NIMBYS, BANANAs, NOPE
There's an urban legend on Capitol Hill that quotes a youngish congressional staffer expressing his opposition to coal or nuclear power-generated electricity in favor of "you know, the kind that comes through the outlets." Today's WaPo business section has what should be a clarion call to renewable electricity proponents -- and the rest of us interested in maintaining abundant and affordable electric power. In "Alternative Energy Still Facing Headwinds," reporters Peter Slevin and Steven Mufson quote a "rancher and political activist" lamenting about the intrusion on her scenic views of proposed wind turbines and transmission lines. With the twin challenges of energy security and climate change looming, can we still afford to be a pampered nation of not-in-my-backyard; don't build anything, not anywhere, not anytime; nowhere on plante earth hypocrites? What's needed is bipartisan political leadership that educates consumers about the cost of their love affair with electronics; and the centrality of electricity to our way of life. Transmission lines and wind turbines seem a small 21st century price to pay -- particularly compared to the burden borne by coal miners and their neighbors throughout the last century. Would that activist, and those banding together to block transmission lines throughout the country, be happier if people and industry moved to their "pristine" areas, to take advantage of the wind and other energy resources nearer the source? If that's the choice, then one hopes they'll see the wisdom in moving the electrons to the population centers rather than the reverse.