It seems politicians of every stripe have a new buzzword to abuse. Preface any project or technology with the word “renewable,” and it is almost guaranteed to generate automatic public support and popularity, even though it is invariably linked to some handout for big corporate interests. Powerful lobby groups representing private interest sectors are the primary beneficiaries of these policies, rather than the public interest.
How renewable will bioethanol from corn be when our aquifers are exhausted, not just from growing corn where it shouldn’t be grown, but from distilling the ethanol to obtain a fraction of the energy expended in its production?
How renewable will our farmland be when thousands of acres of prairie are fragmented by access roads, power lines and wind turbine foundations?
How renewable will our precious rural ecology be when soil profiles are disrupted, native plant ecosystems damaged and wildlife driven off by the noise and intrusion of monstrous wind turbines?
Although Republicans have been adept at convincing their followers to expect less, rather than more, from government in regulating corporate greed, Democrats risk making matters worse with their seemingly blind, unconditional promotion of all things renewable. Even self-proclaimed tree-huggers in the Sierra Club and Greenpeace have been duped into supporting the logging of thousands of trees on America’s most pristine ridgelines to make space for a few wind turbines. They have lost all credibility as true environmentalists.
It remains to be seen who will now come forward to save rural America, pull the sheepskin off these corporate wolves flogging renewable frauds, and slay their political “shepherds.”
J.P. MICHAUD, Hays
14 May 2008
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