Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from California
But with the potential for many more of the 200-foot-tall wind towers, some residents are none too pleased with the whole idea. "This is one of the most important habitats for birds in the county," said Emmy Cattani, an owner of the Adobe Ranch, located northwest of Benton.
"It's going to change the whole landscape," said Starks, a resident of Snow Creek ..."What it really is going to change is the first impression of the desert (visitors get) when they get off the freeway because it's going to be towering over their heads. It will be like driving into an industrial slum."
Wind developer Oak Creek Energy of Oakland last month pulled the plug on a five-year effort to build a wind farm in the Castle Mountain area that Feinstein wants to add to the Mojave Preserve. "The primary reason was that we found this area was heavily desired by powerful interests," executive vice president Edward Duggan said in an e-mail.
The energy developers and their lobbyists have a headstart on the people who merely grew up in these hills and live their lives under these wide skies. But the residents are quick studies. They are coming to council meetings like this well-prepared with questions, and their love for this land is evident. ..."Utility-scale energy farms should be built on already- disturbed fallow farmland, not in existing wildlife habitat."
The push to fast-track renewable energy projects in America has led to some missteps along the way, Marcilynn Burke, deputy director for Programs and Policies with the Bureau of Land Management, said Wednesday ...One installation, the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, led to litigation.
The lawsuit, filed December 30 in California's Supreme Court by the Sierra Club, alleges that state regulators improperly approved the plant, known as the Calico Solar Project. The suit, obtained by Reuters, charges that regulators failed to fully mitigate the project's impact on rare plant and animal species, and asks the court to void approval and permits for the plant.
A wind farm proposed for the eastern reaches of San Diego County would result in bird deaths - including those of the golden eagle - damaged vistas and Indian sites and construction-related noise and air pollution, a draft environmental report has found. The best way to reduce the impact would be to shrink the Tule Wind farm to 72 turbines from the 134 proposed, and to re-route some of the related transmission lines, according to the study.
Environmentalists, desert enthusiasts, and rural residents have objected to the project on numerous grounds including impacts on desert bighorn sheep and other threatened or endangered wildlife, destruction of historic Spanish and Native American trails, and more. Preston J. Arrow-Weed, a member of the Quechan Native American tribe, called the proposed project "genocide of our tribal ways and culture" ...The ramifications could extend beyond solar plants to also impact major wind farm projects.
Hatchet Ridge wind project as seen from Burney on July 23. Workers finished erecting the 44th and final turbine in the Hatchet Ridge wind project this week. Ralph Boggs thinks the 6½-mile line of massive wind turbines over Burney looks even worse than he had imagined.
"I just feel a total loss of what will no longer be," she said. She said that includes unspoiled views of McCain Valley wiped out and pointed to noise complaints that followed a nearby unrelated wind project when 25 wind turbines were put in just north of I-8 near Boulevard several years ago.
He said the California Native Plant Society petitioned the BLM in 2005 to make the entire Walker Ridge region - a total of about 14,000 acres - an "area of critical environmental concern." He said the area has a high amount of serpentine soils and rock with a potentially high mercury content. Special, rare types of plants grow in those serpentine soils, Schneider said.
The open, wind-swept terrain here makes it an ideal area for Imperial County's renewable energy projects, but residents have varying views about the modern development. ...District 2 county Supervisor Jack Terrazas' jurisdiction includes Ocotillo. "What we have to weigh is what is most beneficial for everyone," he said. "At the same time, we're faced with mandates from a government edict that mandates the use of more green energy."
"We all hate to see the desert disappear for sure, but we sure need the jobs here," he said. If everything were to go in as proposed, the scenery will be drastically different, said county Supervisor Jack Terrazas, who represents the area on the Board of Supervisors. There are a lot of projects that want to locate near Ocotillo.
City leaders may soon consider another legal option to stop the placement of high-voltage, wind-energy towers here. City attorneys are expected to appeal the rejection of a lawsuit that would have stopped Southern California Edison's placement of the new towers in the city.
The projects will help the nation and California meet renewable-energy goals, but they also raise new concerns about ruining scenic views and damaging habitat needed by species such as the desert tortoise, which has been creeping toward extinction. The Obama administration has selected three large-scale wind developments for a shortened approval process, part of an effort to advance alternative energy and reduce green-house emissions that experts say contribute to global warming. The energy companies hope to win BLM approval by Dec. 1, 2010.
Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in Congress on Monday to protect a million acres of the Mojave Desert in California by scuttling some 13 big solar plants and wind farms planned for the region. But before the bill to create two new Mojave national monuments has even had its first hearing, the California Democrat has largely achieved her aim.
A remote corner of East County is shaping up as a battleground between companies pushing wind farms as clean and cheap power generators and activists who view them as a blight on the landscape. It has put environmentalists in the position of opposing renewable energy because, they say, it's in the wrong place. Drawing the most attention is a plan by the Spanish conglomerate Iberdrola to build about 100 skyscraper-sized towers in and near the McCain Valley, a federal conservation area abutting Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
The battle over a new wind farm in Tehachapi is now heading to the Kern County Board of Supervisors. Kern County planning commissioners approved the Alta-Oak Creek Mojave wind project late Thursday night after hearing both sides of the debate. After hours of emotional testimony from Tehachapi residents, the planning commissioners approved a 9,000 acre wind farm in the small mountain town. It could be the largest wind energy project in California, but it has Tehachapi residents' heads spinning.
Hundreds of Tehachapi residents are trying to ban a wind farm from blowing into their part of town, but Kern County may not have legal grounds to stop the San Diego company that wants to build it. The nearly 700 Tehachapi residents have signed a petition against giant wind generators, but it's not because they're anti-environment. It's quite the opposite. They just don't want the wind farms blowing in their back yards. "If you picture a football field spinning in the air, that's how big they will be," Kassandra McQuillen explained.
In 2007, SCE proposed its $1.72 billion dollar Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) to bring renewable wind energy to Southern California. A small portion of the project passes through the community of Chino Hills. This is the only community along the 173 mile route where SCE proposes to construct 200-foot high, 60-foot wide poles within 75 feet of homes. SCE has never done this before. Nor has any utility in the country ever installed a 500,000 volt transmission line so close to existing homes. Over 1,000 homes will be within 500 feet of the line, along with daycares, places of worship and parks.