a vehicle frame inspection, and even the latest work order of items addressed prior the vehicle listed for sale. The vehicle had already been discounted prior to our arrival. There was no hassle, haggling, stress, or sales pitch. The experience was all about transparency and getting know the client and their needs. Larry made sure the vehicle would be ready for pick-up upon our arrival that afternoon. The sales manager who shared with their policy and procedures of their internal, used vehicle selection service. After our interaction, I felt great knowing that they, the staff and the dealership, put such care into every vehicle and client. At the end, they asked if we would provide an online review about our experience. I would refer my friends to this dealership. Finally I found a car dealership that understood the value of service without the hassle. What we ended up with was our desired 2004 Honda Accord, with just over 60,000 miles on it for the price of $8953 (before taxes and tags); fully serviced and certified. So you ask “How did I get the exact vehicle I desired with $1000 to spare?” Here is what I did: I did my research. I utilized online resources Kelly Blue Book, Auto Trader, Cars.com, to get information on the vehicles, pricing, options, and their locations; compared them; narrowed the list down to vehicles that had the exact options I desired. I made appointments ahead of time. I made sure the vehicles were still available before showing up at the dealer. I spoke with the sales manager ahead of time to inform him that I planned to purchase the vehicle with cash and financing was not necessary. I let them also know that in the event I was satisfied with the vehicle, I would be fully prepared to conclude the transaction the same day. Stuck to the budget and paid cash. I did not let the upsell distract me from sticking to the budget. At the end, I came home with money still in my pocket because I stuck to my guns on my budget. Paying cash, usually means that you have all the money you need to make the purchase, always gives you an advantage, since the dealer does not have the hassle of having to secure financing on your behalf. It’s a good opportunity for a dealer to get inventory off the lot, without the extra expense. Know thy vehicle. I asked for the following information: Carfax, service records if available, location which vehicle was first sold when new, and a list of the dealer’s work order-list of prep work for resale. I thoroughly inspected the vehicle myself, looking for worn out parts, areas of repaint on the body, and test drove the vehicle. Spoke with mechanic who serviced the vehicle. Mechanics usually will share their opinion about vehicle brands; why they like a vehicle model over another. If they had serviced the vehicle, then they are a first source of information to explain what work had been done to the vehicle previous to the car being resold. I was lucky in this case the vehicle was first purchased, serviced and resold by the same dealer. I asked for extras. I asked for other concessions. I asked for an extended warrantee at no cost (even if it was an aftermarket warrantee); a vehicle prep and detail, second key, small details that add up. I was willing to walk away. There is an old saying, “the one who can afford to walk way has the most to win.” Remember this was not a vehicle I had to have; it was one I liked to have. Since the vehicle was older and not many people are looking for a 10 year old car, the dealer did all they could to satisfy my request. I treated dealership staff respectfully. I stayed pleasant, joyful, and polite. I did not put any pressure on the sales representative with time restrictions, nor did I complain about how long it took to complete the paperwork. I got to know the sales representative. What school did he attend, his favorite vehicle, and other questions. With the pressure off, the sales representative had us out the door and back on the road in record time. So what are we going to do with a 2004 Honda Accord? That’s a whole another story…stay tuned!

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Innovation is Key

Innovation is Key 2Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column Published on The Alternative Press, and  SamBurlum.com 

History will show, every time the United States’ free market system was met with economic crisis, innovation and technology ushered in at the eleventh hour to save the day. Our great nation and its free economy has faced over forty-seven recessions, since very conception. Advances in farming technology allowed us to overcome the challenges an economic engine which depended on agriculture production in the late 1700’s. After the Civil War it was the race to connect America coast to coast that spurred on the age of the railroads. Evolutions in manufacturing processes and the spread of available electric power allowed for hard goods to cost less and be readily available on demand in the late 1800’s.

After World War I, it was the ignition of the automobile industry that transformed the way we travel. Globalization was a result of World War II which followed the aches and pains of the Great Depression. The Airline industry age of the 1960’s and the Computer age of the 1980’s, all heroes which save our nation from the brink of economic disaster. The Information Age of the 1990’s and todays Digital Age, provided significant employment opportunity and replaced many of the lost jobs of yester year, allowing for those who lost their previous career position a chance to transition to new employment. Behind each revolution was technology and innovation; conveniences that allowed us to do things better, faster, and at a lower cost.

