Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from California
As turbines rise in Ocotillo Wind Express, questions remain over the type of impacts the project will bring to the Valley and its westernmost community. Some fear about their health. But whether turbines do in fact pose health concerns is an issue of much contention as studies and experts sit on opposing sides.
The Bureau of Land Management estimated the project would kill or dislocate about 38 tortoises. Construction had barely begun two years ago, though, when so many tortoises turned up that work was halted for a reassessment. By the end of June, the count was 144, 67 of them juveniles. The BLM found that many more could be uprooted or harmed as the project proceeds.
Don't count Donald Trump among fans of wind power. On Monday, the developer and "Apprentice" host went on the record - Twitter - with his thoughts about the wind turbines that line the roads leading to Palm Springs. "Ugly wind turbines have destroyed the entrance to Palm Springs, CA," he tweeted. "These mon[s]trosities are ruining landscapes all over the globe-expensive & bad electric."
Two new lawsuits were filed September 11, 2012 against federal officials and the U.S. government seeking an injunction to halt construction at Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express industrial wind project.
A pair of stories in the last week detailed conflicts between San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and national environmental groups over two separate wind projects. One of the conflicts appears to have been resolved amicably, while the other is headed to the courtroom. And each story involves the power of flight.
Plaintiffs contend that irreparable harm has occurred and that an injunction is necessary to protect human life, public safety and environmental injury. Already permanent harm has been done to desert habitat by illegal activities, the suit adds. The lawsuit is one of at least five filed by numerous organizations seeking to halt the project.
Up to 40 million acres of public lands are targeted for industrialization with renewable energy development. Among the first of these large-scale projects is Ocotillo Wind, a 12,500 acre wind project now under construction ...has left horrified residents convinced this is anything but green.
The tribe was so doubtful about the Pattern Energy survey of the site's cultural resources that it sent in its own experts with trained forensic dogs who did a quick and cursory survey and found an additional six burial/cremation sites, for a total of 12 cremation sites in this particular area, Escalanti says. The tribe still practices the sacred rite of cremation, as their tribal ancestors did before them, according to court documents. Escalanti says the tribe has asked to meet with the decision-makers.
Government accused of illegally approving "ineligible" project that failed to meet minimum federal wind speed standards Violations of other laws alleged, including discrimination against low-income residents
In May, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a right-of-way grant, bringing to a close three years of impact studies for a power plant that will stretch across about 10,000 acres, forming a crescent around the town. Local conservationists and an Arizona-based tribe that traces its ancestry to the area have turned to state and federal courts to stop the project.
"The Quechan Tribe has been holding a vigil for the last five days on the site of the Ocotillo Wind project near some recently discovered cremation areas," Terry Weiner, Desert Protective Council's coordinator for Imperial County projects and conservation, told Indian Country Today Media Network on May 30. "There has been singing and telling of the creation story and just being together in this beautiful desert."
Quechan contends the project will cause irreparable harm to hundreds of cites including burial and cremation sites, as well as tens of thousands of artifacts. Forensic dog teams hired by tribes last week found six new cremation sites. Tribal members, who in modern times have continued to use the site for ceremonial purposes, also sought to protect views of mountains sacred in their religious beliefs of creation.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed off on the project's Environmental Impact Statement over the objection of Native American tribal officials who remain concerned about the aesthetic impact of the project on ancestral lands and the potential for disturbing cultural and archaeological artifacts, including possible cremation sites.
"Without listening to us, without recording what we have to say, without putting those in the environmental impact study, the archeological study, they're not understanding where we're coming from," Pico said. The chairman said Ocotillo wind's designation as a BLM priority project has led to a "fast track" process that has restricted public participation and consultation with affected parties.
“Our community and surrounding area will be devastated if Invenergy is allowed to build their 125 new turbines on Campo tribal land, and Iberdrola Renewables is allowed to build their Tule Wind project in McCain Valley with 134 turbines, and Enel Green Power is allowed to build their 80 or so turbines in Jewel Valley and McCain Valley,” Bonfiglio wrote.
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who represents the Antelope Valley, voiced his opposition, saying birds could strike the towers, pose a safety hazard to planes and would not be in keeping with "the rural character" that "makes the Antelope Valley unique and valuable."
The Schatz Center's professors simply overlooked these issues in their op-ed article. They painted a positive green picture for the county to see, leaving out the perils and sacrifices Ferndale must now consider. Apparently, in their exuberant interest in Shell Wind, the Schatz energy practitioners think that industrializing the gateway to the priceless Lost Coast is acceptable -- at any cost.
They say the wind farms and other developments threaten Native American sacred areas and other cultural sites, like those near the spirit circle where they held their ceremony. And they worry government regulators are looking the other way in an effort to fast-track construction.
NIMBYism is the default invective hurled these days when anyone raises valid questions about what's being sold, but name-calling and threatened boycotts are cheap shots when the stakes are so high. After all, just how GREEN is this technology really? Who amongst us is sufficiently schooled on the true efficiency and safety of giant wind turbines? I've seen them stretched across dry, treeless land abutting freeways and thought, "now there's a good use of unpopulated, barren landscape," but frankly, I don't know much about them.
Residents expressed concern about construction noise and the addition of large trucks to the slew that already shake the houses along Main and Fifth streets. Many also spoke about the visual impact, light pollution for the night sky and the farm's effect on property values.