Renewable energy

What If a Border Wall Paid for Itself? (And Helped Address Environmental Problems Too)

An interesting proposal for an energy-water corridor along the U.S.-Mexico border that might even pay for itself.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

I am profoundly skeptical that a physical barrier is the best approach to border security, but what if, instead of a wall, the nation constructed infrastructure that would generate electricity and help address other environmental concerns? A consortium of engineers have proposed just such an idea: an Energy, Water, Industry and Education Park (FEWIEP) that would enhance border security while providing energy and water to the border region. Among other things, the plan anticipates that such a project, once built, would help pay for itself through the generation of electricity.

Here's how Scientific American describes the idea:

Instead of an endless, inert wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, line the boundary with 2,000 miles of natural gas, solar and wind power plants. Use some of the energy to desalinate water from the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean and ship it through pipelines to thirsty towns, businesses and new farms along the entire border zone. Hire hundreds of thousands of people from both countries to build and run it all. Companies would make money and provide security to safeguard their assets. A contentious, costly no-man's-land would be transformed into a corridor of opportunity. . . .

The border region receives boundless solar energy, and has significant natural gas and wind resources. It's also suffering from extreme drought, and water shortages are predicted to get worse. Farming is exceedingly difficult. And jobs are often scarce—in part because of lack of water and power. If an energy and water corridor were built, the facility owners would protect their properties. Transmission, gas and water lines would be monitored by companies, states and federal agencies, as many elsewhere are now. And the plants could be integrated with security walls or fences.

I'm skeptical of parts of the plan, particularly the emphasis on water desalination. The problems of water scarcity in the western US are more a policy problem than a problem of physical supply. The expansion of water markets and real water pricing would do much to rationalize water use (and also help address the consequences of climate change).

That said, much of the US-Mexico border would be an ideal place to expand solar power, and such installations would provide something of a physical barrier (insofar as some folks think such a barrier is desirable). Solar power doesn't work well everywhere, but there are parts of the country to which it's quite well suited. And if we're going to have something of a wall—and Mexico is not going to pay for it—wouldn't it be a consolation if the "wall" could pay for itself?

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113 responses to “What If a Border Wall Paid for Itself? (And Helped Address Environmental Problems Too)

  1. If there is anything so called “conservatives” hate more than brown people – its solar energy.

    1. That’s a racist comment, you racist.

    2. Nothing more racist than a filthy progtard.

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    4. Nope, we really hate sanctimonious morons. Oh and democrat anti-Semites. Solar energy is way below democrat anti-Semites.

      1. Oops. Forgot democrat socialists. So let’s see…that’s sanctimonious morons, followed by democrat anti-Semites (but maybe they should be first? I’ll accept that) then democrat socialists, and finally solar energy.

  2. ” And if we’re going to have something of a wall — and Mexico is not going to pay for it — wouldn’t it be a consolation if the “wall” could pay for itself?”

    Except, it won’t pay for itself. There is no example of solar power making economic sense without large government subsidies, or huge rate increases.

    1. Yep. Just build the wal,so we can keep illegals out.

    2. Wouldn’t it be a consolation if we take a stupid idea and bundle it with an even stupider idea?

    3. The wall will “pay for itself” just by slowing the influx of illegal aliens. Illegal aliens are pretty expensive, estimated to cost about $65K net, each.

      1. Excellent response.

      2. Complete BS response. Nothing wrong with having a point of view, but Center for Immigration Studies should not be sited as a sole source.

        As is highlighted by the
        Times
        NBC
        Brookings

        1. Wow. A combination of, “WE haven’t studied that, so YOU must be wrong!” and “Illegal immigrants don’t look so bad if you lump them in with legal immigrants!”

          1. And, you know, ‘those cis numbers are spurious.’

            Even given confirmation bias, citing that 65K figure as a fact is just wrong. It’s not a lie if you believe it, though!

  3. This is a bizarre, and likely flawed proposal. I appreciate the sentiment, but still…

    We’ll start with this. Wind turbines and solar plants don’t make good “walls”. They’re specifically designed to have either large areas in between them at the base (so the blades don’t hit each other), or nice access availability. In many ways, it actually hurts border security. Previously, you would’ve had a nice, open plain. Lots of space, but easily visible from a distance. Now, you have lots of areas to infiltrate through, with none of the easy visibility. It makes it harder to enforce the border, not easier. You might be able to put walls in between the wind turbines, but then, it makes it harder to service them (and you’re where you started, with more walls).

    Then, to service these plants, you have lots of nice roads, and ready traffic to nearby cities. Making it easier, again, to smuggle people through.

