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EDITORIAL: Another chapter in greens against green energy saga

Nevada has been a focal point of the contradictions inherent in the push for green energy. While environmentalists demand an end to fossil fuel use, they erect obstacles to mining and other projects necessary to make the transition to a green future.

In Nevada, environmental groups have sued to stop lithium extraction and to block geothermal energy plants. Never mind that such endeavors would reduce our reliance on dirtier energy sources and help provide the materials necessary to build and power electric vehicles.

This incoherent approach to public policy is evident beyond the Silver State. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the price of copper is expected to surge, as the metal is integral to many green energy systems. That makes the substance more attractive to extract — if miners are able to overcome myriad obstacles to get it out of the ground. “A major problem is the heightened scrutiny of new projects on environmental and social grounds,” the paper noted, “is significantly raising the cost of the new mines necessary to fuel a low-carbon global economy.”

This is becoming a familiar refrain. The New York Times in January reported on environmental and tribal opposition to copper mines in rural Arizona. “At stake are the ambitious climate goals” set by President Joe Biden, the Times explains, adding that to “meet those targets, the country will need many more wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles — and all of those will require a lot more copper.”

Yet while blue states are demanding an all-EV future by 2035 or sooner, and the White House pushes drastic reductions on emissions in coming years, the mining projects necessary to meet such overly optimistic goals will likely take years to come to fruition — if they ever do — thanks to onerous permitting requirements and legal challenges.

A handful of activists are beginning to admit that they would prefer a sort of de-industrialization rather than allow the development of robust green energy sources. In other words, they favor increased poverty and the destruction of the American economy, which has proved the greatest wealth generator the world has ever known.

“I think using a smaller shovel still continues getting you deeper into the hole that this culture has been digging for a long time,” Max Wilbert, an anti-mining activist with Project Thacker Pass, told Environmental Health News in February. “We don’t need a different kind of shovel. We need to stop digging.”

Give Mr. Wilbert credit for candidly expressing the motivations that guide many radical greens. Do more mainstream Democrats want to jump on board the deprivation bandwagon? If not, they’ll soon have to confront those who profess an allegiance to a green energy revolution yet stand in opposition to producing the materials necessary to make it happen.

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None of this is to say that Western states don’t need to continue aggressive conservation measures while working to compromise on a Colorado River plan that strikes a better balance between agricultural and urban water use.