environmentalism

It's all about doing away with that inconvenient Constitution

Doesn't matter whether we're talking about Agenda 21 specifically or RGGI or doing away with fossil fuels and "replacing" them with renewables (but there would never be blackouts or brownouts if we did so, oh, no)— it ultimately all comes down to which do we choose...liberty or tyranny?

Environmentalists want to ban hydraulic fracturing in Las Vegas, N.M., and the surrounding county and they don’t plan to let the United States Constitution stop them.
 
“What people don’t understand is sometimes we have to step outside the boundaries of the Constitution to get things done,” Paula Hern, a board member with Community for Clean Water Air and Earth, told the ABQ Journal. “Laws are made to protect corporations and we need laws that protect Mother Earth – earth, air and water.”
 
Hern was defending a “community rights ordinance” banning fracking that the Las Vegas (N.M.) City Council passed but the mayor refused to sign. “The way it reads, it will supersede everything – our city charter, state and federal laws,” said Mayor Alfonso Ortiz...
"What people don’t understand is sometimes we have to step outside the boundaries of the Constitution..."? Oh, I understand plenty.  
 
And I've been in Las Vegas, NM.  It's poor. And about an hour's drive from Santa Fe, where I've also been, and which struck me as Ithaca with a Spanish accent.  Are you getting the picture?  I wonder how many of the fractivists pushing for the ban in Las Vegas are from San Miguel County and how many are well-heeled imports from Santa Fe—and beyond—who just plain know better than anyone else...and who use fossil fuels and their derivatives and by-products all the time but who don't want to see any low-brows seriously better themsleves by working to produce those fuels.  Better that they should sit on the sidewalks around the central plaza in Santa Fe selling baskets of tchotchkes.
 
Stand up for the Constitution and liberty, people, or we're all going to be sitting on sidewalks selling tchotchkes.
 
    

You mean gas drilling isn't the problem?


Tourism
is?

Via the Lonely Conservative:

TUPPER LAKE — Big Tupper Ski Area will not open this winter. 
 
The grassroots group Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving our Economy (ARISE) said they lost investment resources to reopen the ski center this season because of a lawsuit filed against developers who own the mountain property....

...Big Tupper is owned by partners of the resort project, whose lead developers are Michael Foxman and Tom Lawson.
 
But Protect the Adirondacks, the Sierra Club and several Tupper Lake neighbors filed an Article 78 lawsuit charging, among some 30 counts, that APA [Adirondack Park Agency] did not complete wildlife studies before granting resort permits and that APA staff violated hearing rules in communicating with the resort developers after formal hearing testimony closed....
 
And as long as we're banging our redneck heads against the wall, why don't we run the ol' hypocrisy meter whilst we're at it?
 
 
Because that's what this is.  It isn't about the environment...that's just a smokescreen. What it's really about is this:
...There is a war going on in parts of America between impoverished locals and urban elites. These elites are using fraud, exaggeration and celebrity star power to stop rural communities from prospering...
And it doesn't matter how those locals might prosper, whether it be through gas drilling or through the preferred "anti" alternative to industry here in NYS, tourism. But don't worry—the elites will continue to drive in fossil-fuel-powered cars or fly in fossil-fuel-powered planes to their winter vacations at out-of-state ski resorts.
 
And don't give me any crap about global warming...this winter is going to be actual, you know, winter:
Mark Wysocki with the Northeast Regional Climate Center says don’t expect a repeat of the mild winter we had last year because signals in the Pacific Ocean show that body of water has become warm, and when the Pacific is warm it points to a cold and snowy winter for the Northeastern United States.
 
Wysocki predicts snowfall for the region will be 3 to 5 inches about the annual average.
 
The average snowfall for Ithaca is about 69 inches per year.
So, Big Tupper could have had a chance this year but for the caring, compassionate folks at the Sierra Club and their fellow travelers.
 
Frickin' hypocrites.
 

Now, Dryden, this is serious business

We here at Redneck Mansion love to solve puzzles...don't you?

One of our favorites is solving rebuses—you know, these things:

Well, there's a new contributor here and her name is (no fair peeking at the end of the post)...

  +   

Sacrificing to Save our Environment

As a real environmentalist, pure of heart and mind, I find that many that nominally support my positions protecting our planet are far from true believers.  They persist in living on the electrical grid, drive cars, and they use fossil fuels and products made from petrochemicals in their daily lives while our planet faces imminent destruction from the forces of fracking, the military-industrial complex, and the vast, right-wing conspiracy.

