Republicans love to complain about government boondoggles, perpetually deriding government waste and lack of accountability. A few years ago, one of their favorite sources of ridicule was money spent on the Teapot Museum in Sparta, NC. Now, the GOP is pushing to expand one of its own boondoggles–Solar Bees.
Instead of implementing carefully negotiated rules to clean up Jordan Lake, the water source water for many Triangle towns, Republicans approved a scheme to allow solar-powered paddles to stir up sediment in the lake, somehow ridding it of harmful nutrients. So far, there’s no evidence that it works. At least the Teapot Museum attracted tourists.
So what are Republicans doing? Expanding the program to Falls Lake, of course. Like rubes buying magical elixirs from old-time hucksters, the GOP is doubling down on dumb. If it doesn’t work in one lake, maybe it will work in another.
In reality, Republicans don’t care as much about clean water as they do about keeping their benefactors happy. The negotiated rules called for developers and polluting industries to reduce the amount of nutrients and other harmful materials entering the waterways feeding into Jordan Lake. The rules would almost certainly cost the polluters more money because, just like kindergarten, they have to clean up after themselves. No accountability, no problem.
Republicans, though, believe they should keep on polluting and then use unproven technology to somehow remove the pollutants once they are in the lake. Now, everybody is happy. The polluters don’t have to take responsibility for their mess. Some company named Solar Bee gets a fat government contract for technology that doesn’t work. And Republican legislators get big donations from the companies that no long have to stop polluting.
On Earth Day, we should remember that the party that once led in conservation and environmental responsibility no longer cares. Or at least they care more about keeping polluters happy than they do about keeping the environment clean. That’s a shame. Happy Earth Day, anyway.