Liberals perplexed: Trash the environment or give up on green

As the idea of "renewable" energy gets its first serious vetting, many are pointing out that there are environmental tradeoffs in going green just as there are in drilling or transporting oil:

Renewable-energy development, which the Obama administration has made a priority, is posing conflicts between economic interests and environmental concerns, not entirely unlike the way offshore oil and gas development pits economics against environment. But because of concerns about climate, many environmentalists and government agencies could find themselves straddling both sides, especially in Western states where the federal government is a major landowner.

"Everybody in New Mexico loves the sandhill cranes," said Ned Farquhar, a former aide to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D). "We also love our renewable energy. So we have to figure this out."

Farquhar made that comment a month ago when he was working for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Since then, he has been appointed head of the BLM -- in charge of figuring it out.

As the push for renewable-energy development intensifies across the United States, scientists and activists have begun to voice concern that policymakers have underestimated the environmental impact of projects that are otherwise "green."

"There is no free lunch when it comes to meeting our energy needs," said Johanna Wald, a senior lawyer at the Natural Resources Defense Council. She added, however, that the renewables boom "offers a chance to do it right."

"We want to do it differently compared to how we did oil and gas development," she said.

This is a dirty little secret that outfits like NRDC has known for years but somehow never managed to mention it when trashing oil and gas development. The cost to the environment is relative when you begin to calculate the enormous size that these more inefficient methods of producing energy are used.

And what about the manufacture of solar cells? The process uses extremely hazardous chemicals and as we know, accidents happen in both the manufacturing and storage process.

It's a pity liberals never debated this subject honestly.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky