"A $300 million, environmentally friendly, clean, renewable energy project waiting to serve 50,000 households is in limbo over a rare bat nobody has ever seen on the project site," Clifford J. Zatz, a lawyer at Crowell & Moring, which represents the wind farm, said in court." (Washington Post) It's unusual for a purportedly green company to be on the receiving end of the special pleadings of the endangered species nutcases. But that is precisely where Invenergy LLC finds itself in a dispute over the effect of its wind farm construction on the health and habitat of Myotis Sodalis, the Indiana bat. This is a big deal for the Chicago-based Invenergy group. Somehow, the company converted a management team gathered from the bankrupt Calpine Corporation, under the direction of a Russian immigrant attorney specializing in bankruptcy receivership, into a $1 billion contract with General Electric.
It probably didn't hurt to be located in Chicago, ground zero for funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Nor did it impede the company's chance when company President, Michael Polsky contributed over $52,000 to Democrat causes in the 2008 electoral year-with just a token $500 tossed to the McCain campaign to cover his bets. America has been very kind to Mr. Polsky. His divorce settlement to his wife was the largest in Illinois history, with Mrs. Polsky garnering $184 million.
But all that dough and all that political clout means little when you are up against the Bat Man.
(David) Cowan, 72, a longtime caving fanatic who grew to love bats as he slithered through tunnels from Maine to Maui, is asking a federal judge in Maryland to halt construction of the Beech Ridge wind farm...
To Cowan, the risk is too great. The house he and his wife built to be near West Virginia's caves has bat profiles on the windows. The napkin holder on the dining table is decorated with a bat. Their car has a bat bumper sticker.
"I think if the turbines kill one Indiana bat, that ought to end it," he said. "That ought to shut it down." (WP) It's precisely guys like David Cowan, usually funded by the likes of the Sierra Club and Greenpeace and like-minded entities, who have prevented Americans from drilling for our own oil, digging for own coal, or making use of our own water.
I find it hard to be sympathetic to the windmill lobby, when Americans have faced rising costs for gasoline, heating oil, electricity and now produce due to the heart-felt promotion of the superior existential station belonging to the snail-darter, the polar bear and the delta smelt.
And I find it hard not to gloat over the green lobby choking on its own green medicine.