    Now, no one has said a wall alone is “the best” way for border security. But it is a critical piece, in conjunction with border patrols and remote surveillance. There’s a reason they’ve been used through history. They act as an impediment to travel in an area. It’s significantly harder to get through a wall, than it is for the equivalent flat land. It’s not insurmountable, but it acts as a force multiplier for the border patrol. It’s also harder to eliminate once it goes up.

    1. I think the “barrier” argument is that these facilities will need to be maintained, inspected, and patrolled, and will probably be covered in video surveillance so there will be fewer opportunities for people to cross the border undetected. An inert wall can be breached in a matter of minutes (if not seconds) and the breach may not be discovered for weeks or even months

      1. The area is already subject to video surveillance. Solar panels would just be line of site obstructions. And more roads would need to be built for building and maintenance. Furthermore inspections would almost certainly be done periodically on some kind of monthly schedule. At best, there would be some extra crew in a given area once per month. Are those guys supposed to be deputized into ICE and have some kind of surveillance responsibility?

  4. On a larger note, you need to understand the role that illegal immigration has played in the United State towards wage suppression in African American working class and the white working class, and some of the very odd incentives taking place.

    Economics, at its core, is a supply and demand calculation. Now, in the last 50 years, the number of illegal immigrants in the country have skyrocketed, to between 10 million and 20 million (depending which source you use). That is…massive. As a pure percentage, it’s easily #1 in the western world. Between roughly every 1 of 30 to 1 of 15 people, an illegal immigrant. By and large, illegal immigrants overwhelmingly tend to take working class jobs. The vast increase in labor supply here suppressed wages for the working class. And it can be seen in the historical data. Working class wages kept up through the 70’s. But once illegal immigration massively increased…working class wages didn’t keep up. Put bluntly, illegal immigrantion hurt African American working class wages. And white working class wages.

    But why did the professional class apparently support illegal immigration so much? That’s an interesting sociological question, we can answer in the future.

    1. you need to understand the role that illegal immigration has played in the United State towards wage suppression in African American working class and the white working class.

      This is not well-proven; it’s just a talking point.

      Economics is complicated. Take a page for Hayek and don’t think your common sense can hack it.

      1. This is quite well proven.

        I’ll quote one bit from a Cornell paper (linked below).

        “As for wage suppression, all studies show that the large infusion of immigrants has depressed the wages of low skilled workers. It is the illegal immigrant component of the immigration flow that has most certainly caused the most damage but there is no way to isolate their singular harm.”

        https://cis.org/Testimony/Illegal-Immigration- Impact-Wages-and-Employment-Black-Workers

        This argument that “it’s complicated” is misguided and anti-scientific.

        1. Link doesn’t work.

          1. The blog places limits on the number of characters in a word, making most links difficult. There’s a deliberate space between immigration- and impact. Delete the space

            1. That word limit does not apply if the link is formatted as a proper HTML link rather than dropping a raw URL and relying on the system to convert it to a link.

              HTML link instructions

              Your link done right

              1. I could…. but one should be able to post a raw URL. It makes it clear what the link is. For those who are less..informed…a link that doesn’t actually have the URL in the text could lead somewhere poor.

                1. Bull shit. Every browser in existence will show the raw URL for a proper HTML link if you hover the mouse cursor over it.

                  That complaint only applies to the assholes that user tiny URL redirector services to get around the limit.

              2. Thank you.

        2. There are lots of papers saying stimuli work, but the right says those are claptrap.

          is the paper people like to cite about competition between illegals and blacks, not filtered through an advocacy site.

          While it finds some causal connection, the magnitude is unclear. And, of course, the paper find things are a lot more complicated than you do, once your read it.

          Now, classical economics does not claim that an increased supply of labor must at all times
          tend to the general welfare. Labor is only one element of production, and if other factors
          become less free, or more scarce, then a general contraction in living standards may follow.
          That, in fact, describes the preconditions for emigration?the reasons why people leave the
          country of their birth for a strange land.
          But should such a general contraction occur in America?and our studies do not suggest that
          this has yet occurred?the optimal solution to an oversupply of labor would be a reduction of
          impediments to emigration. As things stand now, the undocumented?or if you prefer,
          illegal?immigrant has no practical path to legal work status, and powerful reasons to stay in
          America even if the work dries up.

          Put in more work than reading people who agree with you.

          1. It’s simple enough: Stimuli CAN work, but that doesn’t mean stimuli WILL work.

            If you’re leading a relatively drug free life, and then you run into a situation where you absolutely have to be alert without sleep for an extended period, stimulants will accomplish it just fine, then you’ll pay for it afterwards.

            If you’re a meth addict crashing at the end of a binge, stimulants won’t do squat for you.

            The problem is that, in economic terms, our economy is more like the meth addict at the end of the binge, than the guy on the straight and narrow. We’ve been stimulating the heck out of the economy for decades, without any break.

            And that’s setting aside the fact that most stimulus programs get diverted from applications that might have some stimulation effect, into handouts to political supporters who can be relied on to launder part of them back to the politicians directing them.

            1. You expect sarcastro to actually understand one of his arguments?

              1. Jesse, I’ve read Hayek. I get where he’s coming from, even if I think there is good data about how stimulus works.
                But the right discards his humility-based principles when it comes to wages, and immigration, and anything else they want.

                Kind of proving him right, in a way.

          2. “While it finds some casual connection, the magnitude is unclear”.

            This is of course, a very bad argument. This can be measured. And has been. The wage suppression has been measured to be up to 7.4% for those without a high school education.

            https://cis.org/Increasing- Supply-Labor-Through-Immigration

            Now, you may find other numbers for the wage suppression. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Saying “we can’t do anything because we don’t know the exact amount” is like a global warming argument saying we can’t do anything without knowing the exact values for everything. And I know you won’t buy that.

            What that type of argument is, is a way to avoid the truth. And a question…do you actually care about the wages of low income African Americans? Or are they not as important to you as having cheap labor through more illegal immigration?

            1. FFS cis sited again as a reputable source. They have an agenda. Borjas does as well.

              Not that such positions should not be looked at, so I did.
              He doesn’t address causality at all – he uses a simulation. Which is fine, but should not be sited as a proven fact as you did.

              1. Once again, your position is to make ad hominem arguments, rather than approach the position itself. It’s an argument of weakness.

                IE “These people have an agenda, so can’t be trusted, so their argument is bunk”.

                This is exactly the same kind of argument you would dismiss without regard if it concerned Global Warming, and scientists whose simulations supported it. But because it’s presenting data and arguments you don’t like (but apparently don’t have a good rebuttal for), you go to the ad hominem fallacy.

                If you can make a decent argument for why a massive increase in the low wage labor poor wouldn’t decrease wages in that pool (beyond “it’s complicated”), I’m all ears.

                1. Saying you shouldn’t take a source with an agenda as fact isn’t ad-hominem. Indeed, ‘Not that such positions should not be looked at, so I did’ is just about the opposite of ad hominem.

                  Thought the simulation bit would be brought up re: global warming. Except that with global warming, it’s many simulations by multiple institutions and even then the claims are not nearly so concrete – more about timescales than exact numbers.

                  What about you? If you discard global warming, how can you treat this as fact?

                2. If you can make a decent argument for why a massive increase in the low wage labor poor wouldn’t decrease wages in that pool (beyond “it’s complicated”), I’m all ears.

                  The stickiness of money and the stratification of jobs between different same-class cohorts (racial/geographic/rural/urban); behavioral effects, the fact that labor markets have not been particularly amenable to pure supply-demand analysis (see studies on minimum wage, for instance.)

                  Big picture – I think illegal immigration is a moral horrorshow. It’s neo-serfdom and we’ve built our country on it for far too long. But when conservatives argue we should build a wall and otherwise screw the victims in order to save the blacks is some bad-faith I’m not particularly amenable to.
                  Make a minimum wage and benefits for everyone. Pour money into enforcing that, and the incentive for employers to hire them goes away. And they go away as well, except without the demonization the right’s using to win elections lately.

    2. ” Put bluntly, illegal immigrantion hurt African American working class wages. And white working class wages.”

      Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just say, “working class wages”? There’s no reason to break them out separately when they’re being effected in the same way.

      1. It would’ve been simpler. But you need to understand how the liberal mind works these days. Hurting working class wages, and they shrug or worse. I’m sure our good Reverend will have kind words about “uneducated…” and so on.

        Hurt “African American” working class wages, and then they pay attention.

        1. Love it when conservatives explain how liberals think.

      2. The paper he’s citing is about African Americans.

  5. I find it interesting/perplexing, to so often see people (who, as far as I can tell, never lived near the southern border) be so confident that a wall is unnecessary. I lived within a few miles of the US-Mexico border (south San Diego) for decades. The wall there (such that it is) has been absolutely essential to at least slowing (significantly) the number of illegal entrants in that area. In San Diego, El Paso, etc., you would (and in decades past, pre-barrier, did), have large amounts of people simply cross over en masse. Yes, those freeway signs warning about families running acrosss the freeways were real things back then.

