04.23.2014 2

Big Green’s environmental impacts


By Rick Manning

The environmental orgy known as Earth Day has come and gone.

Disney opened their annual Earth Day movie homage, Pinterest made available a slew of Earth Day activities for kids, and public and private schools have had their requisite ceremonies.

In all the celebration, the one thing that is seemingly never asked is whether or not environmentalist policies by the government are actually helping the environment?

Wind energy is just one example.  The United States government has provided billions of dollars of subsidies to the wind industry over the past twenty years, subsidies that have not yet been renewed in 2014 as the mature industry is being forced to stand on its own.

While wind might seem to be the ultimate renewable, the reality is that the giant windmill turbines that dominate some of the most scenic landscapes in America both destroy the aesthetic beauty of the land, while also having a devastating impact on the birds and bats of the area.

It is estimated that as many as 900,000 bats each year are killed by the giant wind turbines, a real boon for the insect populations which are naturally kept in check by these flying mammals.  Diminished bat populations means that farmers are likely to use more pesticides to keep the crop destroying bugs under control — now that’s an earth friendly solution.

On the bird front, the Obama Administration has given a bald eagle license to kill permit to the wind energy industry for the next thirty years, while at the same time using the formerly endangered bald eagle as the excuse for moving against lead ammunition.  The rationale is simple — killing bald eagles on the altar of renewable energy is good — but lead ammunition is bad because it could end up in game that is wounded, and an eagle might eat that animal that dies later and get sick from that exposure.  Make sense?  I thought not.

Right now, in celebration of Earth Day, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has embarked on a carbon dioxide emission spree touting the dangers of global warming as she jets between cities on a five day tour.  The promotion travel includes such environmental policy staples as McCarthy throwing out the first pitch at a Red Sox-Yankees game in her home town of Boston.

Following the game, it is rumored that McCarthy plans to take a selfie with David Ortiz to increase her social media product placement ranking, thus enhancing her position as Obama’s leading eco-warrior over the usurping Secretary of State John Kerry who longs for the title.  Unfortunately, unidentified sources within the environmentalist community claim that John Kerry was not available for comment as he was busy again moving his yacht to Rhode Island to avoid taxes.

For all of those who are confused about what environmentalists mean when they say Earth Day, let this next example make it clear.   South Korea which burns coal to fuel its electricity craves U.S. coal at least partially due to its lower sulfur content which leads to less air pollution.  Western state coal producers want to sell their product to the South Koreans.  So what is the problem?  Environmentalists in the state of Washington are blocking the construction of a coal terminal to transport the more environmentally friendly American product overseas, all under the guise of protecting the planet.

Using specious arguments that coal trains will cause their streets to be covered in coal dust, and even claiming possible black lung disease ramifications for those living close to the railroad tracks, the supposedly educated people of Seattle and surrounding areas are doing everything in their power to block the terminal.

Earth Day really only means, our part of the Earth Day— as environmentalists across the nation engage in standard Not In My Back Yard political and legal tactics to the detriment of the world’s environmental health.

That’s why environmentalists can at the same time as they oppose the rail transport of coal, also oppose building the carbon friendly Keystone XL pipeline to transport Canadian oil to market in the lower 48.  When it comes to Canadian oil, they prefer that the oil be shipped using a steady stream of less environmentally friendly rail cars than flowing through a pipeline.

Apparently, for Canadian oil rail is the environmentally approved method of transportation, but for coal, rail is wrong.

Every Earth Day, the nation is asked to check its thinking caps at the door in celebration of the environment, and that is fine.  But on the day after Earth Day, critical thinking needs to be re-engaged and when put under the microscope, many environmental schemes do more harm to the environment than the ill they purport to try to cure.

Perhaps this year, Americans will take the blinders off and scrutinize the impacts of extreme environmental policies and the multi-billion industry that pushes them.  That’s the kind of environmental impact report that I would look forward to reading.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government   

Copyright © 2008-2024 Americans for Limited Government