Don’t they realize that we are at risk every day from frequent fracking-caused earthquakes that could split the Earth into pieces?  Our precious and scarce water is absolutely certain to become undrinkable while our atmosphere becomes polluted with greenhouse gases and sea levels and temperatures rise.  If drilling is permitted, Earth will soon become like Venus, a searing hell.  As Al Gore predicted, our cities will be engulfed.  Drilling could suddenly slow down the rotational momentum of our planet, flinging people off into space.  Fracking will destroy our children’s lives.  Josh Fox has only scratched the surface of risk as to what could happen with his telling documentary, Gasland, but he still avoided the awful truth.

But, while I walk or bicycle everywhere, refuse to burn any fossil fuels, won’t pollute the Earth with gases from burning wood, will not kill birds with windmills, hate power that generates nuclear waste, won’t buy anything that contains petrochemicals, or foster the chemical abuse involved in building solar panels, many weak-kneed advocates of saving our planet, such as our county legislators and county chairperson, still do these things.  These pretend environmentalists still buy clothing made of petrochemical fibers instead of natural wool and heat their homes in winter.  Shame on them for not putting the environment first.  We must eliminate every possible risk to our environment even if it means that natural gas deliveries or propane trucks won’t roll up to their houses in the winter and that they will have to walk or bicycle to work on cold winter days.  No matter the sacrifice, they must live as I live, accepting the cold as natural, protecting our world.

It is time our town boards and county legislators passed the necessary legislation to save our area.  So many products sold in our county by big multi-national corporations include petrochemicals, from big-screen televisions to cars to picnic forks.  All should be banned in this county.

There is no room in our county for environmental criminals.  Those who will not live a pure environmental life need to leave the county voluntarily or be expelled for their crimes.  Evict them, first taxing the parasites their entire wealth before they can leave.  Our town board members and county legislators should not be exempt, they should be the first to give up their environmentally destructive and criminal ways.

Town of Dryden

***

I expect our next contributor's name will be Ethel Esther....

Centrifugal forces

A little over a year ago we put up a post about a cultural paradigm shift that was based on a piece called "Nobody Gets Married Anymore, Mister."  Ultimately, it was about personal responsibility.

In this month's American Spectator is an article about a book by Charles Murray, Coming Apart, that sounds as though it could be a companion piece. Some highlights:

...Whatever the causes, the social disintegration that once seemed to apply only to African Americans has now engulfed blue-collar, white working-class communities as well. Men are dropping out of the workforce, single motherhood has risen to nearly 50 percent, crime has skyrocketed, religious faith is declining, and the chances for upward mobility are rapidly diminishing. As Murray concludes: "The absolute level [of social cohesion] is so low that it calls into question the viability of white working-class communities as a place for socializing the next generation."
 
Murray identifies what he calls the "founding virtues"—marriage, industriousness, honesty, and religiosity—that were once shared by all Americans and held us together in a common culture...
However, as we've probably all noticed, people no longer seem to find the words "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" nearly as terrifying as they once did. And as the article's author, William Tucker, points out, "There in a nutshell is the reason why white working-class neighborhoods...once so strong" are no longer.
 
In his book, Murray contrasts the cultural disintegration among the white working class with what has happened among the "New Elite"—who in the course of becoming the very antithesis of whites in lower socio-economic strata "have insulated themselves to the point where they know very little about the rest of America."
 
But our book reviewer, Tucker, notes that in his analysis of the New Elite, Murray fails to look at what Tucker calls "the adopted religion of the educated class"—environmentalism:
Nothing expressed more completely the credo of the New Elite than the conviction that our very existence offends Mother Nature, that we are ruining the earth by using fossil fuels, and that Industrial America is something we should all be willing to leave behind. Where do people without a college education fit into this society? Competition from China and India has played a part in hollowing out America, but an equally important factor has been the near impossibility of building any kind of industrial facility in the United States anymore. No one has built an oil refinery in this country for thirty years. As late as 1980 there were two auto manufacturing plants within 25 miles of New York City, in Tarrytown, New York, and Mahwah, New Jersey. Today you'd have trouble opening a dry cleaning store inside that perimeter. Environmental regulations have made it a seven-to-ten-year ordeal to build any manufacturing plant in the U.S., and the burden of proof is always on the provider. Just look at the Keystone pipeline.
Sound familiar?
 
Fascinating stuff.  Read the whole thing.
 

Reptile dysfunction

...Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says the federal government is suffering from “reptile dysfunction.”
 
