Washington Group Attacks ‘Radical Environmentalists’

The land required by wind turbines to generate electricity uses more than 500 times the space required for equivalent output from a natural gas plant, according to the Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-12-05 [SolarAccess.com] The Washington group has released an analysis that outlines “critical steps that America must take to address the new reality imposed by the September 11 terrorist attacks,” says Paul Driessen, author of ‘Defending & Rebuilding America with Resource & Regulatory Common Sense.’ He concludes that the U.S. has no choice but to reassess its energy, environmental and regulatory priorities and policies. “Energy conservation and renewable energy can and must play a role,” he says, but using natural gas to generate 500 MW of electricity (enough for 500,000 homes) affects only 50 acres for drilling, pipelines and power generation plants. By contrast, the same output from wind requires 29,000 acres, or 6,720 acres of land for solar PV panels. He criticizes “radical environmentalists” who make “the same tedious objections” against drilling for oil because of its damage to the environment, while promoting conservation and the development of renewable energy. “These ‘solutions’ are politically correct and superficially appealing, but scratch the surface and their many flaws quickly become apparent,” he says. “Many Americans need to come out of their complacent stupor and face hard reality.” “Unless we are to abandon half of our electricity generation and reduce our lifestyles to somewhere around post World War II levels, we would have no choice but to build dozens of new nuclear plants, to make up the shortfall,” he explains. Without increased drilling, national security will be in grave peril, and he says a better approach would be to encourage investment in advanced gasoline and diesel engines, gasoline-electric hybrids and fuel cells, and to have local governments redouble their efforts to sequence traffic lights better in order to improve traffic flow and gas mileage, while reducing air pollution, accidents “and even road rage.” “Renewable fuels cannot possibly eliminate the need for imported oil,” he concludes. “Wind, solar and geothermal energy account for less than 2 percent of our energy needs – and that’s after taxpayers spent $20 billion in subsidies to boost their use.” “Replacing our petroleum-based economy and infrastructure with a system based on renewable energy sources would cost trillions of dollars,” he adds. “The environmental costs would be even more staggering.” Geothermal energy resources are located in pristine areas like Yellowstone and Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks, while wind turbines “are notorious bird killers, and virtually nothing can live under the solar panels.” The impacts become “truly staggering” on a national scale, where using wind or solar power to produce the 218 gigawatts of additional electricity that the U.S. will need by 2010 “would mean installing windmills or photovoltaic panels over an area the size of Connecticut, Delaware and Massachusetts combined. This is environment-friendly technology?” The terrorists attacks has “imposed costs that will reach hundreds of billions of dollars for defending and rebuilding America and placed new strains on the security of a nation that now depends on foreign sources for over 60 percent of its oil, a quarter of it from the Middle East,” concludes Driessen. Regulations imposed a regulatory burden price tag of $840 billion in 2000, often for only minimal health or environmental benefits, but “this economic burden can hardly be sustained even in times of peace and prosperity.” Pressure groups are demanding the expenditure of “tens of billions of dollars each year” on air quality, which could close numerous coal-fired plants that generate half of U.S. electricity. “They insist that we keep huge oil, natural gas, coal and metal deposits off limits, even though modern exploration and development methods would affect little acreage and carry few environmental risks,” he says. “As a result, they force America to continue importing from unstable, often unfriendly foreign sources.” “Worse, allowing renewable energy claims to justify keeping oil and gas resources locked up means imports stay at unacceptable levels and our national security remains at risk,” he notes. “If we are to defend and rebuild America, we must have petroleum, as well as coal and nuclear energy, metals and a modernized energy distribution system. It is time to reassess our priorities, revise our regulations and relegate false anti-development claims to the ash heap of history.”

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