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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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RE: Probably about her husband making money
By JonnyDough on 12/22/2009 11:46:10 AM , Rating: 0
Everyone is making babies and no, it isn't alright. This push into natural areas is going to continue, because the population in the U.S. is still increasing, and the westward movement is still happening. California has been dealing with increasing population and power requirements for decades already. There is only so much prime land, the desert is the next logical place to put up a power plant. Why would they construct it anywhere that people actually want to live? Its always sad to see development and the destruction of natural environments.

When will the masses learn that we cannot just populate out of control and expect to be sustainable?

By Suntan on 12/22/2009 12:51:45 PM , Rating: 2
You volunteering to be first in line for population reduction?

Didn't think so.


RE: Probably about her husband making money
By Ringold on 12/22/2009 12:56:01 PM , Rating: 3
Its always sad to see development

Perfect quote that sums up environmentalists feelings, thanks.

By knutjb on 12/23/2009 1:49:10 AM , Rating: 2
Its their denial of reality. We, man, are the problem but they are never willing to take the first step for their solution.

RE: Probably about her husband making money
By Keeir on 12/22/2009 1:57:12 PM , Rating: 4
You know...

Guess which countries have the lowest birth rates?

Hrm.... could it be countries with abundant power and high standard of living?!?

In the United States, guess which section of the population is growing the slowest (actually has negative growth rate)?!?

If enviromentalist truely cared to reduce human population, the data suggests we should attempt to raise people's standard of living. Cheap power is an important component for this to occur.

By kattanna on 12/23/2009 11:22:22 AM , Rating: 2
hey now, dont let the facts be getting in the way of a good delusion...

By nafhan on 12/22/2009 3:40:11 PM , Rating: 2
When will the masses learn that we cannot just populate out of control and expect to be sustainable?
When it stops being sustainable. :)

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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