While most of the commentary, including mine, about the collapse of Big Shitpile (aka the housing crisis) has focused on the financial and economic effects, building more housing than we needed–and couldn’t afford–also had environmental effects. Take, for instance, Prince William County, VA:
Stewart and other Prince William officials hope a new developer will soon be found to construct Harbor Station, the nearly 2,000-acre parcel near Dumfries with the glittering golf course.
McLean developer Robert C. Kettler and partners had planned on building 4,000 houses, a town center with luxury shopping and a Virginia Railway Express station on the site. Kettler, who had invested more than $200 million in the project, lost his equity when his partner defaulted on a $100 million loan last year.
The bank maintains the golf course greens, but an imposing rock wall that was built to showcase the entrance of the development is crumbling like in a scene from “Life After People” on the History Channel.
The situation pains environmentalists, who had fought the project from its inception and had hoped to preserve what was then one of Northern Virginia’s last privately owned waterfront forests. It is still home to abundant wildlife and a bald eagle habitat.
“The most environmentally sensitive piece of property in Prince William County has been destroyed and for what? Nothing right now,” said Kim Hosen, executive director of the Prince William Conservation Alliance.
The environment is one thing no government bailout will ever bring back. If it does bounce back, we will all be dead and buried before it does.