Wrong-headed environmentalism

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The recent celebration of Earth Day reminded me of one of the ironies of our lack of coordination between energy use and the environment. Back in 1973, the Endangered Species Act was passed, and one of the most publicized results was the litigation relative to the Tellico Dam in Tennessee, where endangered snail darter fish were found. Though the dam was finally finished, it took a special act of Congress to enable its completion. Since that time few dams may have been built, certainly none in Pennsylvania. Please note hydro power has no emissions.

An environmental victory? Hardly, though new dams have been virtually stopped. In 1973 the U.S. consumed an estimated 1,861 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. In 2012, electrical use more than doubled to 3,899 billion, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By effectively taking hydro power off the energy table, the U.S. was left with the generation options of nuclear, coal, gas and oil. Nuclear is very expensive with dangerous waste. It also is the target of environmental groups.

Consequently, the nation turned to hydrocarbons for its electric power.

Did I hear someone say global warming?

Energy needs should not run roughshod over everything. But environmental groups should also look at the long-term effect of their often narrow view. Yes, renewables are promising but have not yet made a dramatic impact.

When will reasoning adults be heard?

TOM GRANEY
New Wilmington, Pa.


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