Reign of toads

Nevada's U.S. Senator Harry Reid and others seeking to curry favor with the green extreme have virtually guaranteed no new nuclear or coal-fired generating plants will be built to provide Southern Nevadans with reliable, relatively inexpensive power in the near future.

Not to worry, though. Lawmakers and bureaucrats in Washington who have never so much as worked a summer as a replacement meter reader -- let alone run a power company -- assure us the gap will easily be filled with all the new wind and solar plants due to come on line any day now.

True, that energy may cost a little more -- if your heart started to race last summer when you opened your electric bill and found it exceeded $300, start contemplating the number "nine hundred" -- but it's all to "save the planet," you understand.

There's plenty of money in Washington's new "stimulus package" to fund any hustler with some fast patter who promises to set up a "public-private partnership" to get new green energy on line. Hopefully all those federal dollars can do just as well this time as when they funded the big "Colorado oil shale" miracle of the 1970s. On the bright side, at least the green extremists can be counted on not to file any lawsuits that might block or delay the development of ...

Oh, wait.

A decade ago, the Nature Conservancy tried to head off the demise of the Amargosa toad, which inhabits the marshes and river banks north of Beatty, near the California state line, by purchasing key toad habitats, the Torrance Ranch and later the Parker Ranch, and then forming the public-private Amargosa Toad Working Group.

Bob Williams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service supervisor for Nevada, says the working group has "done a stellar job working with the species." Toads numbered 5,179 in 2007 -- the species is not in trouble.

"There is approximately 8,000 acres of toad habitat, mostly on private land but also on public land," Mr. Williams said this week. "The population of toads at the brothel near Beatty" -- where there's a pond, mind you -- "continues to persist and is actively surveyed every year."

Regardless of which, the extremist Center for Biological Diversity put the Fish and Wildlife Service on notice this week it intends to sue the federal government for not doing enough to protect the toad, arguing the toad's existence is threatened by the grazing of wild burros, off-road vehicles, and -- here it comes ... ready? -- the threat that groundwater upstream of the marshes might be tapped for future solar energy development.

Batteries. Maybe we can keep all those neon signs going with a great big pile of batteries ...