Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What I do for a livin'

First said, I am not a professional Internet guru or blogger, and I have no vested interests there. I'm an environmental consultant. I used to work at the Texas Air Control Board, which was renamed at least three times, and put in about 9 years there. I was at a conference in Houston when somebody offered me a contracting position and I think it took one beer and five minutes to call the wife. The guy was rather amazed when I came back for another drink ticket ten minutes later: "Yes, hire me on." Working for the State was getting like going to junior high school every day, although the stress had taken its toll.

Over the years I had done everything from wastewater, landfills, highway emissions, construction equipment, farm crap, shit systems, and policy, but this firm tended to gravitate towards marine port emissions. We have accounts in the larger US ports such as Houston, Beaumont, New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles, which all have real bad air quality problems.

What do I actually do these days? I use computers to estimate air pollution loads, such as how much stuff comes out of a ship's stack. You can see the smoke - that's called particulate matter. There are lot's of invisible gases, too, some toxic. Were talking about engines and boilers that can be 10,000 to 50,000 horsepower. I don't know if you've seen some of them leave South Padre Island but when they fire up their engines, they can smoke half the horizon up, especially the real old boats.

Time will tell if the Port of Brownsville ever becomes a truly international port.

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