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May They Reap The Whale Wind

Political Opportunists, Faux Green Populists, And Duped Climate Activists

And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom; ….

They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off. ….

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:  …

For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof. ~~~ Hosea 1; 8

Longtime investigative reporter Bob Hennelly has an interesting take and overview today on the off shore wind – whale controversy, a debate I’ve called “reaping the whale wind”.

I spoke to him briefly yesterday afternoon. I got the sense that he had already written his piece and was just checking in for my take on the issue. I was glad to see that he included PEER’s work in his reporting, as PEER has long been working on ocean ecology and right whale issues and I have high regard for that work (support PEER’s petition).

As a thoughtful person with a long history of working on environmental issues, Bob seems to have intellectually framed this issue as another example of the failure of capitalism, technology, and industrial development to consider long term environmental implications – and that government downplays risks, misleads and lies to the public, and fails to regulate powerful corporations – a perspective that is implicit in his reporting. Of course I strongly agree with that perspective, but that intellectual worldview has very little to do with the current controversy, which is fabricated by political hacks and opportunists.

Read the whole thing, it’s pretty comprehensive;

NJ Spotlight’s daily email tells me that a newly formed group will protest today at the State House:

Offshore wind opponents led by the group Protect Our Coast NJ will rally outside the State House today to urge Gov. Murphy to stop offshore wind development until the cause behind recent whale strandings is determined.

What frauds.

I’ve tried to steer clear of this swamp, but here are my quick thoughts on Bob’s piece: may they all “reap the whale wind”:

1. Anti-wind sources are not credible

Some of the sources are highly suspect.

Van Drew is clearly playing opportunistic, partisan, and dangerously right wing politics. I’ve called them Tea Party 2.0. “Town Hells”.

Van Drew is a hypocrite too – look how he played a similar game when he SUPPORTED the South Jersey Gas Pinelands pipeline: (Press Of Atlantic City, 2/24/17)

State Senator Jeff VanDrew released a statement of his support, saying opponents had threatened him.

“I want to thank the [Pinelands] commissioners who voted to approve the [pipeline] project. They had the courage to do what they thought was right, despite the threats to their safety and harassment they endured during this tumultuous process,” said VanDrew. “This type of intimidation, which was also directed at me, is deplorable.”

He would have more credibility if instead of cherry picking a single NOAA document, he actually had some history of concern or leadership in protecting whales and the environment or fighting climate change, instead of backing massive new fossil infrastructure projects (and supporting the commercial fishing and shipping industries and shore real estate development interest, while attacking government regulatory protections).

Cindy Zipf is a political partisan hack.

Why do opponents target just one (HIGHLY UNLIKELY) RISK to whales when so many other DOCUMENTED CAUSES like boat strikes and fishing gear are ignored, and more fundamental ecological collapse dynamics (i.e. temperature, currents, acidification, nutrient pollution, overfishing) and shore overdevelopment are ALL IGNORED?

The opponents have ZERO CREDIBILITY.

The cynical strategic political game Senator Booker and the Democrats are playing might even be worse.

They are trying to catch the wave of public revulsion of whale deaths and outflank the Republicans FROM THE FAUX POPULIST RIGHT.

Biden has done that recently with border security and national security (war in Ukraine).

US politics are like Humpty Dumpty – all the Kings Horses and all the Kings Men…..

2. What If …. Total Failure By Coastal Groups Contributes To the Current Catastrophe

I’ll mention just 2 examples of the total failure of coastal groups today (I could write a very long post with dozens).

The coastal groups failed to support the original proposal for a NJ Coastal Commission (my friend and former head of NJ Audubon conservation work Bill Neil can tell you that story, going back to the Kean Administration).

More recently, the same coastal groups failed to support renewed legislation that would have created a Coastal Commission in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, see:

Those same groups also failed to support the bill that was enacted into law in 2008 that established a science based Coastal And Ocean Protection Council. Had that Council been in place, we would have far better scientific understanding of ocean ecosystems, including whales and wind, see:

3. The Real Problem Is Not Wind Technology: Murphy’s Off Shore Wind Program Is Flawed

Some opponents correctly criticize the Murphy off-shore wind program for excessive public subsidies to foreign corporations.

But again, these people are opportunists and lack credibility, because these problems can be solved by public investment and public ownership. But they would NEVER SUPPORT PUBLIC POWER.

Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal recommended that the existing Federal Power Authorities be repurposed for renewables – EVERYONE IGNORED ALL THAT!

  • Reaching 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization of the economy by 2050 at latest – consistent with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change goals – by expanding the existing federal Power Marketing Administrations to build new solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources. …
  • Transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to 100 percent energy efficiency and sustainable energy by 2030 at the latest. The New Deal provided inexpensive electricity to America through efforts like the Rural Electrification Administration and the Federal Power Marketing Administrations. If the federal government was able to electrify America under FDR without computers or any of the modern technologies we have available to us today, think of what we can do today. Municipal and cooperative electric utilities still provide some of the least expensive electricity in the country today. As part of the Green New Deal, we will expand on that success.
  • Build enough renewable energy generation capacity for the nation’s growing needs. Currently, four federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) and the Tennessee Valley Authority generate and transmit power to distribution utilities in 33 states.We will create one more PMA to cover the remaining states and territories and expand the existing PMAs to build more than enough wind, solar, energy storage and geothermal power plants. We will spend $1.52 trillion on renewable energy and $852 billion to build energy storage capacity. Together, with an EPA federal renewable energy standard, this will fully drive out non-sustainable generation sources.
  • We will end greed in our energy system. The renewable energy generated by the Green New Deal will be publicly owned, managed by the Federal Power Marketing Administrations, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Tennessee Valley Authority and sold to distribution utilities with a preference for public power districts, municipally- and cooperatively-owned utilities with democratic, public ownership, and other existing utilities that demonstrate a commitment to the public interest. The Department of Energy will provide technical assistance to states and municipalities that would like to establish publicly owned distribution utilities or community choice aggregation programs in their communities. Electricity will be sold at current rates to keep the cost of electricity stable during this transition.

Public power is the answer.

Instead, we have the corporate profit driven Wall Street financed Murphy off shore wind program.

Finally, a point that can not be over-emphasized and that I’ve written here many many times: climate activists who support the Murphy program also seriously miss the boat.

The Murphy program does NOT require that wind generated power displace fossil fuel generated power.

Instead, it integrates wind with natural gas. From an energy planning perspective, wind will serve demand growth for electricity (as the economy is electrified), so we will get MORE greenhouse gas emissions, not less.

Climate activists are being duped by Murphy.

Yes, may they all reap the whale wind.

[End Note: I am a constant critic of the DEP. But in this case, in several email discussions on this issue, I praised DEP for issuing a science based statement on March 15.

However, DEP waited far too long to issue this statement and it came far too late, long after the faux debate had been framed.]

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