The failed SolarBee project to stir the algae and improve water quality at Jordan Lake is a miserable failure despite the breathless support of Republicans who approved it a couple of years ago. And that’s not the Democrats talking. It’s a report from the state Department of Environmental Quality, which found “no significant change in environmental quality” in the two years or so since the turbine-like Bees were put out on the lake.
No change. A failure by any definition, Republican or Democratic. And the worse news is that a second phase of this not-go-great experiment is funded into 2018 for another $1.5 million, on top of the $1.3 million already spent. And to think, some legislators wanted to expand the project to Falls Lake.
The solution for the pollution problem is better management of water upstream and responsible rules on development, goals considerably more complicated (and perhaps not to the liking of developers) than putting a bunch of whirling “egg beaters” out on the lake. Oh, and the report also found that boaters could find the SolarBees to be a hazard.
Even if one takes the benign view that state officials were trying to make a technology work, it didn’t work, and the DEQ findings seemed to show that the ’Bees simply weren’t designed to get the job done in a large body of water such as Jordan Lake. GOP leaders should step up on environmental protection, for a change. This is a chance for them to lead.