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There's a storm brewing the Mojave Desert -- environmentalists are fighting green power advocates to block construction of 13 alternative energy projects.  (Source: New Cover Magazine)

Led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, environmentalists have succeeded in essentially killing the projects, before the bill to protect the land has even passed.  (Source: Fox News)
Senator is concerned that the plants would damage wildlife

The alternative energy, battery, and alternative fuels movement has been largely guided and advocated by environmentalists over the last couple decades.  However, another important guiding force are those who merely want to improve efficiency and move us, for economic reasons, from depletable resources to sustainable ones.

As the greentech movement gains traction, those forces are finding themselves clashing more often, and some environmentalists are finding it hard to reconcile their loves of green technology and the environment.  A prime example of this is a brewing solar power mess in California.

The Mojave Desert is located in southeastern and central California, as well as Nevada.  The desert is home to Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.  The region also receives a tremendous amount of sunlight and wind, so California, in its push to embrace alternative power approved multiple projects to be built in the desert.

Now thanks to Senator Dianne Feinstein, 13 solar and wind projects in the region may see their hopes dashed.  She has authored a bill which seeks to block the projects, which she says is critical to protect millions of acres of land.  The bill would also create two new Mojave national monuments.

Even before the bill sees a single vote, it's already ruined many of the projects.  Many of them have been delayed indefinitely, and the Californian government has changed its mind about routing new "green grid" power lines towards the monument.

Karen Douglas, chairwoman of the California Energy Commission comments, "The very existence of the monument proposal has certainly chilled development within its boundaries."

The land covered in the debate was originally owned by the Catellus Development Corporation.  It was then purchased by environmentalists and donated a decade ago to the government to protect.  Sen. Feinstein says she's just making good on that promise.

She states, "The Catellus lands were purchased with nearly $45 million in private funds and $18 million in federal funds and donated to the federal government for the purpose of conservation, and that commitment must be upheld. Period."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the environmentalist and a partner with a venture capital firm that invested in a solar developer called BrightSource Energy, blasted Sen. Feinstein's actions, stating, "This is arguably the best solar land in the world, and Senator Feinstein shouldn’t be allowed to take this land off the table without a proper and scientific environmental review."

He says that the proposal will make it much more difficult for California to achieve its goal of having a third of its power provided by alternative energy by 2020.  BrightSource has canceled a large project planned for the monument area.

The Mojave desert, besides being ultra-sunny is home to a host of critters including the desert tortoises, bighorn sheep, fringe-toed lizards and other rare animals and plants.  As green power advocates seek to tap the abundant sunshine and wind energy across the country and the environmentalists fight to block development to protect local species, it seems that these kinds of conflicts will only be growing more heated in the near future.



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Watermelon
By bildan on 12/22/2009 10:26:24 AM , Rating: 3
This is the sort of thing that undermines the environmentalist positions. It invites the old right wing "watermelon" jibe - "green on the outside and red on the inside".

A more progressive position would be "unlimited green energy" not just "use less energy".

Blocking wind and solar just pushes us toward nuclear power - which some would say is not a bad thing.




RE: Watermelon
By wookie1 on 12/22/2009 11:03:53 AM , Rating: 5
I'm not sure, but I don't think that she supports nuclear either. Maybe she would support "magic" power, which just appears as if from nowhere.

In reality, these politicians want to look good by being able to say that their state doesn't generate any "dirty" power, while at the same time buying "dirty" power from neighboring states to satisfy demand. The people get the power they need/want, and the pols get to say that they're green.


RE: Watermelon
By JediJeb on 12/22/2009 11:36:30 AM , Rating: 3
These projects should just move across the state line into Nevada then charge California 5x for the power they use. Then the ones who are blocking them being built in California can explain why their energy is costing so much.


RE: Watermelon
By Suntan on 12/22/2009 12:28:29 PM , Rating: 5
Won't happen.

Californians won’t allow them to tear up the land even to build the power lines that are needed to pipe the juice from Nevada to the areas of high population either.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:

How about a whole bunch of us completely overpopulate a stretch of desert that doesn’t have the natural resources to support us, such that those resources all have to be siphoned off from other areas and piped in from far away. Extra points for finding an area that is inhospitable to society because the ground frequently opens up underneath, and the lands are routinely ravaged by uncontrolled fires every season (this is a desert area with little water to keep vegetation from turning into tinder and seasonal winds that cause routine periods of sustained wind gusts for weeks at a time we are looking for.)

Now this desert stretch that we pick should also be completely cut off from the rest of the continent by various mountain ranges. In addition, the prevailing winds coming off the nearby ocean should effectively choke all of the stink and smog we create right against the mountains so it continually hangs right on top of us.

Then, why don’t we further isolate ourselves voluntarily by erecting national parks and federal reserves around all the surrounding areas that aren’t mountainous.

Finally, let’s b|tch and moan to everyone because someone else can’t magically supply us with the resources that we require to live in an area that we shouldn’t have tried to populate in the first place…

-Suntan


RE: Watermelon
By JediJeb on 12/22/2009 1:56:27 PM , Rating: 2
Fully agree there. I always here comments here complaining about us using up all the fresh water supplies, but here in Ky last year we would have loved to be able to give away all the excess water we got from almost continual rains. The ones that complain the most are those from southern California where it was a desert before people even settled there. If you are going to live in a desert, then learn to live without water.

The best thing for California and probably a lot of the rest of the country would be for most there to move to another state. It would ease the load on the resources there and spread out the load over several state and also spread around the tax base. Of course the politicians would hate it because that would mean their positions would be spread around too.


RE: Watermelon
By xmichaelx on 12/22/09, Rating: -1
RE: Watermelon
By knutjb on 12/23/2009 1:12:53 AM , Rating: 4
Those lines are at max capaicity and environmentalist are preventing any expansion of powerlines. Look at the Tehatchape Range with wind power. The desprately needed power lines to move the power from existing windmills to LA have been tied up in court. It ruins the view. Next they will invent a protected species to stop further attempts once that argument loses in court.

I think all they want is to bring us back into the dark ages or worse yet the elimination of man. Sad how so few can prevent the rest of us from trying to implement solutions. Ironically PG&E is shutting down a power plant in San Diego and moving it, and the jobs, to Mexico. What environmental success was that?

California thinks they are greener by shutting down pollution producers like power plants. Then they convince themselves that they are greener than anyone else. They have only succeded in moving them, their pollution, and the jobs elsewhere. NIMB taken to a new extreme. Hipocrites.

The desert I used to ride motorcycles in is off limits for a turtle I never knew was out there. We enjoyed the desert views but now they are being protected, but for who? Funny the patch where they once held the Barstow to Vegas race was green and full of new growth the following spring...


RE: Watermelon
By kattanna on 12/23/2009 11:11:23 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
How about a whole bunch of us completely overpopulate an island 13 miles long and 2 miles wide that doesn’t have the natural resources to support us, such that those resources all have to be siphoned off from other areas and piped in from far away


this "island" in question is manhattan. maybe no one should live there either.

quote:
Extra points for finding any major city that is


able to live completely off the land within its boundries.

quote:
Finally, let’s b|tch and moan to everyone


aye.. you do love to do that, dont you. have to really wonder why though. take your tired rhetoric elsewhere.


RE: Watermelon
By Suntan on 12/29/2009 11:25:12 AM , Rating: 2
If you think there are high levels of similarity between the social mindset, and geophysical demands, between New York City and Southwest California, so be it. Personally, I see them as being rahter different. Although the Northeast has its issues of self denial, it is in no way even close to that of Southern California.

Lastly, just because you like the word “rhetoric,” that doesn’t justify using it every time you respond to someone that happens to feel differently than you.

-Suntan


RE: Watermelon
By Chernobyl68 on 12/22/2009 6:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
They did before, thanks to Enron.


RE: Watermelon
By johnsonx on 12/22/2009 11:53:52 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Maybe she would support "magic" power, which just appears as if from nowhere.


No, THEY don't want that either. More than one 'environmentalist' has been quoted as saying that "discovery of a cheap source of clean, abundant power would be a disaster". THEY don't want us to have ANY power. The whole green power movement is just a ruse.


RE: Watermelon
By knutjb on 12/23/2009 1:15:56 AM , Rating: 2
Fine, shutoff all power from outside the state and see how long they survive. Then watch a new movement come to quash the greenies BS.


RE: Watermelon
By Whedonic on 12/23/2009 9:15:51 AM , Rating: 2
But also keep in mind that those "environmentalists" are by far the minority. Every group has its extremists; most environmentalists just want to not completely wreck the environment, but still want modern technology. I'm an environmentalist who supports nuclear tech, like many.


RE: Watermelon
By JonnyDough on 12/22/2009 11:54:33 AM , Rating: 1
What if the people can't get what they want? Maybe they'd stop moving to California. Costs there are already high, for good reason.

The problem isn't just the Mexicans flooding by the thousands per day across the border, but the babies they've been making once they get here. They create one heck of a drain on us with taxes spent on law enforcement, health care, and education for them.

I'm all for freedom, equal rights, etc.

I don't think Europeans were right to settle here either - this land belonged to native Americans. Most Caucasians living here would seem to agree that they respected the land a lot more than we do. However, we are here today and I had no say in what our ancestors did. I can say now though that illegal entry and irresponsible reproduction has got to be seriously addressed or our quality of life will continue to suffer. This land was sooooooo rich and still is, there's no reason we shouldn't be all living like kings except for the issue of our own short-sighted stupidity.


RE: Watermelon
By 67STANG on 12/22/2009 12:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
Diane F-stein is a douche nozzle. I wish her and Barbara Boxer would do a Thelma and Louise into an active volcano.

I do agree, much of California's power and financial woes are worsened by immigrants-- there are simply too many of them. I had to take my son to the emergency room last week because of an asthma flair-up and had to wait 35 minutes behind 100 Mexicans who use the ER as their normal doctor. Grrrr.

At the same time however, a significant chunk of California's economy relies upon migrant farm labor as we are largely an agricultural state-- and you don't see many prissy white folk picking lettuce these days. The reason they have so many kids is to put them to work and help the family-- it's like the medieval times.


RE: Watermelon
By ImJustSaying on 12/22/2009 5:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
I know it's fun and convenient to scapegoat entire portions of the population, since it provides a nice, simple answer to an incredibly complex situation, as well as gives it a 'face' at which you may point blame, however, it's misguided at best to do so.

If you cared to think about human need, you would understand that borders do not mean much to people who are in desperate need of employment in order to survive. In addition, with regard to Mexico, international trade agreements (predominantly NAFTA), have uprooted millions of subsistence farmers in mid to southern Mexico, who have since migrated to where jobs exist, which happen to be in the US.

You also imply that you are ok with those who have come before you to the states, since they are already here and you had no say in the matter. Since you also had no say on when and how "the Mexicans," as you put it, arrived you should also be ok with 'them' being here.

It's clear that there needs to be immigration reform that focuses on streamlining and decreasing the time it takes to achieve citizenship for those immigrants who work honestly and do not have run-ins with law enforcement. Adjustments also need to be made in order to give immigrants greater protection against exploitation and subsistence wage, so that employers are not able to use sub-minimum wage labor to then drive down the wages of other citizens and non-citizens alike, by generating an uneven playing field.

International trade law needs to be structured so that it does not force mass migration of labor across borders, upon adoption of laws. There also needs to be a corresponding free-flow of labor with a free-flow of capital. We have the latter, but not the former.



RE: Watermelon
By rcc on 12/22/2009 6:24:14 PM , Rating: 2
Can't speak for the OP, but... most people in CA or NM, Tx, etc. who objective to the mass migration of illegal aliens aren't racist. There are obvious exceptions.

What we object to is that they are illegal. Don't pay taxes, and suck up a boat load of social and medical services. Those people that are "ok" because they came before? Sure, if they entered legally and became part of American society, for better or worse.