    Drive along I-8 from San Diego to Yuma. There is no way for Border Patrol to patrol that length of open border with sensors, etc. You would probably need to increase the number of officers 1,000 fold.

    OTOH, there are substantial stretches when walls aren’t needed/feasible, as the terrain makes crossing almost impossible. So there is no need for the *entire* border to be walled. But taking the barriers down in Southern California or at El Paso? Nuts.

    All that being said, if I had to choose I’d choose mandatory e-verify and harsh/enforced penalties against employers and identity thieves, over a foot of new barriers, 7 days a week. That will do more to address the problem than anything else. As a Republican, I place the blame squarely at the GOP and the Chamber of Commerce supporters in Congress for the failure to secure that into law.

    1. So, I used to have the same beliefs about E-Verify. But then I looked at the system, and how the various states and government utilize it, and I found something quite interesting.

      So the federal government mandates its use for itself, and for its contractors.

      A number of states mandate E-verify use for employers. These states are South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arizona. A number more follow the federal model, of requiring use for the state and local government and contractors. This includes Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Idaho, Nebraska, Utah, and more.

      However, it’s the other side of the coin that’s quite interesting. There are a number of states which actively INTERFERE with E-Verify use. California, for example, prohibits local governments from mandating E-Verify use. Illinois passed a law basically banning any employer from using E-Verify. Rhode Island and Minnesota have reversed previous pro-E-Verify orders or laws.

      So, I’d say the GOP has gotten as far as it can with E-verify, in the face of dramatic Democratic resistance.

      1. They’ve gotten as far as they can without accepting that we’re in the middle of a cold civil war, and escalating to warm.

        Under current commerce clause interpretations, it would be quite easy to declare that illegal immigrants working locally has a cumulative effect on national labor markets, and on that basis mandate use of E-Verify everywhere, on pain of legal penalties. And then go after any state governments that resisted on conspiracy charges.

        They could have done that at any time during the first couple years of the Trump administration, if it wasn’t that too many Republican office holders don’t want to problem addressed.

        1. There’s no constitutional problem with mandating E-verify for employers, I’d agree. There’s a political will problem. The parties are in the midst of a voter switch. The GOP used to have the professional class, the Democrats the working class. They are switching.

          Once African Americans realize how badly the Democrats are screwing them over with their pro-illegal immigration, cheap labor standpoint, I think they’ll leave the party en masse.

  6. Let’s be honest. No liberal actually cares about the cost. They oppose a wall because it’ll reduce the number of undocumented Democrats. If the money was instead used to buy Obamaphones for Shaniqua or PrEP drugs for gay men, they’d have no issue.

    1. Similarly the Republicans do want it for the same reason. Neither side admits this for obvious reasons.

      It’s similar to the occasional push to make Puerto Rico a state, giving the Democrats 2 more senators. The surface arguments are furious.

      1. The only reason Puerto rico isnt a state is Puerto rico keeps voting no.

        1. And the next time the Democrats have control of both elected branches, I expect they’ll stop taking “No” for an answer, and press gang Puerto Rico into statehood. Along with DC, American Samoa, Guam, the Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands.

          Bang, six extra states all guaranteed to vote Democratic.

      2. “Similarly the Republicans do want it for the same reason. Neither side admits this for obvious reasons.”

        Plenty of Republicans are “admitting” that.

    2. If the money was instead used to buy Obamaphones for Shaniqua or PrEP drugs for gay men, they’d have no issue.

      It is striking that so many of the ‘very small group’ of ‘very fine people’ that Pres. Trump has described turn out to be huge fans of The Volokh Conspiracy. The Conspirators have curated and cultivated effectively.

    3. Whens the last time YOU cared about cost?

      Don’t even try to pretend.

      1. I think government spending should be as low as possible. This is one of the few things the constitution allows the federal government to spend money on

        1. You want sweeping purges and to nuke other countries, and some states. You don’t care about anything.

          1. Wow you’re bad at logical arguments sarcastro.

            1. You do know who we’re talking to, don’t you Jesse?

            2. “Wow you’re bad at logical arguments sarcastro.”

              Yes he is. He really hasn’t actually made any rational arguments in this entire thread with over a dozen responses.

              1. You guys keep defending the guy who endorses Pinochet as being for small government; I’m pretty comfortable with my intellectual bona fides.

