Friday, June 27, 2008

NOW they're worried about environmental impact?

By Libby

The same administration that is blithely pushing to tear up pristine wilderness in ANWR and urges endangering our beaches with rampant offshore drilling for oil and has studiously ignored and denied the effects of climate disruption caused the overconsumption of same, is suddenly suddenly concerned about the ecological harm of developing solar power alternatives.
DENVER — Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years.

Much of the 119 million surface acres of federally administered land in the West is ideal for solar energy, particularly in Arizona, Nevada and Southern California, where sunlight drenches vast, flat desert tracts.
The Bureau of Land Management is wringing its hands over the potential impact on wildlife, water usage and reclamation of the land after the power plants expire. Funny, I don't recall similar concerns about other fuels delivered by the huge corporate conglomerates. Could it be the real concern is about the mega-corps bottom line?
According to the bureau, the applications, which cover more than one million acres, are for projects that have the potential to power more than 20 million homes.
Well, that's really just a drop in the bucket of usage but the solar power industry is still in its infancy and the potential for growth is strong if the White House machinations don't kill it in the cradle.
“The problem is that this is a very young industry, and the majority of us that are involved are young, struggling, hungry companies,” said Lee Wallach of Solel, a solar power company based in California that has filed numerous applications to build on public land and was considering filing more in the next two years. “This is a setback.”
It reminds me of the administration's equally sudden concern about regulating small organic farmers who threaten the bottom line of mega-monolith farms as the consumer demand for localvore products grows. A lot of them getting shut down by zealous enforcement while the mega-corps destructive mono-farms destroy the environment unchallenged by the fed regulators.

Meanwhile, in a related development, scientists are predicting we may, for the first time in recorded history, be seeing an ice free North Pole this year.
Seasoned polar scientists believe the chances of a totally icefreeNorth Pole this summer are greater than 50:50 because the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole has been blown away and replaced by hugeswathes of thinner ice formed over a single year.
Coincidentally caused by that global warming, that the White House isn't sure exists and if it does exist, certainly couldn't be the fault of over-consumption of fossil fuels and their resultant emissions. Is it just me who is seeing a pattern here?

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

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Blogger Swampcracker said...

Libby, there has been concern that megawatt-scale photovoltaic farms encompassing vast acreage would be an eyesore at best with unknown environmental consequences. But this is not to say that there should a moratorium on experimental installations where possible impacts could be studied in situ.

I do not understand the sweeping scope of this moratorium unless one also takes into account the electrical grid which, at present, is substandard for handling the peak loads generated by these farms. But that is not what the press release states. So again, we are literally left in the dark about the real reasons behind this policy change.

Should we smell a rat? Certainly! Everything this administration touches is loaded with rats. I just can't say for certain what it is this time.

12:59:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

SC, there may well be legitimate concerns about these facilities but it's the hypocrisy that gets me. Surely the environmental impact of drilling is worse.

9:08:00 AM  

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