As the local paper, The Gonzales Cannon, noted, Patterson has declared that Texas will sue the federal government if it lists the [Dunes Sagebrush] lizard and other previously-unheard-of species on the Endangered Species List, thereby limiting development of West Texas land for oil, gas and heavy-metals exploitation and production.
 
Speaking at Faye Hardin’s “Insight USA” conference in Lubbock, Texas, on March 29, Texas Senate Republican candidate Ted Cruz seized on the issue as well, saying that in Texas, “we talk more about that lizard than the Geico lizard.” He said, “That’s our lizard,” quickly adding, “They make darn fine boots”...
Heh.
 
Definitely read the whole column.
 
And on a related note, why don't we hear more about cogeneration?  I'll tell you why—because it's a viable technology that's based on—gasp!—natural gas.


Anyone for dining in the dark on delta smelt whilst shod in lizard boots?

WWJD?

It's not what you think.

In an op-ed at Bloomberg:

Stockton, California, which is heading toward the first steps of Chapter 9 bankruptcy, is described as a crime-racked wretch designated by Forbes magazine as the most miserable city in America.
 
But it would be wrong to believe that the troubles in the city of almost 300,000 residents in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley are not necessarily a sign of things to come in more upscale municipalities across the state.
 
Unfortunately, the financial mess in Stockton echoes problems throughout California, even though public-sector union leaders and Democratic state legislators are in denial about this reality. In cities as affluent and diverse as San Jose and San Diego, municipal finances are hitting the wall, driven by unsustainable pension debt and health-care promises made to government workers during more flush economic times.
 
Stockton has not been a prime location since the Gold Rush, but only a few years ago it was a reasonable destination for commuters who couldn’t swing the prices in San Francisco, about 80 miles west. Now the murder rate is at record highs, and the police union is in a pitched battle with the new city manager. The debt-laden downtown redevelopment area looks like a ghost town, and the city is littered with foreclosed properties.

Stockton is also in the news as the test case for a new state law intended to put the brakes on municipal bankruptcy. It’s a reminder not just of how far and fast a city can fall, but also of problems that are festering everywhere...
So what would the Joads do?  Good question. In the valley that hope forgot, "that would be the San Joaquin Valley in California, one of the most prolific agricultural areas in the country — or at least it was, until environmentalists turned off the water..." there is at least a little hope—a bill introduced in the House by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Visalia), which would end the absurdities wrought by current CA moonbat policies, has passed in the House—but things are not looking good:
...The legislation passed on a mostly party line vote of 246-175 in the Republican-controlled House. But its prospects of becoming law are poor. The White House has issued a veto threat, and it is unlikely to survive the Democratic-controlled Senate, where both of California's senators have vowed to work against it...
Would the Joads head for California these days?
 
They'd probably stay in Oklahoma.
 
h/t's to Henry & Tom
 

Enviromanticism

Here at Redneck Mansion, we have several Pre-Raphaelite paintings hanging—well, they're not the actual paintings, just prints. We used to see the natural world much as painters like Rossetti did—perfect, unspoiled, immutable.
Then we grew up.


In the Ithaca Journal, Caroline (the navel of the universe when it comes to energy conservation) Town Supervisor Don Barber writes:

We are in a time when it is takes much more energy to extract fossil fuel (for example, tar sands and shale gas) than in the past, which means less net energy is being produced.

Wait a minute.  It's not a zero-sum game. If it were, the price of natural gas would have risen rather than fallen precipitously as it has. Increased fossil fuel use leads to 1) research into more efficient utilization as well as 2) creating more of an economic incentive for locating additional resources. This has the results of 1) lower per capita usage and 2) increased supply.

Emerging, manufacturing-based economies, such as China, are rapidly expanding their use of energy.

I'll buy that one—it's hard to argue with.

And we are past peak oil, consuming it faster than we are finding it. These result in fossil-fuel energy becoming more precious each year.

See "wait a minute," above.  Same thing applies. In The Guardian:

...As then (1979), we are led to believe that the world's fossil fuel resources are finite and known, and that the peak of production has either been already met or will come soon. Gas, it is assumed, will follow oil. Put simply, we are going to run out of fossil fuels, and they will therefore get (much) more expensive. For the peak oil advocates, the convenient truth is that de-carbonisation via renewables and nuclear is not only good for the climate, but sound economics too. Almost all of this is nonsense – and some of it is dangerous nonsense. There is enough oil and gas (and coal too) to fry the planet several times over. The problem is there may be too much fossil fuel, not too little, and that fossil fuel prices might be too low, not too high....

