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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: Can't fault her
By rcc on 12/22/2009 12:21:59 PM , Rating: 2
From that standpoint, I can't either.


Does this mean that if a group buys land, puts a cross on it, and cedes it to the goverment for conservation or a monument that it's ok?

Cuz from where I'm sitting most of the environmental groups smell more like religion than anything else.

RE: Can't fault her
By goz314 on 12/22/2009 2:33:46 PM , Rating: 2

Conservation is different than Environmentalism. They are not always part and parcel. Even I know that.

And yes, if a group or individual buys land and gifts it to the federal government for the sole purpose of preservation then that is OK. It's a free country -deal with it. How do you think Grand Teton National park, to name one, was created? In that case, the Rockefeller's were hardly a religious group.

RE: Can't fault her
By rcc on 12/22/2009 4:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
lol, sorry, I wasn't clear.

There is a big push by the atheist camp to get all religous symbols removed, at least from government owned lands. Hence my comment. If it's part of a monument and given to the government to manage...............

I'm basically in favor of national parks and reserves, monuments, etc.

RE: Can't fault her
By GodisanAtheist on 12/22/2009 5:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
I personally have no problem with religious iconography on government property, despite my personal views on religion (its hooey).

However, I can see what you're driving at here so for the sake of argument, yes, the government should not accept stewardship of property should it conflict with a constitutional mandate. If it ends up in government hands, then the government has an obligation to uphold the constitution even at the expense of whatever the original agreement was, which would probably void the original deal in the first place.

RE: Can't fault her
By rcc on 12/22/2009 6:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
I have no problem with religious symbols, as long as they are all treated equally. I'd class my self as an agnostic that thinks organized religion is one of the great evils of the world.

Outside of a few militant atheists, I don't really think that anyone seeing a cross on a hill is thinking "oh crap, the government is touting Christianity".

My, we have cruised off-topic a bit. But, there is that stange relationship.

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