If you don't live in one of the affected states, you have no clue what the problem is like.

For the record, most of illegals I have met are busting their butts to support themselves and families, that's great. So get them in the system, and quit thinking of excuses why no one should be concerned because they are draining the states resources.


RE: Watermelon
By ImJustSaying on 12/22/09, Rating: 0
RE: Watermelon
By rcc on 12/23/2009 3:01:02 PM , Rating: 1
For the record, I also live in San Diego County.

Beyond that, I'm not always sure that your responses are actually to my posts.

However, betwen you, me, the gate post, and anyone else that wants to listen.... I believe that if a child is born to 2 illegal aliens/immigrants, it should not automatically be given citizenship. If the parents are in the country legally, that's a different story. Fortunately we live in a country were the people sorta get to decide what they want, and we'll have to see if they as a whole get annoyed enough to get the laws changed. Until then, everything will remain as you appear to want it.

I am not trying to demonize anyone. And I realize that these people are vital to many economies. In fact, I'm glad to have them. Just get them legalized and functioning with/in society.


RE: Watermelon
By ImJustSaying on 12/23/2009 7:09:35 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with your last sentence. :-)


RE: Watermelon
By Solandri on 12/23/2009 12:47:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What we object to is that they are illegal. Don't pay taxes, and suck up a boat load of social and medical services. Those people that are "ok" because they came before? Sure, if they entered legally and became part of American society, for better or worse.

I helped run a business in an area with a large migrant population, and had lots of discussions with immigration attorneys about covering our @$$ses from an INS raid.

If an illegal immigrant gets a job using forged documents (SSN, INS ID) that look real, that's usually sufficient protection for the hiring company. Illegal immigrants hired this way do pay taxes and social security. Their payroll is processed as if they were a legit worker, so they get SS, medicare, and income tax withheld from their paycheck.

The illegal immigrants who don't pay taxes are the ones being paid under the table in cash. Cash transactions leave no paper trail, and thus there are no taxes paid. In those cases, the company that hired them knows that they are illegal, and is complicit in the activity. So although my viewpoints are conservative when it comes to business, I'm with the left on this one. One of the most efficacious way to clamp down on the problem would be track down and penalize companies which knowingly hire illegals.


RE: Watermelon
By knutjb on 12/23/2009 1:59:47 AM , Rating: 2
But identity theft is ok! I don't buy it. The gov is partly at fault but so are employers who strive to under pay the market wages through abuse of illegal workers to line their own pockets. Also the little they pay in taxes is offset by the money sent south and the massive drain on the services provided by legal workers. i.e. every year its estimated LA county spends over 1B extra to deal with illeagal children in the school system alone. But hey you have a busness to run...


RE: Watermelon
By JonnyDough on 12/24/2009 1:13:12 AM , Rating: 2
Well said. Precisely my point. :) And no, I have nothing against anyone of any race, culture or creed. Simply put, I want better for myself and my children. Although this is a "free nation" we have standards of living that we would like to continue. What we ought to do is toughen up on people who lack credentials. Why should we pay for healthcare for people who come into our country illegally and then can't speak our language and support themselves? Do you think that if you go to Mexico and get in an accident and demand to be taken care of they will treat you? Not for free bud. President Felipe Calderón isn't going to take tax money and start healing Americans who come down there wanting a better life. Although under your "justification" we ought to send our inmates there. That way they get a second chance at life like so many illegals coming here, and then we don't have to pay to feed and keep them in our prisons. We need to start making sure that people are legal, or simply make sure they have the cash. At the same time, toughen up on gangs and drugs. THAT is where the money ought to be going. Law enforcement.


RE: Watermelon
By JonnyDough on 12/24/2009 1:14:52 AM , Rating: 2
Oops, not your under your justification, his justification. I forgot who I was responding to for a second. :(


RE: Watermelon
By Solandri on 12/23/2009 1:19:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you cared to think about human need, you would understand that borders do not mean much to people who are in desperate need of employment in order to survive.

