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The cost of turning green

By Henry Lamb
web posted September 11, 2003

In an August 17 editorial, the New York Times chastised President Bush for not pushing the $8 billion Everglades Restoration Program. The editorial stated that "Despite opposition from the sugar barons and the developers, Congress stipulated that restoration was to be the plan's overriding purpose, and that nature, not commerce, would have first claim on the water."

An op-ed by Louis Uchitelle, in the same edition, began this way: "Manufacturing is slowly disappearing in the United States." Uchitelle went on to report that more than half the manufactured goods purchased by Americans are imported; up from 31 per cent in 1987. Manufacturing jobs have fallen from 30 per cent of the work force in 1960 to only 11 per cent now. The trade deficit continues to soar, because we are buying far more goods from foreign sources than we are selling abroad. Jobs are becoming our primary export.

To the New York Times, the jobs provided by "sugar barons" and "developers" are not as important as getting water to the snakes and alligators in the Everglades. Getting water to the five million people in southern Florida, while protecting private landowners from flooding, is not as important as restoring the Everglades to its "pristine" pre-development condition.

As long as this attitude prevails, the economy will continue to decline, and America will achieve the sustainable development goal of "equity" with third-world countries.

The Everglades Restoration Program is only one small part of a massive program launched by radical environmentalist to restore "at least half" of the total land area in America to core wilderness areas, off limits to humans. In every corner of the country, environmentalists are pushing programs that value nature over commerce and the needs of humans.

The manufacturing sector of our economy is dying because the raw material for processing is no longer available in America. Our children have been taught that cutting a tree is sinful, and that mining ore from the ground is akin to rape.

Environmentalists have had their way in public policy, with much help from such media giants as the New York Times. They must now step up and accept the responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

The tragic fires that destroy far more forests and wildlife than the "greedy" loggers, are the direct result of the "save-the-old-growth" garbage spouted by environmentalists. The rising costs of energy, as well as the increasing unreliability, are the direct result of environmental policies that block the use of domestic oil, gas, and coal. The skyrocketing property tax rates are the direct result of the environmental agenda that demands government ownership of all remaining open space. The staggering escalation of housing costs is the direct result of environmental policies that limit the availability of building sites.

It's interesting and often disgusting to listen to environmentalists squirm when they are confronted with taking responsibility for the mess they have caused. Their first line of defense is to attack President Bush for catering to his (and their) timber and oil industry buddies. Then they attack right-wing extremists for not pouring in the billions of dollars necessary to subsidize the "alternative" energy which, they say, would create a bunch of new jobs.

While they squirm and try to divert blame, the forests burn, the wood products industry shrinks, oil prices and imports increase, ranchers go belly-up, and farmers find that they cannot compete with foreign producers in countries where there are no environmental and social regulations.

It's bad enough that our jobs are flowing to other countries, and that our economy is suffering, but what is even worse, is that our dependence upon foreign countries is mounting. We have already become dependent upon foreign sources for our energy, for no reason other than to accommodate the misguided vision of environmental extremists and the New York Times that restoring nature is more important than commerce, or the needs of humans.

Environmental extremists, and media giants, often demean "sugar barons" and add a hyphenated "greedy" in front of words such as developers, loggers, ranchers, to suggest that these people are out to destroy the environment, just to make a profit.

These developers, loggers, ranchers, farmers, and manufacturers are the people who built America; it certainly was not the Sierra Club or The Nature Conservancy. These are the organizations, along with their other Third Sector cronies, that are hell-bent to destroy America.

Until ordinary people realize that much of their economic grief is caused by the unrealistic visions of environmental extremists, we can expect the economy to further deteriorate, along with the freedom that was once the beacon of this great nation.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International .

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