Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

March 8, 2013

The beetle and the pipeline

When progressives talk of government, it is in an alluring can-do spirit. Making the case for more spending, President Barack Obama invokes the 19th century as a heroic age that built government-supported railroads. MSNBC hosts pose in front of monumental 20th-century public-works projects and speak of what all of us can do together.

This is all well and good as nostalgia, but is utterly detached from the spirit and the practices of 21st-century government. We don't excel at building things. We excel at studying things, and putting up obstacles to building them. We delay, cavil and sue. We protest and micromanage. It is not the age of the engineer but of the bureaucrat, the lawyer, and the environmental activist.

Consider the proposed Keystone pipeline to connect the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, with the Gulf Coast. The Obama administration has been happy to keep the nation's foremost shovel-ready project in a state of suspended animation for years, so it can be constantly studied toward no end whatsoever except placating people with a theological objection to pipelines.

For a taste of the 21st-century American attitude toward building things, I direct your attention to Volume 2 - not Volume 1, 3, or 4 - of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, not to be confused with the three prior environmental studies, including one in August 2011 that was erroneously called the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

Therein is a section considering the pipeline's impact on endangered and potentially endangered animals and plants. It evaluates the effect on everything from the Sprague's Pipit to the blowout penstemon, although special attention is devoted to the American burying beetle. Just like your congressman, the beetle is a "federally protected invertebrate."

It lives in a handful of counties to be traversed by the pipeline in Nebraska and South Dakota. Its habitat could be disrupted. It could be hit by trucks. If the pipeline heats the ground, beetles burrowed into the soil for the winter could be fooled into emerging prematurely. Artificial lighting could expose it to increased predation.

Text Only
Commentary
  • Benefits of hiking minimum wage are just an illusion |I don’t know anyone averse to making more money. Sure, I have friends who demonstrate, through words and actions, that money is not the most important thing in their lives. But I haven’t seen one of them turn down a raise. I wouldn’t, either. (That'

    March 3, 2014

  • Benefits of hiking minimum wage are just an illusion |I don’t know anyone averse to making more money. Sure, I have friends who demonstrate, through words and actions, that money is not the most important thing in their lives. But I haven’t seen one of them turn down a raise. I wouldn’t, either. (That'

    March 3, 2014

  • Letter to the editor |To the Editor: As the dust has settled somewhat in the state legislature over HJR-3, with its endless debates, and other matters are given credence in the media, I'm given to reflecting on a phrase made famous by a folk singer of the 1960s who harmo

    February 27, 2014

  • Letter to the editor |To the Editor: As the dust has settled somewhat in the state legislature over HJR-3, with its endless debates, and other matters are given credence in the media, I'm given to reflecting on a phrase made famous by a folk singer of the 1960s who harmo

    February 27, 2014

  • A military budget of delusion |The Obama administration says that we need to end what it calls "the era of austerity" in Washington. Notably excluded from this admonition is the one department of government that is actually experiencing austerity worthy of the name. Defense Secre

    February 26, 2014

  • Brent Glasgow Sherman, Miller apples of the same tree

    There was a wide array of reactions to Seattle DB Richard Sherman’s post-game “interview” with Erin Andrews following the Seahawks’ NFC title win over San Francisco.

    Mine? Laughter, as the shout-down was the most entertaining thing I saw all day.

    January 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Glasgow Cash greener, but grass not so far for Butler

    Butler is still a long way from saving its 2013-14 men’s basketball season, but if the Bulldogs turn it around fully and reach the NCAA Tournament, it will have started this past Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Glasgow Downer finale doesn’t change Colts’ positives

    A fine season for the Indianapolis Colts ended with a whimper Saturday at New England, but in recent team history, it was far from the most disappointing postseason defeat.

    January 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Glasgow Colts have chance to pen masterpiece

    The Indianapolis Colts’ miraculous 45-44 wild card victory over Kansas City on Saturday ended just after 8 p.m. After leaving Lucas Oil Stadium, it took until around midnight for the pounding in my head to subside.

    January 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • A manufactured ADHD epidemic If at any time while reading this article your attention wanders, you may have ADHD. If you pause to check your e-mail sometime during the next three paragraphs, you should consult a doctor. If you fail to read this article all the way to the end, yo

    December 31, 2013

House Ads
Hendricks County Marquee
Email News Sign Up
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

New poll question: Will you be attending this year’s Indianapolis 500?

Yes
No
Undecded
     View Results
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Must Read