The inconveniences (big and small) of environmentalism

Conservatives have been aware for a while that the Texas oil industry is being threatened by a lizard.  It’s not being threatened this way:

Godzilla Movie Poster

Instead, it’s being threatened this way:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Logo

It turns out that the sand dune lizard, an innocuous little buff-colored guy, is (a) allegedly endangered and (b) living squat in the middle of 800,000 acres of Texas oil country.  If the lizard and its environmentalist supporters win their case before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, all of those 800,000 acres will fall under the control of a federal agency.  Under the regulations as written, the lizard’s survival will trump oil production, farming, road construction — you name it, the little lizard will trump it.

Depending on how far the agency wishes to take it, this ruling could decimate a vast region in Texas, and, possibly, bring the United States to its knees too.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently saying that the oil industry is overstating the risks, but if there’s one thing we know about the bureaucratic mind, it’s that it will always go too far, especially when it’s doing so in the service of a Progressive agenda, with the agenda here being that Big Oil is eeeevviiilll.

I thought of the lizard when I got my hands on a letter that the City of Larkspur sent out to its residents.  The City was lucky enough to be the beneficiary of federal funding to rehabilitate Doherty Drive, which is a heavily traveled road that links two communities and serves both a middle school and a fairly large high school.

Doherty Drive, Larkspur, CA

The road renovation was to have taken place during the summer, when the schools are out of session, and traffic is therefore limited.  It turns out, however, that California Clapper Rails (flightless coastal birds) live in the waters along the construction route, and have their nesting season during the summer.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has therefore mandated that construction must be delayed.  As of now, construction is schedule for the first two months of the school year.  During that time, the road will be closed entirely:

Larkspur to close Doherty Drive for construction

The road closure means that traffic must be rerouted.  Had this happened during a quiet season, it would merely have meant somewhat heavier traffic on alternative roads.  Since it’s happening during peak season, it means substantial traffic jams all over Corte Madera, Larkspur and Greenbrae, which are the communities that will be used as alternative pathways to access the two schools and to travel from one town to another.  Traffic jams, as we know, are a major cause of CO2 emissions.

I should add here, in big, red letters, that I don’t think that two months of inconvenience and increased CO2 emissions are an unreasonable price to pay to protect a small bird during its short nesting season. I’m posting this here only as a reminder that environmentalism comes at a cost — and sometimes that cost is to the environment itself.  It also wouldn’t surprise me to discover that a lot of Marin-ites, after sweating it out in terrible traffic jams for a couple of months, blowing clouds of CO2 in the air, are a little less favorably inclined towards the small, flightless, hapless California Clapper Rail.

And in a related story, the EPA leaves unusable a vast Alaska mineral reserve.  (We currently relying on places such as China and Africa, which don’t have the resources to or the interest in mining those minerals in a way that has the smallest possible impact on the environment.)

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for $4.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Ymarsakar

    Their faith in “science” is awesome…and so completely unfounded.

    The faith of the true believer, who has nothing else to believe or rely upon except their faith that they will be led right by their Authority. 

    Relationship with God is much like a relationship with another human being. If you start relying 100% on the other person, to the point where you’ll do anything to get their attention, including hurting yourself, you’ve passed the point of healthy individual relationships. A healthy relationship, whether in business or in love, requires some kind of power balance rather than one party being the slave of the other.

  • Charles Martel

    Charles Martel: termites are members of the cockroach family.
    Zach: Yes, and ants are more closely related to wasps. They’re all insects though. Most insects adapt very rapidly. We mentioned ants and termites because of their large combined biomass. 

    Nice try, Zach. When caught with your pants down, pretend you wanted to show off your spiffy underwear all along. If you wanted some real super-duper ant relatives, the beetles would have been far better. Their biomass is off the frickin’ charts.

    Also, the fact that you need to attach the word human to civilization makes me wonder what other civilizations you’ve encountered since you landed here.

  • Zachriel

    Charles Martel: If you wanted some real super-duper ant relatives, the beetles would have been far better. 

    There are certainly a lot of beetle *species*, but we chose ants and termites for a reason. 