Barber's argument is entirely based on the zero-sum game fallacy, thusly (emphasis mine):
Then fossil fuels afforded us quantum leap advances in technology, life experiences and comfort. With the pending decline in availability of fossil fuel, will those socio-economic gains be lost?...
Sigh.
"Buying local" requires less energy to transport goods between purchaser and creator. Buying local supports both small businesses and the entrepreneurs that create local wealth, and it circulates money through the local economy several times...
We denizens of Redneck Mansion highly recommend buying local. 90% of all Americans live within fifteen miles of a Wal-Mart.
...We can insure vibrant local food sources for generations to come through buying produce and value added food products from farm stands, farmers markets, and Community Support Agriculture...
Know what?  CSAs?  Been there, done that.  No more. Why?  Because you're limited to those things that someone else has deemed economic to produce. We finally got tired of coming up with 365 ways to prepare very expensive bok choy. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world—and at prices that regular people can afford.  Just sayin'.    
...Businesses can make energy management a top priority, harnessing nearly all energy they consume and finding ways to multiply energy such as geothermal, which creates 3.5 units of energy for every unit of energy producing it. Products and services from these businesses will cost less to produce...
Really? That's quite a claim in view of the fact that "alternative" sources of energy are definitely not cheap to install. But energy is definitely a cost of goods sold, a cost of doing business.
...We can embrace energy sources that are available everywhere and to everyone no matter of economic status. These decentralized energy sources can result in individual or local ownership and in time lower cost. They include, for example, solar (photovoltaic and heat); wind; biomass (direct to food, heat, or processing to another fuel source); geothermal; and gravity (hydro-power)...
It's true that the sun shines on everyone equally and while the photo above was taken before the arrays were installed on the roofs at Redneck Mansion during our primitive period, we do have solar panels. But can you say Solyndra? Name us one "alternative" energy company that is not engaging in crony capitaism—it's a system formerly known as fascism, and it has a bad reputation for a good reason. It never ends well.   
Passenger and freight trains and transport by water use fuel more efficiently than cars and trucks. Buses and carpools save fuel and create opportunities to converse with our neighbors, thereby building community. Bicycling puts us more in touch with our surroundings and benefits our bodies.
Systems that re-use vehicles like trains and buses can't be directly compared to vehicles that get parked at their destination. Anybody who's ever observed TCAT buses realizes that they sometimes run on schedules and routes with little patronage. Hmmm...unless, of course, patrons are left with no choice because cars and pick-'em-up trucks are no longer....well, never mind.
 
Comparing fuel efficiency across different modes of transportation usually involves comparing apples and oranges. Overall, system efficiencies likely won't be as advertised.  But by all means, let's get more "in touch," shall we?  
Some of these examples are back to the basics, adopting practices that made communities self-sustaining before the Industrial Revolution....

Some local businesses are apparently already going back to pre-Industrial Revolution days  wink

No one wants to be wasteful just as no one wants dirty air or dirty water. But a seemingly innocuous and well-intentioned, even romantic, attachment to the past can morph into something not nearly as pretty in the hands of people who see themselves as others' moral and intellectual superiors. That's not a road we want to be going down.

h/t's David & Tom

The green jihad and "benefit corporations"

The hypocrisy meter has to run full-bore not just here in the US but everywhere:

It seems rarely a month passes without some new assault on the lifestyle and housing choice preferred by the overwhelming majority of Australians: the detached suburban home. Denigrated by a careless media as ”McMansions” or attacked as some archaic form of reckless housing choice which is suddenly “no longer appropriate” (according to some planning or environmental fatwa), the detached home is under a constant assault of falsely laid allegation and intellectual derision...
 

....I’m not proposing that the leftist green agenda which is waging war on the detached home turn the blow torch of blame to the wealthy, nor am I suggesting that there’s anything wrong with apartment and townhouse developments. But what’s wrong with letting market forces play more of a hand without the overt moralising and environmental hand wringing that seems to accompany decisions on urban planning policy? Is it really necessary to malign the detached suburban home, in order to make the alternative more attractive?

We are talking about middle Australia – and their counterparts in the USA, UK and elsewhere – which is under the barrage of assault for having the temerity to choose a form of dwelling that actually suits them... 

