Energy Independence

October 29, 2009

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Wal-Mart Stores, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Are we really serious about reducing our reliance on imported energy? Shouldn’t this be a priority for national security reasons, not to mention the jobs we can create and money we can save? We don’t want to be sending billions of dollars to the Middle East or to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Yet it seems that every promising idea must face heavy headwinds. Here is an absolutely ridiculous example. The location is a mountain top in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. A Chicago- based company plans to build 122 windmills to catch those strong mountain breezes and turn that wind into energy for thousands of households.

Sounds great, but David Cowen, a bat lover, has filed suit, claiming that the big blades will kill the Indiana bat (bats live in caves). It will kill other bats, too, and birds, but he has filed a lawsuit which hinges on the fact that the Indiana bat is on the Endangered Species list. The case is being tried right now. The legal counsel representing the wind farm had this to say, “A $300 million environmentally friendly, clean, renewable energy project waiting to serve 50 thousand households is in limbo over a rare bat that nobody has ever seen on the project site.”

There are always trade-offs. We can’t worry about a few dead birds and bats. This kind of nonsense can drive a sane man batty. EPA estimates there are 457,000 Indiana bats. I think that’s more than enough.

We have experienced the same kind of objection to other sources of energy. The greens fight against nuclear. And they don’t want us to drill for our own oil. Many in the environmental crowd won’t support biofuels, even though biofuels are clean and reduce our reliance on imports. Some are against biotech crops. Biotech crops reduce our use of chemicals. That saves energy. Herbicides cut the need for tillage and that saves energy.

If America is going to have energy independence, we have to be willing to develop all of our available sources of energy and save where we can.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.