A Circular Firing Squad of ‘Determined Environmentalists’

Georgetown University
Georgetown University / Wikimedia Commons

These can't be the headlines Georgetown University wanted.

Building the largest rooftop solar system installation in the District of Columbia was going to provide half of the university's electricity needs with green energy. The solar project in La Plata, Maryland, would "reduce carbon emissions equivalent to 28 million pounds of coal or planting over 600,000 trees."

They used all the right buzzwords when announcing the project two years ago. "Sustainability," "community investment," "carbon footprint reduction goals," and "pursuit of environmental excellence and leadership." The solar farm will even create 200 shovel ready jobs!

Instead, the university is being accused of "green-washing."

"Georgetown wants to raze 210 acres of trees to meet green-energy goals," the Washington Post reports. "Environmentalists are crying foul."

"Environmentalists are in a position they never imagined: Fighting a solar panel project that would help Georgetown University dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions," the Post explains.

Actually, it's not too difficult to imagine. Environmentalists aren't exactly the rational, reasonable types. Who cares if your solar project amounts to planting 600,000 trees, when to build it you have to cut down 17?

"Green projects do not destroy green resources," says Linda Redding, who according to the Post is leading a "determined group of environmentalists" opposing the project.

Does anything sound more fun than a gathering of "determined environmentalists"? I fear it doesn't end well.

"If you destroy what is saving our climate in the name of fighting climate change, the effort is hollow," Redding says.

If we can't get the environmentalists to agree on a solar project, how are they ever going to manage "getting rid of the farting cows and airplanes"?

The activists are running to bureaucrats at the Maryland Department of the Environment to try to deny Georgetown and its partner Origis Energy USA a permit for the project. What's the problem? In order to build the biggest solar panel system in the region, they need to raze about 210 acres of trees, which is less than half of the 537-acre project site.

Origis says "trade-offs are necessary." But try telling that to the utopians who think everyone will have a government job with a paid vacation, healthcare, "healthy" food, and "adequate" housing through a 10-year plan that eliminates 83 percent of our current energy sources, but builds out highspeed rail so good, and so fast, that air travel "stops becoming necessary." How do we pay for it? "The question isn't how will we pay for it, but… what will we do with our new shared prosperity?"

The solar farm would actually keep 32 so-called "specimen trees" that are at least 30 inches in diameter, but (gasp!) "17 others of that size will be cut down."

Most of the trees on the land haven't been there that long, as the forest has already been "cleared of most hardwood trees and pines."

So what happens if the enviros win and the solar farm is blocked?

"[T]he owners could elect to ‘timber' the property, which has been done in the past and would involve cutting down a large number of the trees," the Post reports.

"I would argue that they're missing the forest for the trees."