You're focusing on the symptom, not the problem. The real problem is corruption in the Mexican government. They country is pretty rich, with oil reserves that rank it #11 in the world, and it has a per capita GDP of ~$14,000 (PPP). But the high level of corruption has concentrated the money and power in a small fraction of the population. It has a rather high Gini coefficient of close to 50. Most Western countries, including Western Europe, Canada, Japan, and South Korea, are in the 20s or 30s. The U.S. is around 45, but that's offset by its $47,000 per capita GDP - even the poor people are relatively wealthy.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eco_dis_of_fam_i...

quote:
In addition, with regard to Mexico, international trade agreements (predominantly NAFTA), have uprooted millions of subsistence farmers in mid to southern Mexico, who have since migrated to where jobs exist, which happen to be in the US.

Eh? That's a new one. All the complaints I've heard about NAFTA so far were that it sent U.S. jobs to Mexico. Not vice versa.

Accepting immigrants from Mexico with open arms may temporarily ease the symptom, but it worsens the problem. The real solution is for the Mexican government to get its act cleaned up. And ultimately that sort of domestic issue needs to be solved domestically - by discontent Mexican citizens standing up for their rights and demanding change. Simply giving discontent Mexican citizens easier access to U.S. citizenship actually hurts that goal.

The point of open trade agreements like NAFTA is to provide an economic stimulus, increasing the standard of living in countries like Mexico and China. A subsistence farmer making $100 a year is not going to wield much clout with his government. But turn him into a middle-class worker earning $10,000 a year and suddenly things change.


RE: Watermelon
By ImJustSaying on 12/23/2009 7:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
NAFTA allowed multinational agricultural companies full access to Mexican agricultural land. These corporations then either purchased or took the land that the subsistence farmers were renting/living on, and concentrated farming. Sure, they streamlined farming processes and increased efficiency and food output, which has its own merit and value, however, they helped displace millions of people that had to go somewhere for work. That's my point; the displacement of families has contributed to the massive influx of Mexican immigrants, legally and illegally, to the US.

The issue of corruption is yet another problem that exacerbates the general poverty and disfunction of Mexico's government and populace.

We don't seem to disagree, really.


RE: Watermelon
By JonnyDough on 12/24/2009 1:05:12 AM , Rating: 2
What then say you to the kids who can't find summer jobs and then end up having to work instead of go to college? Would you prefer that Mexicans kids go to college instead of your own children?


RE: Watermelon
By knutjb on 12/23/2009 1:40:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't think Europeans were right to settle here either - this land belonged to native Americans. Most Caucasians living here would seem to agree that they respected the land a lot more than we do. However, we are here today and I had no say in what our ancestors did. I can say now though that illegal entry and irresponsible reproduction has got to be seriously addressed or our quality of life will continue to suffer. This land was sooooooo rich and still is, there's no reason we shouldn't be all living like kings except for the issue of our own short-sighted stupidity.

You don't know SH*T about Ca history. Put down the glass pipe and step away from the tourch. Until water was transported to SoCal in massive quantities the land was unable to support much of anything and was pretty barren. There weren't too many natives either, most were on the coast. Your MORONIC application of your values of 2009 onto events that took place over 400 years ago is, well, unexcuseable. What happened happened get over it. Deal with what is there today and stop whining. Human expansion, regardless of race, was and is inevitable. If you think its so bad then why don't you move and send reparations to the decendents of those transgressed by Euopean invaders starting in 1542. Just don't expect me pay for your ignorance.


RE: Watermelon
By mars2k on 12/22/2009 1:10:40 PM , Rating: 3
Protecting Biodiversity should be at the top of our list of priorities. However there is no reason why solar and wind energy cannot be harvested while respecting wild life. This ain't an or nothing proposition.
Meanwhile Texas is growing to be the largest producer or alternative enrgy because its regulatory environment is much more relaxed. The Texas Railroad Commission makes all the decisions and its a home grown entity with local control instead of any Federal imput.


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