    4. We interrupt this screed by DeleteGrossLiberals to bring you a tiny bit of historical trivia :

      The Lifeline Program subsidizing providers who supply telephone services to low-income consumers ( aka “Obamaphones” ) did not begin under Obama, nor did he expand its benefits or scope. It originated in the administration of Ronald Reagan and was revised to include cellular service during the presidency of George W. Bush. Obama didn’t change the program in any way whatsover.

      We now return to your regularly scheduled DeleteGrossLiberals rant

      1. So what? Welfare queens attribute it to Obama. That makes it his. Isn’t that what you liberals say about white supremacism?

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tpAOwJvTOio

      2. For normal people confused by DeleteGrossLiberals response, I’ll explain :

        One poor black women said “obamaphone” on a local TV clip in Ohio, 2012. Now, immediately afterwards everyone reported she was mistaken – the Lifeline Program had no connection to Obama at all. It predated his presidency and was unchanged throughout his eight years. Normally that would have been the end of it, but Right-Wing-World has a very pronounced fetish for poor black women – and not in a positive or kind way.

        Because of that fixations this whole “obamaphone” meme was laser-etched into the right-wing hive mind. Witness DGL here : He’s embarrassingly wrong. I prove he’s embarrassingly wrong. Yet still he returns with a rabid defense of his folly. These people have so many freakish obsessions & hangups…..

      3. Yes he did expand it you dishonest piece of shit. Prior to Obama it was one phone per household. He expanded it by making it one per household member. He also reduced required documentation where if you were on any type of other subsidy you were allowed access to the program.

        1. Well, I went back and checked all my sources and feel I’m good to go. Here’s the eligibility rules hot off today’s FCC website :

          “Federal rules prohibit eligible low-income consumers from receiving more than one Lifeline discount per household. An eligible consumer may receive a discount on either a wireline or wireless service, but not both. A consumer whose household currently is receiving more than one Lifeline service must select a single Lifeline provider and contact the other provider to de-enroll from their program. Consumers violating this rule may also be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties.”

          So I presume (you dishonest piece of shit) that Obama expanded eligibility – even though there’s no mention of that change anywhere – and then it contracted back to pre-Obama after Obama? Is that what you’re selling? (You dishonest piece of shit). Well, let’s hear your proof (you dishonest piece of shit). I can’t wait to see what gutter you scrape it out of.

          (Given the source – you – I’m betting it’s shitty)

          Fair warning : The Lifeline Program was completely private enterprise, save for basic eligibility and subsidy. They’re are a lot of hucksters out there trying to work a dime off the program. It’s probably useless for me to say this to a Trump supporter, but try not to be duped by a conman….

          (you dishonest piece of shit)

          1. Yeah, Jesse, that Obamaphone thing is a well-known bunch of BS; not a hill to die on no matter how many angry insults you throw around about other people’s intelligence.

            1. I presume Jesse will have the integrity to write in, to say, “Okay, I was wrong about this. Period. Full stop.”

              It’s fine if he feels the need to go on after that, with something like, “I still think liberals are wrong about pretty much everything. But they managed to be right about this one thing, and I was flat-out wrong. Sorry for the “piece of shit” comment.”

              We’ll see his level of integrity soon enough.

    5. The only possible selling point about the cost is if it were self financing then their would be no need for an appropriation, and thus no congressional approval. That’s hardly a selling point for conservatives, and progressives don’t want any barrier.

  7. This is way late to the party, in that its been running joke for a long, long time that if Trump put solar panels on top of the wall, Dems would feel obliged to support its construction.

  8. The desalination piece suggests the article was not seriously researched. For most of its course along the border, the Rio Grande flows at high elevations, above 1000 feet, and in the upper border stretches above 3000 feet. Even at relatively low-lying Laredo TX, the elevation is above 400 feet. Taking that last number as a benchmark worth considering, where in the world is there any instance of desalinated irrigation water being lifted 400 feet to be put to use? In Saudi Arabia, maybe?

    Pretty sure it doesn’t happen in the U.S. In the arid west almost every drop of potential irrigation water is long since spoken for, but there are exceptions. In Idaho, near Twin Falls, a major irrigated agricultural center, thousands of cubic-feet-per-second of unspoken-for, high quality water pass by unused. Why? Because that water, in the Snake River Canyon, is 480 feet below the sage-brush-covered potential farmland on which it could be put to use. So far, it hasn’t proved economical to lift it so high for the purpose of irrigation, even without the additional cost of desalination.

    1. What about Israel? If I am not mistaken, desalinated water is used in the Negev, much of which is well above 400 feet.

      1. Bill Poser, I am not well informed about the Negev. What I could discover with a little Googling suggests that desalination has affected that region in 2 ways:

        1. Sea level desalination, by supplementing overall demand, has freed more upland water, which is sourced above the Negev, to be used there, instead of in coastal areas.

