Tuesday, April 24, 2007

California to Energy Producers: Not in Our State

Irvine, CA—After an intense four-year struggle, Australian energy company BHP Billiton's attempt to build a Liquefied Natural Gas facility off the coast of California has been effectively killed by the state's Lands Commission, which voted 2-1 that its "Environmental Impact Report" was unsatisfactory.

"When we in California experience our next energy crisis—or the next time we complain about our exorbitant gas and electric bills—we should remember the fate of BHP Billiton," said Alex Epstein, a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. "That company wanted to build a plant that could satisfy up to 15 percent of Californians' energy needs—a plant that did everything possible to maximize safety and minimize pollution. And what did it get in return? Nearly half a decade of obstruction from California's endless constellation of environmental bureaucracies—and seething opposition from environmental groups that oppose every single practical form of energy production, from coal to oil to gas to nuclear power. The message California sends to any would-be producers of plentiful energy is obvious: Not in Our State.

"California and many other states are riddled with laws based on environmentalist hostility toward industrial energy. These laws must be replaced with a respect for property rights and an appreciation for the incomparable value that is industrial energy. Fossil fuels and nuclear power are the lifeblood of our civilization; without them, the average American's food, clothing, shelter, and medical care would be impossible. And, contrary to claims that we must abandon fossil fuels to protect against alleged weather disasters caused by global warming, fossil fuels are vitally necessary to build the buildings and power the technologies that protect us from dangerous weather.

"The anti-industrial mentality of environmentalists must be rejected, in word and in law, by everyone who truly cares about human life."

Copyright © 2007 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.


Galileo Blogs comments:

"NIMBY" which stands for "Not In My Back Yard" has entered the lexicon. In very few places do Americans want the industrial machines that power their houses and fuel their cars, that light up the Internet, that keep them warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. Americans want the consequences of capitalism, but not the means. Americans want all of the abundant, comforting, life enhancing things that capitalism makes, but none of the seemingly dirty, noisy, unsightly machines that do the making. I, for one, find an industrial plant beautiful. I salute its role in supplying me with the things that make my life modern and civilized.

Nevertheless, whether you find an industrial plant beautiful or not, you should have no political authority to tell an industrialist whether he should build it. It is his right; it is his property. Of course, by building the plant, the industrialist benefits our lives, whether we like it or not, whether we approved of it or not.

The California Land Commission and all such similar agencies should be abolished immediately. Our survival, our standard of living depends on it.


Inspector said...

Cool picture, Galileo.

Good article, of course, as well.

Galileo Blogs said...

Thanks, Inspector.

In that vein, I recommend that every Objectivist (and everyone else, for that matter) should tour an industrial plant. It is quite a thing to behold up close. I have seen quite a few power plants over the years, and they never fail to impress me. The quiet competence of the engineers who run them, their cleanliness (as a rule, they are spit-polish clean), and the steady hum of the machines making electricity all inspire me.

When I think of these machines, I know that I've found my church. No vaulted spire of the most beautifully designed Gothic cathedral can evoke the same emotion in me that an industrial machine does.

The cathedral of Notre Dame or the illuminated towers of a refinery in the night sky? The choice is easy.

The former represents man's yearning for an unworldly ideal. The latter represents man's worldly ideal in action, on this earth.

Inspector said...


You know, it had never occurred to me to do that. That's a good idea. I'm definitely going to have to do that at some point.


z said...

Whenever I see someone use the acronym NIMBY in reference to environmentalists shutting down building, I like to remind them that NIMBY is just the friendly face of the more devious BANANA: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything!

Galileo Blogs said...

Yes, most people are BANANAs, especially the Californians. Some people are only NIMBY and not yet BANANAs.

If I lived in California, it would make me bananas that because of the BANANAs, I pay 50% more for electricity than the average American, and a lot more for gasoline as well.

Kendall J said...

GB, I agree with your suggestion that people should go view industrial plants. My city actually has a park, called Overlook Park where you can view Dow Chemical's Michigan Operations. I used to go up there at night just to view the plant. Spectacular!