Natgas Jumps Thru Hoops for Bats While Solar Farm Torches Turtles

The shale drilling industry jumps through all sorts of hoops to ensure Mother Nature doesn’t take an undue hit. For example, we’re personally aware of a Williams gathering pipeline in the South Gibson (Susquehanna County), PA area that had to radically change its pipeline digging schedule–speeding up the process by more than six months–because of bats that nest in trees. The PA DEP has a concern that knocking down a few trees for a certain species of nesting bat might affect local the bat population. Williams didn’t want to wait an entire year to dig and lay the pipeline (they have agreements in place with drillers), so they had to arbitrarily move up the digging schedule to lay the pipeline, inconveniencing several landowners (one of them a youth camp). That’s just one example of how the industry goes above and beyond each day to accommodate what are sometimes questionable (we’d call them stupid) rules and regulations–but OK, that’s the price we pay, right?

However, if you’ve been able to get environmentalists to call your project “green,” it doesn’t matter what kind of local wildlife you squash and kill. Example: the world’s largest solar thermal power plant, built by NRG Energy, was dedicated this week. The “plant” is five square miles of mirrors, each the size of a garage door. It’s located in an old, dry lake bed in the Mohave Desert (along the Nevada/California border). Five square miles of desert and its wildlife were confiscated, displacing tortoises and coyotes, killing Mojave milkweed and other indigenous plants. But that’s OK–it’s green! The Western Watershed Project is suing the federal agencies involved in “green lighting” the “green” project, saying they didn’t consider alternative sites. The point of all this, is, of course, that NO source of energy is without trade-offs and problems and sacrifices. The twin point is that just because something is called “green” doesn’t mean it’s better than other clean sources of energy–like natural gas…

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