Today, our country faces yet another critical fiscal crisis. Economists that provide statements that were are not in a recession are dead wrong. Our nation’s debt is the highest in history, with the US Debt Clock now showing a US National Debt of just over 17 trillion dollars in the red, and a Total US Debt just over $61 trillion dollars in the red, it does not take an economist to realize, that we need innovation and technology once again to step up to home plate and hit a home run. Wall Street might be on fire, experiencing record highs and seeing peak profits, it is a very different picture on Main Street USA. In order for our National Debt to be cleared today, each US Citizen would have to cut a check for $56,000 and each tax payer would need to shell out another $151k for us to clear the slate.

The White House and Advocates on the Hill are calling for a national increase to minimum wage, raising the current hourly rate from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour. Participants in the “Minimum Wage Economy” labor force want $15 per hour. Skeptics and the opposition to the minimum wage hike argue that such a large increase will slow down the even slow economy, and deter small business owners from expanding their operations or hire any additional help. Advocates for the minimum wage hike say that the majority of the available jobs are minimum wage low paying entry level jobs, jobs that cannot sustain the very households that provide the labor. Both sides of the argument are still missing the bigger picture…even by raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour is not going to make an impact on paying down $17 trillion in National Debt.

My question is this, if we demand a higher standard of wages or revenue, then why are we settling for mediocrity? I mean $15 an hour for a whopper flopper, really? So we are going to undermine the value of a tradesman or professional who spent years refining their craft or expertise so that we can feel good about giving everyone and “equal” footing? What about demanding a strong national industrial policy that breaks all the barriers that are holding back new job creation from industry sectors relating to technology and innovation? Why are we not considering sun setting regulation that stifles small business and deter them from hiring local employees instead of penalizing them for frivolous victimless civil matters? Why don’t regulators sit down and coach small businesses on how to navigate through the regulatory landscape instead of crushing their dreams with over-burdened enforcement action? Why are we not revisiting trade policies that allow for the balance of fair trade instead of free trade? Most of all, why are incentives provided to companies that take jobs off US soil and we over tax and over regulate the companies and businesses who choose to stay behind, because it the right thing to do?

I could go on and on about policy and the regulatory landscape, but in the mist of it, we need innovation to swoop in like superman and save the day.

Technology and innovation that creates hard goods, hard goods that need to be manufactured, can provide employment opportunities for skilled workers who have had to settle for a minimum wage job. No other industry can provide for such saving grace than the green Industry and the tech arena. With public policy mounting in line with the available selection of product lines aimed at environmental mitigation, energy conservation, and efficiency, are products and market segments which not only provide jobs, but economic benefits to consumers, if they embrace them. Early market adoption of community based, value creating technology will allow for yet another wave of local and regional job creation to take hold. In addition to skilled labor for manufacturing, the green industry provides a platform for accountants to provide energy audits and surveys. We have already seen the transition of construction workers who have become trained and readied to install solar and LED technology. Retrofit technology and innovation in the emissions industry and fuel economy movement offer jobs to technicians who lost their jobs during the General Motors and Chrysler dealer consolidations.

The new found riches in natural gas, light sweet crude, and advances in propane for auto gas (even with the controversial practice of fracking) have giving the United States the ability to replace foreign fossil fuels with domestic supplies. Other local businesses have been stimulated as a result of domestic energy exploration, such as trucking, construction, and real estate. With massive reserves of natural gas waiting to be extracted, the US now has a value export besides consumer goods to offset trade balances and debt. Coal still used in other parts of the world can still be mined from high yield areas such as Pennsylvania and Kentucky can still keep these traditional mining jobs alive, yet again creating another commodity ready for export.

The digital media age still yields vast opportunities. Content creation and content management focuses on targeted users within a specific geographic and/or demographic audience. These jobs are jobs can be filled with folks that base skill sets derive from journalism and traditional media backgrounds; marketing and advertising professionals, communication and cable industries; as well as workers from the computer era, retrained and updated on new technological delivery devices that give direct content to consumers. Behind the scenes I/T networking jobs are still in high demand; this time instead of tying together the web of desk top computers, it is become a job of mobile device management, integrating the thousands of apps and connecting tens of millions of end users. Design and functionality will continue to thrive as we the consumer asks for style, convenience, and information at the very tip of our fingers when we want it.

No matter the technology, innovation is the key to jump starting Main Street again. These jobs can fill local store fronts and vacant space. Main Street is counting on us to believe in it again. Micro industries and micro economies are a valuable tool to reinvent ourselves. With unemployment at an all-time high (sorry but the statistics do lie), all options to create free market free economy jobs need to be on the table. Who will step up to the plate and be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, or who will be the next Elon Musk? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, as history will demonstrate, innovation will prevail just in the nick of time.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

What the Frack?

