The Sierra Club and Me

Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Idaho/Montana

Back in the early 1970s I planned a backpacking trip in Idaho. While visiting over supper at my friend, Bob Gardiner’s house in Berkeley, a student named Janet who was renting a room there said she planned on going to Idaho with the Sierra Club. I went along.

We hitched to Grangeville, Idaho. I remember sleeping in the city park there. We tore out any “improvements” the Civilian Conservation Corps had made in the nearby Selway-Bitterroot wilderness during the Great Depression. The Sierra Club brought ribeyes and watermelons by horseback 15 miles from the nearest road.

In the paper last week was an ad placed by the Sierra Club. It was opposing a new carbon dioxide pipeline. Bruce Rastetter’s Summit Carbon Solutions would take the carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and other industrial sources to be sequestered underground in South Dakota or used where CO2 is needed for other uses. The Sierra Club claims it will enable the use of fossil fuels rather than discourage it.

There are projects springing up all over the world to capture CO2. Orca just opened in Iceland. It is a $15 million series of fans and tubes designed to take CO2 out of the air and pump it underground. It can do this for at least $600 per ton. In a year Orca will capture 3 seconds of humanity’s production of CO2 (and put it where plants can’t use it). Beverage companies will pay $110 per ton for CO2.

The ethanol industry is in love with the “deadly gas” pipeline. They use coal and natural gas to cook the corn and their owners must feel terribly guilty about that fossil fuel use. By the way, the fact that the ethanol plants don’t cook their corn with ethanol should be a clue to anyone about the legitimacy of any ethanol mandates or subsidies.

Let’s look into the reason for all of this hullabaloo. It is that coastal areas will flood from melting ice raising the sea levels and warm areas will become uninhabitable because they will be too hot for life. Watermelons have changed “global warming” to “climate change” because of inconsistent data. Watermelons are green on the outside and red on the inside.

Human activity is blamed for the changing climate and some believe that activity can be managed by law to mitigate our effect. Even the vaguest computer models have failed to show any significant move in that direction that doesn’t make things too expensive for our society to absorb, especially those living on the margins. The means and consequences are rarely, if ever discussed by the watermelons.

The watermelons claim to be concerned for the poor. But their actions indicate that concern has led to illogical and overly simplistic policy positions. The rich, who supposedly hoard wealth to the detriment of the poor, are the ones who have proven skills developing useful industries that make things better for the poor.

But as government is recruited by scam artists seeking government help for industries that can’t pay their own way (such as ethanol and windmills) the Red’s claims are validated. Class warfare ensues and legitimate businesses are demonized and handicapped by regulation and taxation as they are lumped into the same boat as ethanol and CO2 pipelines.

Someone will pay the $4.5 billion to build the pipeline. The Reds will say the money should go to social programs or more unsustainable climate mitigating scams. But that view leaves out those of us who actually earned it and deserve it.

I will be siding with the Sierra Club but not for the purpose they profess. The pipeline is simply a waste of money.

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