Oil for Trees: Does the Land and Water Conservation Fund Offer a Devil’s Bargain? Essay by Char Miller

Fleming Ranch in the San Bernardino National Forest | Photo: Maria Grants/Courtesy Trust for Public Lands

Here is an essay by Char Miller on the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Here’s a quote

Talk about a Devil’s Bargain.

By their very nature, such deals are unbalanced at best. It’s helpful to remember, then, that there is nothing clean about energy production. To drill or frack is to disrupt. To pump or dig is to pull apart. To dam up is to submerge. To clearcut is to splinter.

Even to capture the sun’s rays or harness the wind is to bulldoze ecosystems or flatten habitats.

Once developed, refined, or converted — dirty processes each — these fuels must be distributed. Doing so through pipelines, along transportation routes, or over the electric grid is to generate additional harms, environmental and human. Whenever we turn a key; power up a laptop, I-Pad, or smart phone; or fire up a generator, we despoil.

I have been behind in blogging due to developing a close personal relationship with the health care industry due to a family health issue. Tonight, as I went home to post this, I exited the parking structure at the Temple of Medicine to see a chopper coming in to the Emergency Room. Sorry, I don’t see the “despoiling,” or feel that the folks that used those gallons of fuel that helped to save a life are guilty. Nor the people who use radiation, or potentially polluting chemicals, or disposable needles to heal other people.

I do believe that we need to do our communal best to develop technologies and make choices that sustain our people and the environment.

In the words of NEPA, in 1969, (my italics)

The purposes of this Act are: To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man (oh, well, it was 1969!) and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality.

There is no doubt in my mind (despite the lyrics to a song in the musical “Avenue Q”) that the devices that allow folks to participate in the world wide web do “stimulate the health and welfare of humankind.” So what kind of energy might do both, “prevent or eliminate damage” and “stimulate the health and welfare?”

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