        2. Much of the Negev is underlain at shallow depths by brine, which can be desalinated without lifting it far.

        I haven’t found an example where desalinated water has been much lifted to irrigate economically crops on the Negev. I could easily have missed such an example, though. If you know of one, I would be interested to read about it. Issues of this sort will loom ever-larger in the American economy as time goes on.

        1. Ah thanks. I am unfortunately not up on the details of the use of desalinated water in Israel. You may be right that it is not being raised from sea-level to higher elevations in the Negev. I am in the middle of reading Seth Siegel’s book “Let there be water: Israel’s solution for a water-starved world” and may learn more.

    2. There are real issues in regards to pumping so much water so high.

      That being said, the best translation is to how deep water wells are drilled. And in parts of Texas, they’re drilled over 300 feet deep (and presumably pumped back up). California’s drilled water wells over 1000 feet deep. So, a big part of it depends on need.

      1. Armchair, do you know of any instance in either state where the water being lifted considerable distances is then also desalinated and used economically for irrigation. I couldn’t find one. But if that does happen, what do they do to get rid of the resulting concentrated brine?

        As a side note, it seems that those very deep California wells are drilled principally for oil, and yield some water more or less incidentally?an occurrence that is raising concerns about hydrocarbon contamination of deep aquifers.

        As with my note above to Poser, I could easily have missed examples that would be interesting, so if you know of any specifics, I would thank you for referring me to them.

  9. “What If a Border Wall Paid for Itself? (And Helped Address Environmental Problems Too)”

    And what if the workers drove to work, not in environmentally-damaging motor vehicles, but riding on the backs of their pink unicorns?

    1. They had to throw in “pay for itself” because it makes Trump’s $25 billion look like a penny for a gumball machine.

    2. ” riding on the backs of their pink unicorns?”

      Oh my granddaughter would love that!

      1. Unicorns are how the managers of the Gumdrop Tree Forest get their fertilizer.

  10. Contributions to renewable energy do indeed advance the goal of environmental amelioration. But industrializing a huge tract of largely untouched desert ecosystem to accomplish that is the wrong approach.

    Far better to do what is already being done farther north, as in Iowa. There, enormous wind farms are sprouting on land already used for industrial agriculture. The wind development adds little if any further degradation to the already-accomplished environmental disruption. An approach of that sort ought to be the rule for all proposed renewable energy planning development. The more disrupted the environment already is, the higher should be the priority to put renewable energy generation in that location.

    Of course, following such a rule won’t optimize renewable energy development, except in a few instances by accident. And it will work better as a rule for wind energy than for solar.

    The problem with solar is that the best sites may still be in a largely natural state, precisely because the large quantity of solar energy available is related to a lack of humidity, lack of available water, and thus to low development potential. So on average, compared to wind, good solar energy sites will probably be found to be more naturally pristine.

    1. “The wind development adds little if any further degradation to the already-accomplished environmental disruption. ”

      Tell that to the birds and bats they kill, and the people who’s lives are disrupted.

      Iowa wind developers forced to take down turbines

      1. The birds and bats are an ongoing controversy which seems meritorious in some locations, and less so in others.

        The human impacts you mention, referring to the particular story linked, don’t have much to do with wind development in Iowa generally. Looks like a tiny project, and a bad one, which ignored the principles I mentioned. I’m fine with seeing it ordered down. Indeed, I suggest detailed regional master plans?based on the principles I outlined?should be in place before more wind development occurs anywhere.

        For what it’s worth, I live about a quarter mile from a wind turbine which was one of the earliest installed in the U.S. I wish it were a bit farther from me, but on the whole, it hasn’t been too bad. Also, it’s in a bird-heavy area, but seems to fit in anyway, because most of the birds are sea ducks, which don’t fly as high as the blades. Others, like loons, falcons, seagulls, and cormorants, seem adept at avoiding them.

  11. The other side simply doesn’t want a wall. It doesn’t matter if it generated billions of dollars, deextincted the dodo, and positively addressed every other excuse they threw up against it. They believe the wall would harm the flow of new Democrat voters flooding into America so thats the real reason they oppose it. Not some sudden new found love of fiscal restraint or federalism they magically forget everytime they turn around to blow 1000x more money on another entitlement.

    1. Actually, that kind of ambitious infrastructure project is exactly the sort of thing I’d get behind.

      Your BS Replacement thesis isn’t looking too good lately, given the sorts that have been espousing it lately.

