Environmentalists Against the Environment

Those who claim to champion the environment in practice are its greatest enemies. Herewith just a few examples:

The Endangered Species Act is supposed to protect the eagle, providing harsh penalties for harming one eagle, egg, or even unoccupied habitat.

In an article in Reason magazine, Brian Seasholes writes “This gives property-owners a strong incentive to rid their land of eagles, using either the shoot, shovel, and shut-up method—”I’ve seen eagle’s nests where people climbed up the trees and knocked them out,” stated Jodi Millar, a former federal bald eagle recovery coordinator—or making habitat inhospitable by destroying it—the scorched earth strategy.”

Renewable energy, so beloved by environmentalists, also is anything but friendly to eagles or indeed, innumerable other birds.  Michael Reagan notes that “most of us, when we think “windmills” call up quaint, colorful wooden structures in the Netherlands. But today’s power–generating wind turbines can equal the height of a 30–story building. The end of the blades reach speeds approaching 170 miles per hour, creating a wind whirlpool that sucks birds into the blade’s unforgiving maw. That’s why many wildlife fanciers call them “bird blenders.”

Solar energy is no kinder to flying creatures. Marita Noon reports:
Hundreds of acres of photovoltaic solar panels confuse migratory water birds to veer miles out of their way to dive toward what they perceive are lakes or wetlands—only to die from “blunt force trauma.” At the largest solar thermal plant in the world, Ivanpah, owned by Brightsource Energy, the 170,000 reflecting mirrors—designed to “superheat liquid in boilers”—literally fries feathers. … Unable to fly, the injured birds drop out of the sky and die.

The Keystone pipeline is the cause du jour of environmentalists and their success in stopping it thus far has encouraged them to use protests and litigation to halt domestic pipelines that, unlike Keystone, do not require federal approval.  As a result millions of cubic feet of gas are being “flared” – allowed to burn off in the air – in the Dakota oilfields because there are no pipelines or liquefying facilities to carry it to market. Apart from the waste, the result is unnecessary pollution.

Moreover the oil still gets transported, but by train or truck.  That is also potentially environmentally damaging: consider the train accident where 1.5 million gallons of crude oil spilled in a single day last year in Lac-Megantic, Quebec—and 47 people were killed.

And then there are the electric cars our government is subsidizing and mandating at the behest of environmentalists. Sol Sanders notes:

Recharging the car batteries at their current level of efficiency in electric engines is after all based on the nation’s creaking electricity grid, about half of which is now produced by the devil incarnate of the enviromentalistas, coal. Imagine what would happen in the unlikely event there were millions of electric cars that needed overnight recharging.

True, if we had abundant clean cheap energy from nuclear plants, perhaps we could have a charging station in every garage.  But fear-mongering environmentalists put an end to the construction of new nuclear plants decades ago.

While environmentalists are enthusiasts for forests (Al Gore expiated for his huge carbon footprint by donating funds to plant trees in the Amazon), their insistence on renewables is leading to massive cutting of forests here and in Europe, where stringent requirements to reduce the use of fossil fuels are in force. Trees are considered renewable because they can be replanted and absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. So for example England had to convert its largest coal plant to one that burns wood pellets—with much of the wood coming from  forests in the South-East and Middle-Atlantic states.  Forests may be a source of renewable energy–but wood smoke is a pollutant.

To be sure, those leading the environmentalist charge don’t envisage commercial-scale renewables covering vast areas of public lands with windmills and solar panels and the power lines to bring them to cities—along with new fossil fuel plants to back up the intermittent energy they provide. Environmentalist rock star Bill McKibben envisions a “government-primed revival of pre-industrial communal life” where we could recreate a “world of tight families and interdependent neighbors…” “far more satisfying than our hyper-individualist, consumer-driven, tech-saturated present.”

Apart from the irony of Environmentalists harming the environment, there is the irony that McKibben’s most enthusiastic followers, youngsters at elite colleges, have the most to lose from these policies. In a referendum held in November of 2012, 72 percent of participating Harvard undergraduates called on their university to sell off the stock in any large fossil-fuel company held in the school’s $32 billion endowment. These millennials are gung ho to eliminate the energy that keeps the economy going—and, already encountering big problems in the job market, to make the dismal job situation even worse.

 

 

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