Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Abandon the religion of environmentalism
On March 16, I addressed remarks to the Eureka City Council regarding the Calpine proposal. Unable to finish my statements, I left to a resounding chorus of boos and hisses. A Calpine representative came up to me afterward, stating. "I think I am the only one here who realizes you aren't in favor of my project."
I expected nothing less. Walking into the lion's den, you can count on getting scratched. The objectionable points I was making were these:
In the western world the 21st century's most powerful religion is "environmentalism." Its base components are:
1. An Eden of grace and unity with nature.
2. The fall from grace into a state of pollution.
3. A judgment day coming because
a.) we're all energy sinners and
b.) we're doomed to die unless we
c.) seek salvation.
4. Salvation has been replaced by sustainability.
5. Organic food is communion, with a pesticide-free wafer for the chosen few.
The romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual experience of nature. Those of us who live and work in nature are not romantic about it at all, but we love and value it. We hold spiritual beliefs about the world around us, we have a sense of the unity and living nature of all things. But we still kill the animals, uproot plants and haul in the fish in order to eat. If we don't, we -- and you -- will die.
The hard reality of "work equals eating" has been lost to an elitist mentality. Action does have consequences. If you build a freeway along a beach you will alter the movement of the sand dunes. But that will not destroy the world. However, having no way to pay the bills will destroy society.
The religion of environmentalism has many denominations -- EPIC, Earth First, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Audubon Society. Many cross the line of separation of church and state such as the EPA or California Coastal Commission and Air Quality Control Board.
The High Priests of California's Air Quality Control Board determine who can keep a car by controlling emission regulations. In their environmental wisdom, they put MTBE in California's gasoline. This chemical has polluted California's groundwater. These same types, instead of removing the MTBE, have instead instituted a statewide burn barrel ban, again impacting the poor and the rural citizens. The "Priests" know it will do zero for air quality.
It has, however, given rise to a chorus of "Hallelujah!" from the faithful. Quoting the mayor of Arcata, "We're big on the burn-barrel ban."
History proves where this logic leads. First go the burn barrels, then comes the green and blue days regulating wood heat in your home. Then comes outright bans on wood heat. Without wood heat, how will people heat their homes? Nuclear power? LNG? Be careful what you wish for.
The environmental community is baffled that business groups and many others are not jumping in line against Calpine and other projects like it. Take a good look at their past record -- many projects that would have provided good jobs and good wages were treated as if they were one of the seven deadly sins.
Like Peter, environmentalists have cried "Wolf!" too many times -- and now, their doctrinal proselytizing is reduced to background noise for many of us. If building the Samoa Bridge were being proposed now, it would be the same story, by the same frantic people -- here to save us!
Citizens can't trust most of what we're told. The EPA is hopelessly politicized and no help to us. Nor is the propaganda of special interests. We can't trust FERC. We need restructured planning that will be ruthless about acquiring verifiable results that will fund identical research projects to more than one group, so that no one side can manipulate the facts.
I have two fundamental questions that need answering. How can a governmental system with legions of overlapping agencies that are unable to manage a small levee in Orick imagine they're up to the task of an LNG facility? What can be done to make this system accountable?
In the end, good science offers us the only way out of politics. If we continue to let science be politicized, we are lost. It's time to abandon the religion of environmentalism and take up the science of conservation, and base public policy decisions firmly on that.
The same scientific scrutiny must be applied to industry salesmen and their pitches as well as government bureaucracies.
Here's a short list of actions that need to be addressed by someone -- perhaps HCOG -- and not next month or next crisis. Start a development committee to set standards for project applications, a policy to keep our water and fish, develop outside-the-box strategies to keep and attract manufacturing jobs, fight like an old mother bear to keep open access to parks, beaches and public lands.
Even though independent thoughts are not in vogue, it is our duty to engage, study and participate.
Before you go screaming to the editor that I am an SOB, I admit it. I am a stupid old Baptist -- I've got my baggage, too.
Dennis Mayo, a Humboldt County native and rancher who farms hay and organic table crops with draft horses, is an advocate for beach and trail access. He lives in McKinleyville.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
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