      1. Thats easy to say at a faroff unlikely hypothetical but I doubt Pelosi and Dems would roll over so easily to give trump and the republicans a major policy victory.

        I’m not sure what you’re talking about or where you’re coming from in the second part. Maybe you’re referring to white replacement? Suffice to say, unlike many leftists and Twitter bluechecks, I try not to shift my ideas on objective reality simply because this or that group does or doesn’t believe in something. I’m sure Joseph Goebbels believed in the importance of oxygen but that won’t stop me from breathing even though I don’t think he’s a saint.

        1. Ah, so I’m in bad faith. Thanks for that.

          White replacement is some dangerous BS, and it’s adherents have started to kill people citing their belief in it. That’s not correlation; that’s causation.

          1. Replacement posits the opposition to be an existential threat, and nonwhites to be their weapons. Is there any surprise it ends with violence?

            1. No, there’s not surprise.

            2. Non-whites ARE weapons. 80% or more vote for the Democrat Party, of every single non-white group. Individual liberty, small government, and a Constitutional republic appeals to whites only. The rest of humanity is content to live as chattel slaves.

              1. American Jews and people with advanced college degrees also vote heavily Democratic, though only because the Republican party is nauseating and stupid. Why people pay $10,000 a plate for such uncooked offal is baffling.

          2. Replacement theory is not some fantasy, it’s real, it’s slowly happening, and it’s being done on purpose.

            Let me give you a historical comparison. Do you know the subtext of Booker T. Washington’s “cast down your bucket where you are” speech? It was because America had opened wide the doors of European immigration in order to diminish the political & economic power of the freedmen.

            Anyway, a small, but fun piece of evidence that I’d like you to explain away: Why Does Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC keep a list on his wall of the non-hispanic white population by the decade?

            And seriously, there are deliberate ethnic replacements underway in the world today, ask the Tibetans. These things are real, and do happen.

            1. The one thing that makes me happy about this is that the disaster will be that the doorsteps of white liberals first. Look at San Francisco and NYC for examples.

            2. It’s hilarious, in a dark way: They brag about demographic trends leading to inevitable Democratic victory, they take actions to accelerate those trends, and demand that you not see any connection between these two things.

              1. It’s only okay to point to demographic change when done with resounding approval. If you present it as a bad thing, or even a neutral thing, you’re an evil racist.

              2. Brett, Ds haven’t begun to accelerate those trends in the ways I would advise them to do. I suggest Ds ought to encourage Puerto Ricans to emmigrate, and live instead in Dallas and Atlanta. The instant something like that started to get traction, the Rs would lead the charge on making Puerto Rico the 51st state, and lavish as much aid on them as it would take to get them to stay put. If the Ds decided to drag their feet, and bargain hard, they could probably get statehood for D.C. as a throw-in.

                1. Neither party has had good luck encouraging people to move to a place for partisan reasons, have they?

            3. mad_kalak, assuming white replacement is being done by policy, are you in the camp that thinks there ought to be civil war if you can’t turn the policy around? Are you ready to kill people to stop that policy?

              1. You’ll see that many whites will be willing to kill when their standard of living is being taken away.

                1. Hypothetical: Trump’s cuts to social welfare programs go through and your mom is no longer able to provide you with the lifestyle you currently enjoy, who would be doing the killing and who would get killed?

  12. If these migrants and their progeny were forever prohibited from voting, the Democrat Party would have no use for them. Fact.

    1. That’s putting it mildly. The normally proimmigrant Obama administration woke up one day and decided to move heaven and earth to kick out a few German homeschooling families since apparently, teaching your own children is along with free speech and self defense another extraneous luxury. Out of millions upon millions of illegals somehow they found it within themselves to expend the resources and go all out after these folks like a fat feminist goes after a hoagie. Bad luck I guess.

      1. Liberals only want “immigrants” to the extent that they’re unassimilable and will help destroy America. Black Muslims (like Somalis) fit that bill best, but unintelligent Hispanics from Mexico and Guatemala serve the purpose as well.

        1. You will be, and deserve to be, replaced by your betters.

          But not until they are done crushing your conservative aspirations in the culture war.

          1. So you’re admitting that you’re replacing Americans with third worlders for votes?

          2. Remember that”your betters”, for Arthur, includes people like Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin.

          3. Waitaminute I thought Sarky and the bearded unemployed hipsters editing wackypedia at starbucks say the ‘replacement thesis’ is a delusional conspiracy theory! You guys really need to get your stories straight

            http://tinyurl.com/z58jcym

            PS I will contend that the strategy is more general than the ‘white replacement’ Wackypedia and some ethnonationalists have characterized it to be and has been used in several other contexts ie Communist China intentionally replacing native populations with Han, but you have to be blind to not see this has become a real conscious strategy among some quarters in the left and it is indeed about ‘getting back at yt’ to some of them. Random crazy people holding this view invalidates it no more than the Black Panthers invalidate the past existence of Jim Crow.

