09.23.2011 0

The not so green side of green energy

By Rebekah Rast — You could safely say that the environment and environmental concerns are a priority for this administration.

Agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) see fit to regulate and over-regulate every aspect of the environment including air, water, soil and everything in between.  Knowing that your drinking water is safe to drink is a good thing, but over-regulating businesses’ emissions levels to impossible-to-meet standards has hurt production levels of goods and services in the U.S.

Furthermore, the current administration’s push and support towards “green” energy coupled with overbearing environmental regulations has made the cost of manufacturing products like solar panels in the U.S. so expensive that it has forced some companies and jobs overseas.  So in an effort to stay green, America then imports solar panels from countries like China.

In fact, expressing concern over the high number of imports of solar panels, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote a letter to the president.  Sen. Wyden, a proponent of renewable energies and technologies being manufactured in the U.S., said in his letter, “Chinese imports of solar panels are surging and are on pace to increase 240 percent this year, compared to 2010. Furthermore, imports of Chinese solar panels increased 1,593-percent between 2006 and 2010.”

Chinese producers of solar panels do receive large subsidies from their government allowing them to price the product at a much lower level than market value, thus out-pricing most competitors.  But as some Chinese manufacturing plants have learned, the production of these green products isn’t so green at all.

In mid-September, about 500 villagers from an eastern Chinese town protested a solar plant over pollution fears.  Water samples taken near the plant tested high for levels of fluoride, which can be toxic in mass amounts, and when fish from a local river showed up dead, villagers were adamant that the plant close.

Now local Chinese government officials say there will be an “overhaul of the production procedures at the plant involving the emission of waste gas and waste water,” states the BBC article.

If China, a country much more lax on environmental regulations than America, is being forced to take more aggressive steps to regulate environmental concerns over solar panel manufacturing, imagine the steps that would have to be taken in America if they were to be mass produced here.

A product that might be “green” in the long run doesn’t make that product green from the start.  As this administration and the EPA continue their battle against coal manufacturers and natural gas extracting mechanisms, other forms of energy creation might be worse, and less efficient, than these already proven forms of energy.

It doesn’t make America a very environmentally conscious nation when it imports products from overseas that destroy and pollute the manufacturers’ local communities.

After all, we all drink water from the same sources, eat food grown from the same ground and breathe in the same air.

Despite spending a large amount of government stimulus money and taxpayer handouts, America’s green industry falls flat on its face time and time again.  It’s not a viable industry, it can’t stand on its own, and from the sounds of it, doesn’t sound all that environmentally friendly anyways.

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) and NetRightDaily.com.  You can follow her on twitter at @RebekahRast.

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