    “On average, ants monopolize 15–20% of the terrestrial animal biomass” — Schultz, In search of ant ancestors, PNAS 2000.

    “Ants and termites today make up very roughly three-quarters of the total insect biomass.” — E.O. Wilson

    Sanderson, Biomass of Termites and Their Emissions of Methane and Carbon Dioxide: A Global Database, Global Biogeochem. Cycles 1996.

  • Zachriel

    Charles Martel: Also, the fact that you need to attach the word human to civilization makes me wonder what other civilizations you’ve encountered since you landed here.

    Perhaps you are right. Should we not attach civilization to humans?

  • Charles Martel

    Zach, LOL! They name is cluelessness!

  • Charles Martel

    Correction: I meant to write thy name is cluelessness.

    I feel better already.

  • Ymarsakar

    This might be the link Danny was referring to. 

    Thanks for assuming a level of staticism in my methodology that isn’t there.  Straw man.
    It’s not so much “staticism” as religious faith. Having religious faith in experts and authorities, which you self admit not being able to judge the truth or falseness of, doesn’t allow such things as skepticism or reasonable inquiry. To have faith in your experts is to refuse to think for yourself, by yourself. It’s one thing to destroy your own life by relying upon undependable con men, but we’re talking about policies that would wreck the lives of millions, not just a single person.
    Show me one example of this adjustment.-A
    It’s been presented already: Herman Goerring. The same would apply to Goebbels as well.
    Your position was that evil people have no redeeming values or virtues, because your prejudice demands that they can only be evil if that is so. My position is better cognizant of reality and the mixed nature of human behavior. You live life believing in absolutes without regard to the details or the inconsistencies of your position. I have to make adaptations according to what is really going on, rather than changing what is really going on to fit one’s preconceptions. But inherently, I find my methodology to be much less taxing than yours. I only have to change my analytical methods. You have to change reality concerning every event, cause, and consequence that doesn’t fit your preconceived biases.
    Martel, they them thy.

  • Ymarsakar

    It has been popularly believed that ants behave according to a strict hierarchy and central control authority. In reality, given what we know now concerning ant behaviors and pheromones, their actions and behavior are decided not by a centralized authority, but simply by their field agents, scouts, workers, and so on. Each ant’s behavior affects the decision making and actions of the other ants around them.

    They, are in fact, a distributed network and they can build homes and networks using this, instead of any particularly smart central unit.

    When people like Z talk about the benefits of distributed networks, they’re talking about the benefits of distributing power into the hands of a few, like the Obama cadre, to use as the elites see fit. THis has nothing to do with actual distributed networks.

  • Zachriel

    Ymarsakar: When people like Z talk about the benefits of distributed networks, they’re talking about the benefits of distributing power into the hands of a few, like the Obama cadre, to use as the elites see fit. 

    Precisely the opposite, of course. Distributed networks means decisions are distributed at various levels of organization throughout the network. For instance, in the United States, there are federal, state and local, each with a division of power between legislative, executive and judicial, as well as government agencies at each level, corporations of various sizes, trade organizations and unions, private organizations from clubs to political parties, and the rights of the individual to speak, petition and assemble. 

    An ant colony is a bit different in that there is very little in terms of direct central control, though there is a central mission entailed in the actions of individual ants—the welfare of the queen. 

  • Ymarsakar

    In terms of actual reality and applied policies, Z is for ObamaCare. That’s his distributed, “you can keep your doctor if you like him” thing.

  • abc


    “And most everything I’ve read, from every account, says that below 1.0C, there is absolutely nothing to worry about…”

    Sources please.

    “AS for me, personally?  Well, it’s not really about me.  But I’d prefer another 20 years of data.  I am expecting slight temperature cooling myself.”

    So if experts say, “act now,” you still might say, “let’s wait a couple of decades…”  If your doctor said, “reduce your cholesterol levels, which are dangerously high, now,” then would you say the same thing?  The link between carbon dioxide from human activity and warming is now better than the link between high cholesterol and heart attack.  You do know that, correct?  So would you tell your doc the same thing you’d tell your climate researcher?  Just wondering…

  • Pingback: Bookworm Room » Another shovel ready job . . . isn’t shovel ready()