Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Chilling Report from The Great White North

I strongly believe not-in-my-backyard obstructionism has gotten out of hand -- in Nevada, they've even gone after ice cream trucks -- yet I also fear the coercive, totalitarian tendencies lurking just below the surface of the modern environmental movement. Which leaves me conflicted about this story out of Canada, where the Premier of Ontario recently announced that NIMBYism will no longer be permitted to stand in the way of "green energy" projects.

"The "not in my backyard" syndrome that has created roadblocks for new energy projects will no longer be tolerated by the Ontario government, Premier Dalton McGuinty warned Tuesday as he pitched his proposed Green Energy Act. McGuinty told the London Chamber of Commerce the legislation will include provisions to stop special interest groups or municipal governments from trying to block green energy projects for anything other than safety or environmental concerns.

"We're going to find a way through this new legislation to make it perfectly clear that NIMBYism will no longer prevail when it comes to putting up wind turbines, solar panels and bio-fuel plants," he told the business audience. "We need those jobs. We need clean electricity, and we need to assume our full responsibility in the face of climate change."

NIMBYism, when taken to extremes -- which it almost always is -- is making it increasingly difficult to build just about everything, from new power plants to new roads, to new schools and even new churches. You name it and NIMBYs will fight it. And I'm betting NIMBYism will become a major impediment to moving forward on all the "shovel-ready" construction projects funded by the federal "stimulus" bill.

But I'm even more wary of the "McGuinty mindset": That there's no room for dissent or democracy when it gets in the way of the green agenda. And I fully expect that this "our way or the highway" attitude will start to be heard in the United States as well -- including, perhaps, from President Obama -- if NIMBYism becomes an even greater impediment to the "green New Deal," or to "saving the planet," which is the banner under which eco-Stalinists march.

"Our new law will uphold rigorous safety and environmental standards, but once those standards have been met, we intend to assert the greater public interest in clean, green electricity and the jobs that come with it," McGuinty said. "Municipalities will no longer be able to reject wind turbines, solar panels or bio-fuel plants because they don't like them. We can't allow interests to oppose these simply because they don't like them . . .As a society, as an economy, either we're committed to clean, green jobs or we're not. I say we are, and we'll take the necessary steps to ensure we move in that direction."

What those "necessary steps" might be, the premier wouldn't say. But his statements seem more like those of a despot -- like something one might hear from leaders in Venezuela or Russia -- than someone in a Western democracy.

"That's Canada," you might say. "Can't happen here."

But just look what happened with hockey.

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