....And there’s one of the great ironies in all this: those who advocate denying housing choice and enforcing apartments over detached homes, public transport over private, and inner city density over suburban expansion, invariably seem to do the opposite of what they preach.  Next time you come across one of these green jihadists waging war on the suburban home (and the people who live in them), ask them if they live in a house or a unit, how many children they have, ask how many cars (or homes) they own, and ask what their power bill is like....

(h/t Janis)

There are several posts here on Agenda 21 and ICLEI, which is a phenomenon here in Tompkins County not just in other parts of the US or in Australia. As we've said here over and over again, all of these things are all of a piece: sustainability, environmentalism, certain kinds of zoning, opposition to energy development...Private property? Freedom? Fuhgeddaboudit.

And if you think that this agenda isn't pretty far advanced, think again. Ever hear of Benefit Corporations?  I hadn't either.

Benefit Corporations are a new class of corporation that are required to create a material positive impact on society and the environment and to meet higher standards of accountability and transparency. Model legislation was drafted by Bill Clark from Drinker Biddle & Reath

Benefit Corporations are what used to be called "crony capitalism" or—dare I say it?—"fascism."

Where do these things exist? In New York State for one (where it unanimously passed both houses of the state legislature and is awaiting the Governor's signature):

New York Benefit Corporation

New York State Seal

Status: Passed Senate 62-0 and Assembly 139-0

Sponsors: Speaker Silver (A4692-a) and Sen. Squadron (S79-a)

Legislation: A4692-a and S79-a

Key Supporters: ASBCBuffalo FirstLocal First IthacaNYS B CorpsSinglebrook Technology,

Quotes/Testimony: Speaker's Press Release

What are the other states with Benefit Corporations? Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont, and Virginia.  The states that are currently in this pipeline are California, Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

We need to educate ourselves and our neighbors and toot sweet.

Fracking-free utopia

As Unlikely Hospitalist writes at The Lonely Conservative (a Syracuse-area blog)

Why are environmentalists so vehemently opposed to natural gas drilling?  In upstate New York these folks are a vocal, well organized, and well financed minority who seek to force their will on the populace.

Yesterday, however, a report entitled The Shale Gas Shock was released by the British Global Warming Policy Foundation. Highlights:

Shale gas was welcomed at first by environmentalists as a lower-carbon alternative to coal...However, as it became apparent that shale gas was a competitive threat to renewable energy as well as to coal, the green movement has turned against shale. Its criticism is fivefold:

The shale gas industry uses dangerous chemicals in the fracking process that might contaminate groundwater;

poorly cased wells allow gas to escape into underground aquifers;

waste water returning to the surface during production, contaminated with salt and radon, may pollute streams; 

the industry‘s use of water for fracking depletes a scarce resource;

the exploitation of shale gas damages amenity and landscape value.

How does this paper address these issues?  A quick summary:

  • The actual [slickwater] chemicals are used in many industrial and even domestic applications: polyacrylamide as a friction reducer, bromine, methanol and naphthalene as antimicrobials, hydrochloric acid and ethylene glycol as scale inhibitors, and butanol and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether as surfactants. At high dilution these are unlikely to pose a risk to human health in the event they reach groundwater (§45).
  • Groundwater contamination by fracking fluid is possible but unlikely if proper procedures are followed, and gas contamination of aquifers occurs naturally and has not usually been found to result from shale gas production (§s 46-52).
  • ...the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has tested the water in seven rivers to which treated waste water from gas wells is discharged and found not only no elevation in radioactivity but:

All samples were at or below background levels of radioactivity; and all samples showed levels below the federal drinking water standard for Radium 226 and 228. -- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 7 March 2011 (§s 53-55)

  • A single shale gas well uses in total about the same amount of water as a golf course uses in three weeks (§ 56).
  • The concrete, forest clearance, and visual impact of more than 50 wind turbines with equivalent energy output is gigantic by comparison [with landscape and habitat impact resulting from shale gas extraction] (§s 57-59).

We've blogged about fracking a few times; this post in particular is relevant here.

It would seem that if environmentalists are really interested in lowering CO2 emissions, then they 

would do well to heed the advice of Voltaire and not make the best the enemy of the good. Rapid decarbonisation using renewables is not just expensive and environmentally damaging, it is impossible. However, switching as much power generation from coal to gas as possible, and as much transport fuel from oil to gas as possible, would produce rapid and dramatic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

But as we've also blogged about before, maybe those reductions in carbon dioxide emissions aren't really the point. Maybe arriving at a "sustainable" utopia is the point...but let's remember that utopia means not only "good place" but "no place."

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