Green Notes: August 2012
We’ve heard about all kinds of pollutants—from carbon dioxide, to chlorofluorocarbons, to methane—but now water is a pollutant? A northern Virginia county, along with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a new regulation so stringent that, according to theWashington Examiner, it “define[s] water itself as a pollutant.” Under this regulation, states will be forced to spend “millions of dollars” cleaning up the flow of water through the Accotink Creek in Fairfax County, Virginia. The Clean Water Act lets local government only be responsible for regulating the flow of pollutants through their waters, but EPA is trying to make Fairfax regulate the quantity of water instead. The change, according to VDOT and Fairfax, would “make the Accotink water worse, while costing VDOT $70 million and Fairfax between $405 million and $510 million.” In addition, the new regulations would force the VDOT to seize private property and build new facilities on it, infringing, of course, upon the rights of the owners.
Abound Solar, a Colorado company that only four months ago laid off 70 percent of its employees, filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of July. Because the company earlier received a$400 million loan guarantee from the federal government, Abound Solar’s loans will cost taxpayers from $40 to $60 million after the company is completely liquidated. When will greenies figure out that green technology doesn’t work very well, and no amount of money from the government propping up these failing companies will fix it?
Environmentalists are at it again, fighting economic growth. The Sierra Club—along with 60 other environmentalist groups—is trying its hardest to prevent northwestern states from developing ports that could ship coal to China. The enviros worry that in transport, “toxic coal dust” will fly off the trains and into Americans’ “mint tea.” Never mind the possibility of covering coal trains to prevent supposed coal dust flurries, has everyone forgotten that the reason we need to ship coal to China in the first place is because environmentalists are pushing the government to shut down use of coal in America? Clearly, environmentalists figure if we can’t use our coal, no one can, even though the ports would create over a thousand jobs and generate over $1.3 billion annually. Who cares about the economy? At least we can sip mint tea in peace.
Is green trendiness in decline? Apple seems to think it’s not worth their time. The company, which once prided itself on having “eco-friendly” and “recyclable” machines, is now moving away from the EPEAT environmental standard. EPEAT, a standards group started with Environmental Protection Agency funding, was “disappointed” to hear that Apple will pull its 39 certified desktops, laptops, and monitors from the certification, in favor of creating machines that may sell better. Although this means government workers won’t be getting new Apple computers anytime soon—the government requires that 95% of its electronic devices be EPEAT certified—Apple fans can rejoice: losing the certification means smaller, better technology. Shaw Wu, an analyst at the brokerage firm Sterne Agee, explains, “At the end of the day in a business it’s really about what works.” Being green, apparently, just isn’t cutting it anymore.