A couple of weeks ago, I noted the Obama administration’s hypocrisy concerning protecting endangered species from harm (in this case the California condor) when it runs up against the President’s preferred energy sources – wind energy in this instance.
Barely a week later and two new stories arise showing that though the administration values wind turbines more than condors, it values condors and other species more than your average citizen and his or her property.
To put the value scale in perspective:
- · Expensive, unreliable green energy > condors and other endangered species > average U.S. citizen.
CNN has publicized an ongoing dispute in Tombstone, AZ, where the U.S. Forest Service is refusing to let the city rebuild its water system; a system destroyed by wildfires and floods. Despite a clear chain of title, previous court victories backing Tombstone’s claim and multiple rebuilding projects carried out with the Federal government’s past approval, the USFS will only allow Tombstone to rebuild the pipeline with shovels and picks and horses – no mechanized equipment, with even wheelbarrows being considered mechanized. Absent the pipeline, the city’s residents are faced with moving out and on or drilling more wells in an area where arsenic in wells is not uncommon. Faced with such choices, Tombstone has sued the Administration in a case that will likely end up before the United States Supreme Court. One can only wonder how it has come to this. This should highlight the need for legislators, states and communities to look at the potential long-term harms that could result if a new wilderness area is carved out of their lands or if new species are declared endangered. This is a fascinating story and should be read in full.
In another case directly bearing upon the California condor’s standing, it seems that a large condo (one name for a group of condors) have taken up residence in a particular California valley. When the condors initially moved in the residents were charmed and amazed, but those feeling changed rather quickly as the damages that condors can cause quickly became evident. The huge birds have pecked off roof shingles, damage air conditioners, destroyed screens and the frames for doors and windows an have and left porches, patios and decks coated in foul smelling, potentially harmful droppings. For many species, such harms could be solved by harassing them or calling pest or animal control. Not for condors, they are protected and can’t even be harassed or shooed off. Mind you, these problems are not an act of God, the federal government reintroduced these birds into the wild, but now claim they have no responsibility for the damage they cause. This claim would not fly for any other government program supposedly carried out for the public benefit. What happened to paying takings when private property is damaged or basically controlled by the government in furtherance of a public purpose. As sad as this situation is, I’m glad it’s occurring in California – the citizens are reaping what they are trying to by pushing misanthropic environmental laws across the whole nation.