Our civilization, soaring to power by using up its environmental
capital, now exports its power-plant pollution to what were the
clean skies of the southwest. To have taken the land was not
enough; the air must be taken too, so that the Los Angeles basin,
Central Arizona, and Las Vegas could force their roots out farther
still, grow insatiably, and damn the expense as long as it wasn't
theirs. And as long as it could be denied that there was a cost.
I heard guides at the Four Corners and Black Mesa strip mines tell the same story as they excused
the burial of soil eons in the making under the dead rock that
had lain over the coal they are converting to kilowatts and fly
ash: "We are bringing new nutrients to the top."
This is an overachievement
in creative PR that we can do without.