What the Frack aWritten by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column Published by The Alternative Press.com, www.SamBurum.com, and Natural Awakenings Magazine-Milwaukee.

The argument and debate of fracking is still alive and well.  Head of one of the largest multinational oil and gas companies in the world, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson who was one of the most outspoken industry leaders on the practice of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, joined a lawsuit to stop construction of facilities that are common place to a fracking operation near his homestead in Texas.  I find that interesting since Exxon Mobil is one of the leading companies in the oil and gas industry who has adopted the practice of fracking which is a practice that most associate the recent resurgence and rise of the energy industry in America.  So I have to ask “what the frack?”

Fracking has become not just a hot bed topic pitting public policy against large oil and gas companies who look to capitalize on their investment into technology which has allowed fracking to be a viable way to mine oil and gas from deep underground in hard to extract places such as from shale, sandstones, and lime stones.  The economic boom that fracking has driven even has had an effect on local communities, neighbor fighting with neighbor, over individuals who wish to cash in on their unearthed treasurer against those who value the importance of environmental preservation of the most precious natural resource that is used as a part of the practice and effected by the very practice, water.

As you drive through New York’s Sullivan County, beyond the stretch of road known as Hawk’s Nest, there are the visual reminders that the argument is alive and well.  Signs that read “No Fracking” inside a circle with a strike threw it are present along the mouths of driveways of private properties which line Route 97, a major thoroughfare that runs along the Delaware River, just outside the Port Jervis, New York area.  In opposite fashion, are the outpost and sight of testing rigs, survey teams, and oil and gas pipeline workers ready to make hey even when the sun is not shining.  This is also a common sight in Bainbridge, New York, in the county of Chenango, which is a town located along the Susquehanna River.  Both regions are at the center of debate for they contain two very valuable natural resources; natural gas energy deposits and fresh clean drinking water.

New York Governor Cuomo has come under fire for not taking a final position on the matter.  New York State has been forced to address the issue, as pro-fracking landowners filed suit in February 2014, against the Governor’s office, requesting the state to wrap up its official study it began in 2008 under the supervision of the Department of Environmental Conservation.  The Department of Health began its own study in 2012 and has not yet released its findings about concerns that address the practices effect on clean drinking water.  The complaint named both departments accountable in their argument.

In 2013 NJ Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation that was aimed to ban the processing and disposal of left over fracking material in New Jersey.  Environmental Activist gathered in protest before the statehouse to voice their displeasure of the Governor’s action not to further protect New Jersey from the toxic material.  This created a major outcry from environmental advocacy groups who have already seen New Jersey become a state who holds the record for having the most environmental superfund sites in the nation. Opponents of the fracking practice note that there are no current technologies which are currently available to refine the waste product that separates the chemicals from the fresh water base used as a part of the fracking process.

In 2011 and 2012, the New Jersey Legislature passed bills on the fracking practice, later conditionally vetoed by Governor Chris Christie who also shot down legislation that would ban the overall fracking practice on New Jersey soil citing that there is no available land to frack in New Jersey.  This would face great debate again in 2013-2014.

Later Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection would later share that, “there in fact might be minute areas where under the Utica shale that might contain significant deposits of natural gas.  These deposits are to known to be found mainly under the land in Upper Passaic County, Sussex County and Warren County; counties which rely on agriculture tourism for the majority of their local seasonal revenue.”   These are also counties that supply much of the basin that makes up the fresh water supply that is managed by the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation; an authority responsible for managing and delivering fresh drinking water to selected metro areas of the State.

On a national stage, land owners who wish to preserve the natural beauty and natural resources that either lye underground of their property and/or under neighboring properties have utilized every mechanism available to deter others from the practice.  From lawsuits and temporary injunctions and restraining orders to large protest and acts of civil disobedience, opponents to franking have made their voice well known.

David Pringle, Campaign Director for the Clean Water Action, New Jersey Chapter, (formally the New Jersey Environmental Federation); has been on the forefront of this National Debate adding, “Fracking is not a bridge to the future, it’s a direction off the cliff. Most people think that fracking is a cleaner alternative than coal, when in fact studies show otherwise.”

“Fossil fuels harvested from fracking are massive contributors to climate change.  There is the heightened concern of how to handle and treat all of the waste water that is by-product of the fracking process.  Sites in which fracking has occurred, have become hazmat waste sites, playing host to now contaminated water, and introduces the new exposure of toxins to humans that may otherwise we would not have exposure to.  The fracking process brings these toxins to the surface such as radon, carcinogens, heavy metals, and other materials which are radioactive in nature and mix with water around with these sites,” continued Pringle.

