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What is beauty?

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Jim Thompson

By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

There are three elements in modern America that various government entities keep in front of us constantly. These are landfills, solar energy and wind energy.

We are told to believe landfills are bad, the other two are good.

How do we know landfills are bad? "Recycling" is every other word in the environmental mantra from the government and others. We are to accept less convenience to have less trash and save the planet. Then, we are shown these plumes of plastic in the oceans. I am sorry, but I would be thoroughly surprised if one straw from one of my drinks ever made it into the ocean. It is a problem, but not my problem.  

Landfills are highly regulated these days, and I doubt a thimbleful of anything ever leaks out of them the way they are monitored, for the owners are fined prodigious sums if anything goes wrong.

The Palouse is an area of eastern Washington, right up against Idaho. It covers 19,000 square miles. It is beautiful and a well-known wheat growing area. On Facebook, one can find groups devoted to photography of the Palouse. I have been there in person and found it enchanting.  

The total area consumed by landfills in the U.S. is about 2,800 square miles, or about 15 percent of the size of the Palouse. When I see a landfill, I think of the Palouse, or perhaps Indian mounds. Landfills are not ugly; they are just mounds with well-maintained vegetation. 

When I see solar farms, I am reminded of empty beer cans. Wind turbines are simply a blight on the landscape.

Yet, the Bureau of Land Management is getting ready to set aside 34,375 square miles of federal lands in the U.S. West for solar and wind projects. This is an area 1.8 times the size of the Palouse.

What would you rather look at, a Palouse-like mound or a future junk yard of aluminum, steel and fiberglass?  

As things are going, junkyards of aluminum, steel and fiberglass are in our future for when we run to the next great energy source (and there will be one, it is inevitable), solar panels and wind turbines will be abandoned like some old railroad yard.  

Worse yet, we will be taxed to clean them up.

The powers that be feed us lots of information that may not necessarily be in our best interest. We must do our own digging to ascertain what is best for the country and our children.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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Matthew (not verified)

9 March 2024

I wish all of those 2,800 square miles of landfill were distributed in Santa Cruz County CA, Martha's Vineyard, Delaware, Chicago, and Portland.

Jim Thompson (not verified)

9 March 2024

In reply to by Matthew (not verified)

Matthew, of course there is Rumpke's Mountain on Colerain Avenue in the Cincinnati suburbs. I beleive it is taking trash from Highland County now as I see some of their dumpsters this far east. One of the nicest is in north suburban Chicago, where they have made it into a ski run. Here in Atlanta there is a huge one east of the airport that is covered with solar panels.

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