Dangling Rope Marina
Protection Agency, headed by Clinton appointee Carol M. Browner,
has recently been criticized by its own scientists for writing regulations
that are inconsistent with the science. A Washington Times editorial of
June 10, followed by a letter signed by 13 EPA scientists and staff members
who put their careers at risk for doing so, talks of egregious
misconduct, pervasive harassment, and threats of retaliation "at every
management level," including "officials at the highest level including
the office of Administrator Carol Browner."
Browner Saves the Earth from Global Warming
The marina has undergone several changes that the EPA brags will be good for the environment: they have removed diesel generators, replacing them with an array of 384 large photovoltaic panels (backed up by a propane generator), and installed energy-saving retrofits to cut consumption of energy by a projected 36%.
Down with CO2!
It ought to be obvious that the outpost does not use a huge amount of energy, so the casual reader will note that the 540 tons of CO2 must be trivial compared to that produced in a fossil-burning power plant, of which there are thousands world-wide. A little arithmetic will show that one large coal-burning plant produces 10 million tons of CO2 per year. Somehow, one imagines Browner filing her fingernails before stepping on the bathroom scale.
Protect The Environment from Diesel Fuel!
Not at all. Just below that is a photograph with a caption in italics, "Dangling Rope Marina, accessible only by boat, supplies food to more than 325,000 boaters a year and fuel for their boats." [emphasis added] Hmm. The good folks at EPA don't provide any data on this, but if they supply just one gallon of fuel per year to each of the 325,000 boaters, how does that compare with the 65,000 gallons of diesel fuel that they were burning to produce electricity? And how does that boat fuel get to the marina?
The EPA will probably have to fire whoever allowed those facts into the same report.
But Browner's EPA is not satisfied with obvious _ and probably not too costly _ improvements. They need to put up feel-good solar collectors at enormous cost to the taxpayers.
Making It Sound Good
Here are the words of the EPA: "The photovoltaic system was designed to supply up to 80 percent of the marina's power needs." [emphasis added]
In case there's any doubt about this report's purpose as a propaganda piece, we quote, "It also helps if the partners [who installed the solar collectors] receive other tangible benefits, such as high visibility."
The savings will come from increased efficiency, not from the solar toys. But confusion is the order of the day when the report says, "Savings from the new power plant are estimated at more than $3.2 million over its 20-year life."
Twenty years only? You've been telling us solar energy is forever!
Looking at the Numbers
As we noted in March 1997, the price of the solar photovoltaic collectors is a whopping $13 per installed peak watt, and perhaps $60-$70 per around-the-year average watt. But to get their hands into the public till, past the watchful eyes of Al Gore and Bill Clinton, Carol Browner's EPA need only gin up phony numbers.
The EPA writes regulations and micro-managing specifications about everything that could possibly cause any pollution anywhere. In particular, they should be able to keep one lousy diesel generator at Lake Powell from spewing air pollution around. Nonetheless, they create an exaggerated and totally arbitrary guess about the "externalities" (costs to The Environment) caused by the generator to make a phony case about how much money they're "saving" with their enormous solar installation. We leave you with this final quote: "_ the agency estimates that the annual avoided cost of emissions at $98,000, making the photovoltaics even more cost effective."
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