Environmentalists claim burning fossil fuels causes catastrophic global warming, and that wind and solar technologies are their necessary replacements. Yet some environmentalists seek increase barriers to building wind and solar plants.
In one recent case, Western Watershed Project, an environmentalist group, sued the government for approving construction of Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System on federal lands. The lawsuit contends that BrightSource Energy, a co-owner of the plant that has 350,000 mirrors in the Mojave Desert, failed to consider alternative sites and ignored the plant’s “environmental impacts” on birds, turtles, sheep and plants, according to International Business Times.
While the case is pending in federal court, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a report based on a two-year study that found more than 230 birds were injured or killed at three California solar plants, including Ivanpah. The findings may also impact the state’s decision to build the Palen Solar Electric Generating System, a plant similar in scale to Ivanpah, according to the Washington Times.
In another case, the government won a $1 million settlement from Duke Energy Renewables, a wind power company the pled guilty to killing 163 protected birds, including golden eagles, at two of its Wyoming wind farms. This case represents the first prosecution of a wind power company under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to the Department of Justice.
Under the plea agreement, Duke Energy is forced to implement a compliance plan to prevent bird deaths, obtain a permit to mitigate golden eagle deaths, and finance a fund to conserve land for a habitat. Meanwhile, the federal government vows to further investigate and prosecute any company that fails to comply with laws that “protect the public’s wildlife resources.”
There are reportedly no environmental groups primarily behind this case. But the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), a “conservation” group, has called for wind farms to meet a myriad of government-enforced mandatory standards and studies to protect birds, and to comply with laws under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act.
"Wind energy is not green if it is killing hundreds of thousands of birds,” said ABC President George Fenwick.
Let’s put aside in this brief blog post issues such as whether government should “own” and manage property and wildlife, and the prospect that natural habitats could thrive under private property. Let’s also put aside the ineffectiveness of wind and solar technologies to produce cheap, reliable utility-scale energy. Instead, let’s examine a more fundamental fact: environmentalists calling to replace carbon-based fuels with “green” energies share the same basic premise as environmentalists seeking to obstruct or stop construction of solar and wind plants. That premise says man and his interests must be sacrificed to nature, or the non-man.
Wind- and solar-touting environmentalists assert that man must sacrifice his use of oil and coal to “save the planet” from alleged man-made global warming. Their counterparts obstructing wind and solar plant development hold that man must sacrifice for wildlife, plants, and pristine landscapes. The latter are more consistent in upholding environmentalism’s anti-man premise. They ultimately oppose all energy technologies, including carbon-free nuclear and hydroelectric energies, because they somehow “impact” Mother Earth and her non-human inhabitants.
Man, however, is part of nature. He must reshape it in order to progressively improve the quality and longevity of his life—whether to produce oil to heat our homes, gas to motor our vehicles, or coal to illuminate our cities—and never sacrifice himself to it. He must reject environmentalism’s anti-man ideology for one that upholds as supreme his interest and his rights to exploit the earth or die.