THE POWER OF ENVIRONMENTALISTS
Try to imagine our nation�s ability to function if our power grid failed.
And yet we are letting environmental groups control our electrical generating plants by exerting more authority than the U.S. Government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Members of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups in Illinois have filed their second appeal with the EPA to block construction of a $2 billion coal-fired electric plant and mine.
They claim the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) should not have issued a permit for St. Louis based Peabody Energy to construct this new 1,500 megawatt plant. This plant is reported to benefit the Illinois economy by about $100 million and would provide 2,500 construction jobs and 450 skilled, permanent jobs. More importantly, this is needed electricity.
Last week it was reported that some power generating plants in Illinois were operating at peak due to the hot weather demands for electricity. This no doubt was the case across the nation. Usually this does not happen until mid-summer. Could this be an indication we need more plants to generate and provide power to the consumer?
If power distributors are forced to buy peak electricity, the rates get very costly and must be passed on to the consumer at some point.
How many new power plants have been built in the past decade? Many of the generating plants are getting old and are not being replaced while the demand for electricity continually increases.
When the phone lines are carrying an overload, we get a busy signal and are told the circuits are busy and to try again later. When our power lines are overloaded, we get blackouts.
Environmentalists want $30 million of our tax dollars used for the removal of the Savage Dam in Southern Oregon. Dennis N. Becklin, Publisher of the Oregon News Online, satirically asked the public to, �Thank the entire environmental movement for foisting fraudulently based reasons for removal of Savage Rapids Dam upon Southern Oregon and for demanding the replacement of a non-polluting, hydro-turbine pumping system at the dam with electrically operated pumps that will consume power generated by coal burning, electricity generating plants in Wyoming, which is the primary source for electricity consumed in Josephine County. Thank them for the perverse benefit this will bring to the environment...burning coal instead of using gravity at a non-polluting hydro-turbine irrigation dam.�
In Illinois, environmentalists are blocking the building of a coal fired plant, but in the west they want to replace electricity producing hydro-turbine generators with coal burning plants. Is there something strange going on here?
It is not just the Savage Rapids dam, environmentalists want to remove dams across the nation. Dams that are necessary to generate hydro-power, the cleanest most natural generation of electricity.
Dams that have protected the land from flooding while preserving water for municipal use and recreation in dry seasons.
Extreme environmentalists want the rivers to �pulse� once again and not be restrained.
They are following the �Global Biodiversity Assessment� published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). According to that report, �They therefore tend to view themselves as members of a community that not only includes other humans, but also plants and animals as well as rocks, springs and pools. People are then members of a community of beings - living and non living.� �Thus rivers may be viewed as mothers.� Animals may be treated as kin.
Eco-religion followers view the rivers as a source of their energy and the dams are a hindrance to nature.
Some people may wish to live in the world as it was in 1492, but the majority will confess to having no desire to go backwards in time when they consider they would have to give up their luxuries. Doing away with dams is taking the nation backwards.
We hear the constant "woe of the salmon� story. Given a choice between electricity and salmon, most will choose electricity. This brings the question - would there be any salmon left at all if these dams were as bad as the accusers say? Some of these dams have been there a long time and there is still salmon. Another question, "can salmon be farm raised?
Environmentalists insisted on the conversion to wind power to generate electricity regardless of the high cost and unreliability, but now they are saying the turbines kill birds, are noisy and create eye pollution.
Gretchen Randall of Winningreen reported that according to the Independence Institute, "Wind farms cost about $384,000 more per megawatt of power than coal plants-or about one-third more."
Wind farm owners also get federal tax breaks that allow owners to recoup their entire investment in 5-6 years. Many states also give wind farm owners a reduction in property taxes, sales or use taxes or corporate income taxes.
Wind farms do not allow other electric generating plants to close. Instead, these plants are needed as back-up for when the wind speeds are either too strong or too weak since wind does not generate steady electric power and there is no way to store excess production on the grid.
Sen. Lamar Alexander has said federal tax subsidies for wind energy will cost the U.S. taxpayer $4.5 billion over the next five years. Here are some facts Randall quotes Sen. Alexander giving about windmills:
The Winningreen report quotes Sen. Alexander as saying, "At a time when America needs large amounts of low-cost reliable power, wind produces puny amounts of high-cost unreliable power." (Associated Press, 6-12-05.)
Is it possible the environmentalists are intimidating the electric companies?
The Ameren Corporation, who says they are committed to �providing customers with clean, reliable energy, while preserving, protecting and improving the environment,� coughed up $225,000 to The Nature Conservancy. They said, �Our support of The Nature Conservancy�s Illinois River Project is in keeping with Ameren�s many other efforts to preserve and protect the environment, ranging from the way the lands and cooling lakes at our generating plants are managed to the Ameren SmartLights grant program for energy efficient lighting projects.�
Couldn't Ameren find a worthy cause to give almost a quarter million dollars other than an environmental group?
From the time we get up until we go to bed we use electricity is some form. Most of us plug the coffee pot in the first thing in the morning in a well lit temperature controlled home. We take hot showers and check the news on the television as we take laundry out of the dryer. From the refrigerator we take our milk and other cold foods without giving thought to the importance of electricity. Without electricity we could not fill our tanks with gasoline, use the ATM or go safely through intersections. Our computers would be useless. We would be paralyzed without electricity.
These are only a few of our personal needs but extend that dependence globally and we realize we live in a world totally dependent upon electricity. We need to protect it and treat it respectfully.
We don't give the keys to our cars to toddlers and tell them to go play...neither should we turn our nation's security over to environmental groups.
Can we afford to be controlled by a select group that we did not elect and yet seem to be the �partner� of the government usurping the power of federal agencies?
While we are busy with the details of Michael being acquitted and we watch as Paris Hilton promotes burgers, and we know the names of all the reality show contestants, how much can we say we really know about the security of the electricity we use each day?
� 2004 Joyce Morrison
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Joyce Morrison is a weekly columnist and news reporter for the Illinoisleader.com, an online conservative news source. She also writes for SOWER magazine, NewsWithViews.com, as well as various other publications. She is a weekly participant on the teleconference of the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank and is a pro-life, pro-family activist.
Morrison attempts to educate the public regarding the dangers coming to their local communities through Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 programs which are designed to gradually take control of all private property through undue regulations.
She is a chapter leader for Concerned Women for America as well as Secretary to the Board of Directors of Rural Restoration/ADOPT Mission, a national farm ministry located in Sikeston, MO. FarmersRuralRestoration.com. Her most enjoyable time is spent teaching a senior adult Sunday School class which is a focus on hope and encouragement.
From the time we get up until we go to bed we use electricity is some form. Most of us plug the coffee pot in the first thing in the morning in a well lit temperature controlled home.