‘Green’ Apple Tortures the Environment — for Solar!

Apple logoWith all the forest clear-cutting, particulate emissions, and wildlife displacement with the widespread burning that is associated with Apple’s massive new energy-sucking data center in Maiden, NC, you’d think the folks at Greenpeace’s new Charlotte office and/or dozens of other environmentalist groups would be protesting non-stop over the damage inflicted on Mother Earth.

But such is not the case – at least not that the media is reporting. And why wouldn’t the eco-activists show up and show their irateness and infuriation? 

It’s because Apple is building a solar farm – you know, that environmentally-friendly alternative source of electricity that creates toxic liquid silicon tetrachloride during the production of solar panels, which is being dumped by the tons in China. As you may have heard, the Chinese lead the world in the production of solar panels, which is why the Obama Administration believes we must create hundreds – if not thousands – of Solyndras just to keep up. And you can really count on that power – as long as the sun shines!

Apparently it’s all worth it for the environmentalists, because they have not made a “peep” about Apple’s woodland desecration. According to the Hickory (N.C.) Daily Record, residents and local travelers “have seen a thick cloud of smoke” surrounding the location of the pending solar farm:

Residents who live on Millie Lane, which sits next to Apple’s property, said they were told about the burning the day it was to begin. 

“The told us they would have a fire, and only do it when the wind’s blowing away,” said Zelda Vosburgh. “They do it 24 hours a day. The house inside smells like smoke. I don’t know if it’s hurting us, breathing it 24 hours a day. Between the smell and the smoke, it’s bad.

“It’s pushed everything out of the woods into the area here. I had a snake on my steps,” she said. “I’ve seen rabbits and squirrels everywhere.”

Vosburgh said the burning began three years ago, when Apple began clearing land for the data center that hosts much of the company’s iCloud computer servers. Another local resident, LaDonna Hodge, said the pervasive smoke makes it difficult to breathe in her own yard. Debbie Wilson, who sees the smoke rising from her back door, said, “It was so smoky, you couldn’t breathe. And (there was) a trail going to Lincolnton. It was real bad, just like a big old smog.”

As a result of the complaints, it appears Apple has altered its plans and will instead grind the toppled trees into mulch rather than burn them. But still, how does the elimination of 170 acres of carbon dioxide-eating forest help the planet fight global warming?

I guess we shouldn’t ask Greenpeace’s minions, because while they believe deforestation is unacceptable when it is employed for the purposes of harvesting timber, paper pulp, soy oil, and palm oil, they believe they are perfectly consistent in approval of clear-cutting for solar farms. Just ignore that spillage of hazardous byproducts from the manufacturing of panels, the vast acreage required (no trees allowed!) to generate sufficient power, and the more-polluting backup generating power needed from coal and natural gas when the sun isn’t shining.

Perhaps Greenpeace is still elated over Apple’s withdrawal from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – a supposedly principled stand against the Chamber’s opposition to federal climate change legislation – and therefore willing to overlook their transgressions in North Carolina. And it wouldn’t surprise if the solar farm is part of an agreement to appease environmentalists so they will back off criticism of the server facility. After all, it was only in April that Greenpeace slammed the company’s new North Carolina data center because 95 percent of its energy comes “from dirty, dangerous sources like coal and nuclear.”

Which brings us to the other demon in the eyes of Greenpeace: Duke Energy, which is the electricity supplier for the Apple data center. It really shouldn’t be that way since Duke CEO Jim Rogers is a master panderer to the environmentalists, but it doesn’t matter how many wind or solar farms he operates, the environoiacs just can’t get over the coal and nuclear thing. Plus, Duke wants to burn up forests too – for environmental credit!

Must be a tough choice for the Greenies: Slam Apple for clearing land and placing their massive facility where they must use dastardly Duke power, or praise them for embracing their precious solar technology and therefore less evil coal blackness.

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center and is executive director of American Tradition Institute.