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There Is NIMBY and Now There Is BANANA

Everyone wants modern conveniences, but no one wants to have the infrastructure that supports them.

Most of us have heard of NIMBY (Not in My Backyard), which alludes to having things like power lines and pipelines being built near neighborhoods or businesses. The other day I heard a new one, BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone).

It seems that everyone wants to have electricity for all their personal and business needs, natural gas to heat their homes or gasoline to fuel their cars, trucks and boats, yet no one wants the infrastructure to support the delivery of those essential utilities and supplies that fuel our modern economy.

There is no sense of community! In the city of Bellevue, Wash., the Puget Sound Energy Company wants to add some additional power lines to an existing right-of-way with existing power lines running through it. There is opposition from people who live along that right-of-way.

The conundrum is that the projection is that an additional 1 million people will live in the Central Puget Sound Region in the next 20 years. I expect they will need electricity to sustain themselves and support the existing population. I'm wondering if those opposing the addition of the power lines will be willing to put up with rolling brownouts when the power needs exceed the capacity to deliver electrical power to the region?

It is a zero sum game. it is not hard to figure out that at some point in the future the existing power supply network will not be able to meet the growing demand. I guess we'll need a crisis to act — per our normal approach to getting things done here in the United States.

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.