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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: Watermelon
By xmichaelx on 12/22/2009 6:24:41 PM , Rating: -1
quote:
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.


The lines are already there -- Hoover Dam has been providing power to Los Angeles for 70+ years. Nice try, tho.


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...


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