Greg Pollowitz has some bad news for the imaginary hippies who are forever dancing 'round the maypole in his skull:
What might come as a shock to those on the left is that to make "green" batteries for their "green" cars to fit their "green" mandates is that you need to mine for the materials that make the batteries possible. Here's a good piece from Reuters on how the future of U.S. supply of he "rare earth" metals needed for the batteries rests on a project in the enviromentally sensitive state of California. Good luck with that.Breaking news, treehuggers: Building stuff requires the extraction and processing of natural resources!
Now that you know that neodymium batteries can't simply be willed into existence through Thelemic sex ritual, I bet you feel pretty stupid for complaining about drilling for oil in ANWR, and whining about how much water it takes to process tar sands, and agitating for mine safety and pollution prevention. The fact that consumption has consequences clearly demonstrates that consequences don't matter, so you doomstruck Chicken Littles had better cast aside your irrational optimism, and wake up to the cold hard reality of inexhaustible oil and limitless growth.
You'd think that Pollowitz would be going out on a limb here, given that his "argument" is stupid to the point of incoherence. But by invoking the dismay of a hopelessly naive left, and putting "green" in scare quotes, and referring knowingly to the "the enviromentally sensitive state of California" as though the phrase actually meant something, he transports his readers into a realm where, to paraphrase Flann O'Brien, anything can be said and it will be true and will have to be believed.
The Reuters article is about an enormous open-pit mine at Mountain Pass, CA, right off Interstate 15 in the Mojave desert. It closed in 2002, after running for almost 60 years, and reopened in 2007, thanks to increasing demand for rare earths. It's now gearing up to expand production dramatically.
The site did, in fact, cause a number of environmental problems during its first few decades of operation, though the Reuters article all but ignores this. And in a perfect world, we'd shift to cleaner technologies without reopening it. But what Pollowitz neglects to mention -- either because he doesn't know about it, or assumes no one else will -- is that this "project" has already won approval from all the relevant California regulatory agencies, for better or worse. Its EIR was approved back in 2004, for fuck's sake. "Good luck with that," indeed.
But so what? All this proves is that California's progress-hatin' enviro-nazis are a bunch of frauds, and have no moral standing to oppose drilling for oil in national parks, or staking mining claims on the Arctic seabed.
Incidentally, the CEO of Molycorp, which runs Mountain Pass, notes that rare earths are vital to missile-guidance systems.
Where's your Peaceable Kingdom now, you dirt-worshipping hypocrites?
(Photo by Greg Vojtko.)