By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
On Jan. 28, 1969 an offshore oil rig six miles off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif. blew out when it hit high-pressure natural gas. Some 210,000 barrels of crude oil poured into the ocean each day. It took 10 days to seal the well and stop the oil from pouring through nearby cracks in the ocean floor
The enormous spill covered miles of nearby beaches with crude oil. Every day, the ABC, CBS, and NBC TV networks showed graphic color images of thousands of dead and dying birds – and hundreds of dead and dying seals, dolphins and sea lions. They also showed area schoolchildren in tears over what they saw. Government and oil industry officials appeared heartless when they took pride in quickly stopping the leak without the loss of a single human life.
Most Americans were convinced that there was and urgent crisis, and that government action was needed. Liberal college professors who blamed the Vietnam War on corporate greed now accused big corporations of destroying the planet.
Democrats saw this crisis as an opportunity to win back young voters who had turned against Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey in 1968, and let Republican Richard Nixon be president. In September of 1969, Democratic Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin spoke to the United Auto Workers convention in Atlantic City. He urged every college in the country to devote one day the following spring for a “teach-in” to “bring an overall insistence of the new generation to stem the tide of environmental disaster.”
The New York Times and all three TV networks gave Nelson and other environmentalists nonstop front-page or prime time national coverage for the next seven months.
April 22, 1970 was supposedly picked as the date for this teach-in because it was warm enough for outdoor events and did not interfere with either Easter break or cramming for final exams. But some argue that left-leaning professors deliberately picked the same date chosen by communists to observe the 100th birthday of their former leader, Vladimar Lenin, with “community service.”
Organizers claimed 20 million Americans in 2,000 colleges and 10,000 public schools took part in that first Earth Day in 1970.
The event was so successful that few people noticed that the massive oil spill near Santa Barbara had completely disappeared. Or that there was little, if any, long-term damage to the environment. Virtually no fish were killed or made toxic. Oil-eating bacteria removed virtually all oil and tar from the ocean and beaches within a year. Bird and marine mammal populations quickly returned to pre-spill levels.
Still, I and many conservatives supported the Earth Day movement back then. Traditional principles of American liberty never said it was OK to dump raw sewage into the back bays of Atlantic City, which gave anyone who swam in the bay at low tide “the doggies” (a skin rash). Nor did those principles say that it was OK to dump and burn trash right in town where the Harrah’s and Borgata casinos stand today, or to poison wells with toxic chemicals dumped in the pine woods.
And so I supported the goals of that first Earth Day in 1970. We needed county government (but not an unelected Atlantic County Utilities Authority) to spend public money to process our sewage and dump the mostly clean water deep out in the ocean. We also needed trash dumps in more remote areas, and safe ways to dump and process toxic chemical waste.
But power and money corrupt everyone – including “friends of the earth.” When they succeeded in giving us the cleanest air and water since the Civil War, they demanded even more power and money.
In the 1990s, the now well-paid professors, researchers and government officials said we needed new laws to control carbon dioxide, the essential gas of life that we breathe out, and that plants breathe in. They said too much carbon dioxide was causing global cooling and a new ice age. Then they said it was causing global warming. The truth is that the earth warmed and cooled for billions of years before we humans got here.
Today, Earth Day teaches lies about the environment to scare us into giving up our liberty and prosperity. Its sponsors this year were monopolies or government agencies we are forced to pay for, like Atlantic City Electric (fourth highest electric rates in country), the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (overpriced monopoly on the trash business), Stockton College and our public schools (high tuitions and property taxes).
(Reprinted from May 2, 2012 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/politics/24173-environmental-movement-has-been-corrupted-by-another-kind-of-green.html
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 92.1FM 8-9 a.m. Saturday. For information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email email@example.com or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton roads in Egg Harbor Township.
(Image source – http://watermarked.cutcaster.com/cutcaster-photo-100148429-Environment-cash-concept.jpg & http://environmentalimpacts.webs.com/Money_versus_environment.jpg)