“Along with these concerns, the fracking process has shown to contribute to earthquake activity where it did not formally exist.  We now have multiple issues to tackle with fracking: we have a drinking water issue, a public safety issue, and an issue that affects the weather, especially in the northeast where we experienced more super storm activity.”

And it is so, a riddle still unanswered, to frack or not to frack, is the question.  We find it a bit ironic that the CEO of the world’s third largest multi-national by revenue, who enjoys a lifestyle that is a result of a practice in which his company profits from, is okay with the practice of fracking, as long as it is not in his back yard.  Sometimes it is not all that hard to understand.  In many cases in the past in the energy and power industry, industry has won in many cases over the ideals of environmental preservation.

Many smaller companies have blossomed as a result of the practice becoming standard in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota, are aiding in local and regional job creation.  The argument propels beyond just the debate about the production and effects underground but also how it will affect those who work above it.  It’s not just the boom of smaller energy and drilling firms that have found a niche in the new black gold rush, but also all of the supporting businesses that are necessary to support the practice, such as transportation of the water and brine mixture, concrete for all of the drilling and mining pads, real estate to supply housing for transient workers, food and medical services, and other community amenities that accompany a growing community.  No one wants to lay claim to say that you have to put an end to job creation in an era when our nation faces some of its highest unemployment numbers in history.

Mr. Pringle offered this, “We need to recognize and execute renewables which are better for the economy, since they have been proven to create jobs and mitigate the climate crisis. Major moves such as the passing of S1041 which cites the ban on waste water disposal from fracking in New Jersey is a step in the right direction.  We are looking forward to its support and passing in the Assembly.”

The Bill, S1041, was passed in the NJ State Senate, with a 33-5 vote, on May 12, 2014; which prohibits the disposal of fracking waste in the Garden State.  Hopes are high for the identical sister Bill in (Bill # A2108) to pass in the State Assembly.

No matter what side of the debate you are on, there is no denying that the issue of fracking will be a very contentious public debate for decades to come.  I will keep my ear to the ground and eyes open to both sides of this public contest for its going to be a long time before it’s over.

Until this comes to a resolve, I will continue to live life one mile at a time in The Green Lane.”

Welcome to “The Green Lane”

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Welcome to “The Green Lane,” a syndicated column authored by Investigative Reporter and Small Business Advocate, Samuel K. Burlum.  Samuel Burlum is a leading most authority on issues and discussions that involve and affect Small Businesses, in the areas of Environmental Sustainability, Green Technology, Economic Development, Burdensome Regulatory Concerns, Transportation Issues, and other interesting conversations that are hot topics for today’s entrepreneur.

Samuel K. Burlum is a Business Strategist and Consultant, who helps small to medium emerging businesses break through the barriers of entry in their respective market spaces. Samuel Burlum offers Strategic Business Planning, Business Development Services, advisement on Supply Chain Management, reviews Systems Integration, and donates his time as a Guest Speaker at trade events, forums, and in the classroom.

Samuel K. Burlum brings to the table his life experience and his fellow industry colleagues to the discussion. As CEO and President of Extreme Energy Solutions, Inc., Samuel K. Burlum has developed a network of strategic partners who’s goal is to bring emerging technology to market that can make a positive difference in people’s lives. Under his leadership, the Smart Emissions Reducer technology aimed at lowering harmful vehicle emissions, has been deployed worldwide. He continues to lead Extreme, as its begins to launch its next flagship product, Extreme Kleaner.

When Samuel K. Burlum is not working, he is lending his time to aiding community causes. Samuel Burlum helped raise money for Veterans, assisted an organization which devoted itself in spreading the word of the arts and humanities, and even took part in local community efforts such as 5k run fundraisers. He was recognized by the People of Distinction Humanitarian Foundation as an Unsung Hero.

Samuel K. Burlum provides you insight to both sides of the arguement, in “The Green Lane,” Sam Burlum offers you a inside look to ongoing debates on hot topics from across the country. From the trucking and transportation industry to environmental concerns, Sam Burlum digs deep into the matter, investigating into the facts, and presenting you information, allowing for you to be the judge of your own thoughts.

So if you are interested in knowing the latest news, or want to get first edition of “The Green Lane,” subscribe today at www.SamBurlum.com, and we will send you once a month, newsletter with our latest article. You will also be the first to get exclusive behind the scenes looks and interviews from Samuel Burlum.

So, “Welcome to the Green Lane,” and we look forward in you joining us in our journey.

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