Environmental sensitivity, sentimentality and stupidity

Have you read that “wetland” forests in northeastern North Carolina are “sensitive” and “threatened” by Europe? (Should we call Homeland Security?) It’s right here in a Raleigh News & Observer story I’m reading through puffs of cigar smoke (part of my “carbon footprint”—it’s OK though, I can see the tree leaves in the forest canopy above absorbing carbon; makes the trees grow while saving us from death and destruction by Earth’s ever-changing climate, we’re told).

Speaking of trees—a prolific and valuable natural resource—energy producers in the U. K. and Europe want some of our plentiful wood supply in pellet form to fuel electric utility plants.

You might wonder why it’s more cost effective to import processed wood from North Carolina for fuel rather than use abundant coal available near the power plants. It’s my guess that carbon warmers in Europe, intent on moving people back to the Dark Ages, want to shut down coal production over there. Of course, here in the Colonies environmental puritans also robe up for a witch-hunt against the black devil: coal.

On another quest against environmental deviltry, priest-like overseers of sacred “wetlands” put a hex on a forest products company’s pellet mill in Ahoskie, N. C. The usual suspects show up in this story: a nonprofit litigation cabal based on the left-coast, an academic from UNC-Chapel Hill and an environmental “alliance” from Asheville, N. C.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and an arborescent gang, the Dogwood Alliance (Are trees now in league against people? Get out the chainsaws!), have prepared a “report” warning that the wetland forests near Ahoskie may be done in by “industrial-style” logging—typical environmental nonsense. Growing and harvesting timber, especially in the South, is a very big industry. Thus, all associated logging could be called industrial. What are these people talking about?

Well, it seems that Enviva pellet company people have hooked up with Wilmington State Port people figuring that a $40 million terminal here to ship wood to Europe would benefit a lot of folks, including revenue for themselves (and let’s not forget the government). Two new mills in southeastern N. C. expected to produce an additional 1 million tons of wood pellets will require more tree cutting.

(I wonder when the N. C. Coastal Federation and its affiliated activists will begin a campaign to “Stop Enviva” similar to their four-year “Stop Titan Network” offensive against the Carolinas Cement Company. “Wetlands good; tree cutting bad” could be a slogan that matches their mentalities.)

Wood production is the primary purpose of forestry, applying the science and art known as silviculture—the cultivation of forests. Forest companies grow trees for profitable products not for preservation parks.

Environmentalists in preservation-at-all-cost mind sets deceive the public with meaningless jargon about “biodiversity,” “sensitive” wetlands, and “significant, negative impacts” from logging. They craft this propaganda to give human characteristics to non-human things and mislead us about using natural resources. In reality, without these resources we will be less prosperous, healthy and free.

Whether the substitution of wood pellets for coal to produce energy in Europe proves to be an economically viable venture, or not, there is no rational reason to believe that wood harvesting has negative impacts for us. But we do know that if environmental radicals continue to convince our government officials that we must curtail our economic activities, there will be serious negative impacts on our lives—we’ll all have fewer choices and be poorer, while government power over us expands.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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