Snow Surplus — Salt Shortage

Eve Troeh Jan 31, 2011
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Snow Surplus — Salt Shortage

Eve Troeh Jan 31, 2011
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JEREMY HOBSON: Well for about a third of the U.S. population, this is going to be another stormy week. A huge winter storm is expected to bring snow and ice to Texas, Maine, and just about everywhere in between. In many places, there’s already a lot of snow on the ground. And local governments are worried they won’t have enough salt to keep roads clear.

From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Eve Troeh reports.


EVE TROEH: Morton Satin is vice president of the Salt Institute in Washington DC. He says sodium chloride is everywhere.

MORTON SATIN: It’s just salt, of which we have a limitless supply.

But in winter it’s more difficult and expensive to haul salt. So, he says, governments need better planning.

SATIN: That means investing in the infrastructure to store as much as you need locally.

He says that need is getting harder to predict.

SATIN: Our pattern appears to be changing.

Salt won’t melt snow in extreme cold, Satin says. But now northern states are having warmer winters, so they’re using more. Plus, the mid-west and south are getting snow when they didn’t used to.

South Carolina transportation engineer David Cook says his state spent all its emergency funds on a recent storm.

DAVID COOK: We don’t really even budget for winter storms because we may go a year or two where we really don’t have any.

Now, his department wants to built more sheds to store salt. But there’s no money.

I’m Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

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