Million Dollar Way ponders The Irony Of It All – North Dakota Will Lose More Grassland, More Wetlands To Ethanol Than To The Oil And Gas Industry:
And with an ever-increasing number of slicers and dicers killing bats, eagles, hawks, and whooping cranes, the oil and gas industry is starting to look like an oasis of common sense.
Four industries: wind power, solar power, ethanol, and oil & gas. What common sense is visible seems to be in oil & gas.
…is environmentally unfriendly. Maybe. Probably. Possibly.
We don’t know because the EPA hasn’t gotten around to double checking the data since they increased their assumptions in order to make the concept look good. See my post: Q: What churned up 5M acres of never-before-plowed land, increased carbon output, poisoned rivers, and drove up food prices for the poor?
The MDW column above points to an article at The Bismarck Tribune, where a prof at SDSU says:
In the period from 2006 to 2011, North Dakota has had a net loss of about 220,000 acres of grasslands that have been converted into corn and soybean fields.
That conversion of never-plowed prairie to corn fields is driven by the demand for ethanol.
I don’t understand the science, but the prof says plowing up grasslands releases a huge amount of greenhouse gasses. Perhaps someone with the science background could calculate the net increase in emissions caused by the ethanol mandate.
The number of producing wells in North Dakota has increase by 5,400 in the last 5 years. At several acres each, that is far less use of land than the 220K acres that have been plowed up for new corn production.
Thus Mr. Oksol’s point, of more grassland and wetlands lost to ethanol than drilling, is quite correct.
… are killing an unknown number of California condors, golden eagles, hawks, and other raptors. They also take out a huge number of migratory birds protected by federal law.
I’ve not started reading about the loss of bats to wind turbines, which is apparently another major problem. Unless you like mosquitoes.
I’ve discussed the slice-and-dice farms quite a few times. See my posts here.
… are another issue I’ve been reading about. They are killing migratory birds who fly through the solar flux or land hard on the smooth, reflective panels.
I’ll soon have discussion on the unquantified damage to protected birds from solar farms. The lead article to discuss has a picture of a bird with most of its wing feathers burned off because it flew into the heat around the collecting tower.
I nominate the term ‘wing-toaster’ as the new description for solar farms. They can burn the wings off birds that get too close to the towers, sort of like leaving bread in a toaster oven too long. At something like several hundred degrees at the tower, that’s quite a toaster.
As a heads up, neither the companies nor federal regulators have any idea what the ‘takings’ are from solar farms. (A hint of future discussion: every taking of every protected bird requires advance permission or there is a fine and jail time.) One regulator provided a lackadaisical answer that we’ll just have to study the next cycle or two of migratory seasons to see if we can see any patterns.
Can you picture another industry getting away with a shoulder shrug when asked how many protected animals their operations are killing every year?
The oasis of common sense
Compared to all that, brown energy is a place of common sense.
(Photo of wing-toaster operation by James Ulvog.)