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Feinstein Stands in Way of California Desert Wind Power Project

desert-wind-power2The California Energy Commission estimates that as many as 160,000 acres of desert lands in California are needed to meet its 33 percent renewable energy goal by 2020. However, by proclaiming a portion of these lands a naitonal monument, a prominent Senator may stand in the way of wind power development.

California’s Bureau of Land Management has on its desk 130 applications for solar and wind energy development in the state’s deserts, covering public land in excess of 1 million acres.

Several of the applications are located in the eastern Mojave Desert on or near property previously owned by Catellus that was donated to or by purchased by the Department of the Interior for conservation.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., intends to introduce legislation to establish a national monument on these lands, a move that would restrict future wind power development.

A national monument designation would ensure that hundreds of thousands of acres between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve are protected in perpetuity, according to a press release from Feinstein’s office.

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4 thoughts on “Feinstein Stands in Way of California Desert Wind Power Project

  1. This is an example of shortsighted thinking on behalf of the environmental movement- transmission of carbon neutral power from high wind areas to cities is a critical part of ameliorating climate change. Some of this will have to pass through habitat, in the lowest impact way. If you block this transmission, or don’t create an exemption for clean power transmission, you’re “cutting off your nose to spite your face”- or in other words, let’s “save” this swath of land, at the expense of reducing carbon emissions for power generation- a move that eventually will save the habitats at risk of being destroyed or altered forever by the planet’s climate at large. It’s an end run around RETI, a committee of industry and environmentalists at work for more than a year trying to plan renewable energy transmission initiatives.

  2. Cover every available piece of desert with turbines, and pretty soon you’ll know what visual pollution is all about. To some, the desert is beautiful, and it is home to far more life than most people imagine. In addition, wind turbines — as they exist — kill an awful lot of migratory birds. There’s a downside to everything, and unintended consequences attend every human activity. For the sake of our own sanity, if not the environment itself, we need to avoid placing some kind of man-made object on every available square inch of land.

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