Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To Attack Environmentalism, WMC Distorts Reality

The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce's Eric Bott, the statewide business lobby's energy and environment policy person, has written an op-ed attacking environmentalists for contradictions and inflexibility on energy matters:
So what is the philosophy of modern greens? At times it can be hard to tell. Today's environmentalists claim to support replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas and nuclear. Yet they oppose hydraulic fracturing to obtain the needed gas, building pipeline infrastructure to move it, or constructing any new nuclear facilities. 
I think Bott is more interested in basing an ideological broadside on bumper-stickers he doesn't like on cars in Madison to create a straw man argument about what he says is radicalized environmentalism than he is interested in finding answers to his question.

A sincere and productive analysis wouldn't make claims about radicalized agendas, build on bumper-sticker slogans of the Right like "War on Coal," or claim that "greens," as he calls them, contribute to worsening forest fires (of course, no mention of hotter temperatures climate or drought).

Or label environmentalists anti-labor. Is the WMC now Labor's friend? I'd like to see Labor polled on that.

Or toss out intellectually dishonest lines like, "These days, environmentalists almost seem to have adopted the attitude that if it's good for humans, it must be bad for the environment." 

If I want Sarah Palin, for real, I'll watch Fox News.

So for the record:

In the main, environmentalists support conserved, measured use of fossil fuels - - and support alternative, renewable fuels and methods of power generation  - - often opposed by the WMC (Senate Bill 660, for example)  - -  that will reduce our dependence on them.

That's because extracting and burning fossil fuels makes air and water unhealthy, warms the planet, effects the climate and heaps costly repair and adaptive costs - - surely of interest to WMC constitutents - - on businesses, governments and individuals.

A single, near-to-home example: The $1 billion+ spent cleaning up a ruptured Enbridge tar sand crude oil pipeline that contaminated and closed for years a stretch of the Kalamazoo River in neighboring Michigan.

Which is why environmentalists want the Wisconsin DNR to conduct a complete review of the company's planned, substantial pipeline expansion here.

Yet Bott snipes at pipeline opponents.

Who could possibly argue, given the company's long record of pipeline breaks and spills, that the full review request is unreasonable?

And talk about inflexibility.

It's the WMC that has a closed mind about alternatives.

It's lead lobbyist catastrophizes about conservation solutions, calls clean jobs a rhetorical "line" - - though data show green employment is substantial - - and begins a thought about addressing climate change with the words "if something has to be done..."

It's Bott who's hemmed in by an inflexible approach; his straw man creation does not include a single mention of policies and technologies and advances that environmentalists actively support, or any mention even of the words, let alone their history, significance and connections, including:

Solar power.

Wind power.


More efficient vehicle engines.

Alternative fuel vehicles.

New Urbanism and walkable neighborhoods.

Clean air.

Energy funding equity.

Environmental justice.

Bott should take a look at what is right in front of him, should he care to look.

He could even read this blog. It's all here.


Betsey said...

"So what is the philosophy of modern greens?" muses Bott.

We know Bott and WMC don't give a hoot about the environment, natural resources, wildlife or us. So why bother writing an opinion speculating as to what 'we' want? Just ask! We'll be happy to tell you.

James, please turn your finely written blog post into a response opinion, but please begin it with:
'Environmentalists' are not a special interest group, unless you WMC-bots really don't want clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and play in, personal health for yourself and your family, a balance of flora and fauna to enjoy (in your case, perhaps to shoot), a safe and clean energy source, and healthy food to eat. You WMCers don't want a Walmart, or a big smokey factory, or a freeway running through your backyards, any more than we do, which makes you a NIMBY. We're NIMBYs, too--it's just that our care and concern in our backyards extends over the fence into your backyard, and your neighbors' backyards as well. Why do you have yard-size envy? Why do you locate your developments and industry and polluting processes always, always, always next to someone else's home and never next to yours? If you had to live next to it, or downstream from it, you'd become an environmentalist too.

P.S. James, you can edit out some of my always-es.

James Rowen said...

Helluva comment.