    2. Yawn

  13. cold civil war, and escalating to warm.

    Ugh. This website is going this direction more and more. I think it’s a symptom of the GOP generally. Though I also see it growing, albiet in a less violent but no more final sence on liberal websites.

    1. For me it’s mostly a reaction to a whole bunch of things.

      Not so much what the Antifa do, but what they get away with doing. I’d be a lot more comfortable about them if the federal government were doing something about them.

      The ever escalating “deplatforming” movement. Talking is certainly better than fighting, but there’s a real effort to take the ability to talk away from the right, and it’s only getting worse.

      The “resistance”; Democracy, in order to function, requires that the bureaucracy accept the outcome of elections, not conspire to overturn them by insubordination, sabotage, and specious “investigations” that are premised on documents they already know to be nothing but partisan smears.

      And there’s a lot of talk, and not in low places, either, about a wide variety of tactics to make sure that, the next time Democrats take control, they never, EVER have to let it go. Turning all the US territories and DC into states. Naturalizing all the illegal aliens. More use of top two primaries to keep Republicans from even reaching the general election ballot.

      At this very moment, there are a couple of Democrat run states in the process of passing laws to keep Trump off the 2020 ballot. Now, manipulating ballot access to decide the outcome of elections isn’t new, third parties have been victims of it for decades, but doing it to a major party candidate? That’s a serious escalation.

      The list goes on and on.

      1. Yes, Brett, I’m aware of your dark musing about the many secret liberal agendas, but I hope you enjoyed recapitulating them for me.

        If you’ve been to any kind of organizing meeting, you’d realize that liberals are just about incapable of having an agenda at all, much less a secret one.

        Maybe it’s just the effect of the move to reason, but even a bunch of the regulars are moving over into intimating coming violence.

        I’m not worried about the actual violence being effective (other than the obvious tragedy that comes with it), but the rejection of civil methods is bad for America and sad for those who go there, confusing righteousness with virtue.

  14. “I am profoundly skeptical that a physical barrier is the best approach to border security”

    Whether they are the best or not is simply an invitation for endless debate on the issue. A physical barrier is an effective approach to border security and it is a step in the right direction.

    If you are arguing that physical barriers are not an effective approach to border security, how much do you think should be spent removing the barriers already in place?

    Although I think that question is largely moot. This blog seems to advance the open borders philosophy. At least for the country as a whole,. Not necessarily for their neighborhood or community.

    1. jubulent, how about between the U.S. and Mexico we get ourselves a 90-mile-wide moat, full of sharks, like the one that kept the Cubans out of Florida

      1. The number of individuals illegally crossing the border from Cuba to the US is significantly lower than the number of individuals illegally crossing the border from Mexico to the US. I think it’s fair to say that a 90-mile wide moat full of sharks is at least a reasonable deterrent against illegal crossing.

        Are you suggesting there should be no restrictions on immigration because we can’t get 100% compliance with the law?

        How about restrictions on murder? Laws are insufficient to prohibit 100% of murders, maybe we should just repeal laws prohibiting murder.

        1. I’m suggesting physical barriers are mostly stupid and expensive (except for the Gulf Stream, I guess). You want control of illegal immigration? Prosecute the people who hire the illegals. You wouldn’t really have to do anything else. A good way to publicize it would be to start the prosecutions with Trump.

          Problem is, those employers are mostly in the same party as the folks who want to cut immigration, so the politics are hard to work out. Looks like an internal problem for the Republican party. But if Republicans aren’t willing to use the least expensive, most effective method?a method many Democrats would support, by the way?then they shouldn’t expect Democrats to back extremely expensive less effective alternatives.

          1. “Problem is, those employers are mostly in the same party as the folks who want to cut immigration, so the politics are hard to work out. Looks like an internal problem for the Republican party. But if Republicans aren’t willing to use the least expensive, most effective method?a method many Democrats would support, by the way”

            BS. There is zero support for E-Verify and the attendant prosecutions of employers among Democrats.

  15. Here’s how Scientific American describes the idea:…..”The border region receives boundless solar energy…”

    Either the prestigious science journal does not know the meaning of “boundless” or is unfamiliar with the complex scientific event known as “night.”

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