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OPINION

Why the Eco-Left Doesn't Care About Dead Whales

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Consistency.  It is a word that resonates with most people, evoking memories of times when stability and dependability flourished, as well as when erratic, variable behavior caused angst.

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When it comes to the environmental lobby and activist organizations, they have an incredible record of consistency…except it has nothing to do with the environment.

Private jets, elite resorts, and massive seaside homes are all emblems of the hypocrisy of the modern environmental movement. However, let’s nominate another action for their Mount Rushmore of shame: save the whales.

In my home state of Alaska in 2019, a large natural gas producer announced it was applying to explore resources in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. That’s when a regional environmental group, Cook Inletkeeper, immediately went on the attack.  It filed a joint lawsuit claiming the company couldn’t perform necessary seismic tests and increase its ship traffic in the area without impacting the local beluga whale population. Belugas are a protected species, and their health and survival, the plaintiffs claimed, would be irreparably harmed, since seismic testing would interfere with the sonar systems the whales use to navigate the silty waters.

Fast forward two years later, and an eco-zealot, out-of-touch federal district judge sided with the enviros, forcing the producer to change its approach to exploration and development.  Production of natural gas in the area ultimately provides roughly 85% of the heat and gas-generated power for Southcentral Alaska’s businesses and residents.  Without additional reserves being found and tapped, Anchorage and the surrounding areas could be forced to import gas by the end of the decade. 

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The irony in this story is that Inletkeeper and others have fought previous attempts to build hydro-power-producing dams, because of their potential impact on spawning salmon.  To Inletkeeper and others, fish and whales always come before human progress and safety. 

Contrast this with the situation happening currently on the East Coast, where at least 23 whales have washed ashore since late last year.  By and large, environmental groups have stayed silent on the situation since the potential culprits behind the sudden increase in whale deaths have been speculated as the huge offshore wind farms and their promise of ‘green’ energy for the area. 

One of the few to speak out and demand that the wind farms halt activity until more studies can be done to show that the projects aren’t harming the whales was New Jersey-based Clean Ocean Action. Immediately, there was backlash from groups such as the Sierra Club and Save Coastal Wildlife, who claimed, without proof, that climate change and ocean pollution were to blame, not the seismic or increased ship activity associated with the wind farm construction. 

To the eco-left, it is clear: Fossil fuel development is bad for whales.  Renewable projects can’t harm them, even if the developers’ actions are the same in both instances. They will consistently push for more political power for their friends, even at the cost of their environment. If it was windmills on the line in Alaska, rest assured, some dead belugas would be a small price to pay. If you want proof, just follow the money. 

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Funding sources for some of our environmental groups come from Bill and Melinda Gates, through their Gates Foundation. They have granted tens of thousands of dollars to Alaska-based anti-development organizations over the past five years, which have been used to oppose oil, gas, and mining projects in the state. 

Here’s the catch. Bill Gates is a major funder and business partner in wind and micro-nuclear projects, which will need critical and strategic minerals to be developed at exponentially greater capacities if his projects are to be commercially viable and scalable.  Gates and his business partners are either going to get them domestically or empower Communist China to increase its near-monopoly-level share of many of those components.  By fighting projects in Alaska and elsewhere across the U.S., he clearly has chosen the latter. 

Americans who believe in the cult-like message of the climate lobby – that the world is at a tipping point, and, unless mankind takes a dramatic set of steps, will suffer untold hardships – are desperate to grow their following.  Establishing consistency – in mission, language, and action – would help them.  So would having an indisputable set of facts, instead of biased studies and fear-over-facts-level messaging.

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Until then, the world – and America specifically – should be pushing back on their agenda.  To do otherwise is to allow grift, hyperbole, and embellishment to flourish where they shouldn’t.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs and opportunities. Contact him at Rick@PowerTheFuture.com and follow him on Twitter @PTFAlaska.

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