A friend of mine pointed out something the other day that’s more and more poignant as the days roll by. In many instances lately, we seem to have a deepening trend of rule by the mob holding sway, as opposed to the rule of law winning the day.
In one case recently, after getting close to the finish line and months of outreach to the involved communities, a wind project was pulled off the docket at the Public Utilities Commission:
One week after a community meeting drew 300 people to the Avon gym and revealed how deeply they were split, the backers of the Prevailing Winds project asked to withdraw their application for a state permit on Aug. 30.
Chris Nelson, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, described the request as “unexpected.” The filing came shortly before the commission began its regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 30.
The project called for constructing up to 100 wind towers north of Avon in Bon Homme and Charles Mix counties. It would have produced an estimated 200 megawatts or more of electricity. State law requires PUC approval for wind project that generate more than 100 megawatts.
“Unfortunately, misinformation has been circulated about the project. Keeping the interests of the community and the project in mind, Prevailing Winds has withdrawn the application to allow Prevailing Winds to better inform the community on the wind project and allow Prevailing Winds to revisit its options regarding the project.”
The withdrawal of the wind farm project came as a surprise, and came about as a mob of people in the area objected to the footprint of the large scale wind project.
Related in this tale are the far more egregious actions of what’s happening in North Dakota right now as mobs are vandalizing equipment and attacking pipeline workers as they attempt to stop a pipeline that’s met all the regulatory burdens… that none of the protesters took part in:
Over the weekend protesters aiming to obstruct the Dakota Access Pipeline staged a violent riot, breaking down a fence and attacking a group of security personnel who used mace and guard dogs to defend themselves.
In the wake of the riot, the tribe sought to explain the violence suggesting it was justified because the pipeline company (according to the protesters, anyway) was destroying historic artifacts
In other words, Archambault’s message is peace, unless the pipeline does something the protesters don’t like.
It’s always a bit chilling when people begin to rationalize violence as a means to their ends.
Probably the biggest difference between the two projects is that the one opposed by those more conservative protested with words and prepared to take part in hearings. The one opposed by the liberal radicals attacked people and vandalized equipment.
It’s all well and good for those on both the right and left to act to stop energy transmission. But, when it’s all said and done, don’t we need both?
If you want new technologies to supplant existing ones (as in wind to take over from oil), you actually need to develop and expand the use of those technologies, so they can start to decrease in cost, and make their development affordable.
If you want to keep lights on, cars running, farmers farming, homes warm in the winter, and do it all at affordable energy prices, then trespassing violent protests of pipelines that have already completed the regulatory hearing process is just utter lunacy, and an affront to the rule of law.
When you get down to it, it’s in each sides’ vested interest in the battle over new energy versus old energy to support the expansion of the other’s capabilities & research. Their interests are tied together.
Or we could all say forget it. And light our homes with torches that we once carried aloft to the protests.