Library filed under Impact on Landscape from California
In a surprise decision potentially spurred by late arriving opposition from the solar and wind industries, the western Joshua tree will have to wait at least another month to receive legal protection under the California Endangered Species Act. ...The beloved, high desert species will once again be up for listing under the act in a meeting on a yet-to-be-decided date, sometime between Sept. 17 and 23 when the commission faces a deadline to act. At that time, the commission will almost certainly advance it to the next stage in the process, as all four members who are eligible to vote indicated on Thursday that they believed the petition to protect Joshua trees had already passed muster.
How renewable energy projects in the Mojave Desert threaten local species — and how to fix that.
ConnectGen wants to build the project, called Fountain Wind, on nearly 4,500 acres six miles west of Burney and one mile west of the existing Hatchet Ridge wind project. The new wind turbine proposal would be on leased timberland near the communities of Montgomery Creek, Round Mountain, Oak Run, Moose Camp, Big Bend and Wengler.
This complaint in federal court challenges the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) notice of record of decision (ROD) authorizing the issuance of a 25-year lease of land (with a possible 13-year extension) between the Campo Band of Diegueño Mission Indians and Terra-Gen Development Company LLC (“Terra-Gen”), allowing Terra-Gen to develop, construct, the Campo Wind Facilities on the Reservation, and the Boulder Brush Facilities on adjacent private lands. The Campo Wind Facilities would consist of sixty 586-foot tall turbines, three 374-foot meteorological towers, 15 miles of new access roads, an electrical connection and communication system, a collector substation, an operation and maintenance facility, a gen-tie line, and other components needed for construction and operation. A portion of the complaint is provided below. The full complaint can be downloaded from the document links on this page.
Neighbors of the proposed Strauss Wind Energy Project south of Lompoc have filed legal action challenging the adequacy of the environmental review, calling it "inadequate, insufficient and misleading." George and Cheryl Bedford, represented by Santa Maria attorney Richard Adam Jr., have strongly opposed the wind farm planned for 3,000 acres off San Miguelito Road.
Habitat will be lost. Recreational opportunities will be lost. Migratory birds including bald eagles, golden eagles, osprey and also bats will be killed. Important wildlife migratory corridors for deer, bear, mountain lion, neo-tropical birds, and bald eagles will be disrupted. And, our public safety will be threatened. Wind turbines cause fires and Walker Ridge is in high and extreme fire zones. Are we really going to construct a new fire threat in these conditions? Have we forgotten the Pawnee Fire or the Mendocino Ranch Fire that both burned on Walker Ridge?
There has been much confusion and misinformation regarding both the PG&E power outages and Humboldt County’s current ability (or lack thereof) to be an energy island, resilient, and independent from the larger grid in California. The energy we presently get from the grid comes from the east, across the rugged coast ranges all the way from the Central Valley. The proposed Terra-Gen Bear River (Tsakiyuwit)/Monument Ridge wind energy project is just more of the same — a centralized grid-tied energy project that will be dependent on PG&E’s fire-prone transmission lines.
As the controversial Terra-Gen wind energy project reached the Humboldt County Planning Commission table on Thursday for the first of a two-part public hearing, its numerous critics came out in full force, chorusing the project’s potential negative impacts as they filled the commission’s meeting chamber to the brim.
For years developers have tried to figure out how to repurpose Kaiser Steel’s former open-pit iron mine at Eagle Mountain in Riverside County. One idea: Use it as a massive landfill, a proposal that fortunately never came to fruition. The current owners of the site now want to convert it into an immense, $2.5-billion hydroelectric battery, using daytime power to pump water from a lower-elevation pit to a pit 1,400 feet farther up the mountain, then running the water downhill at night through turbines to create energy.
California's largest county has banned the construction of large solar and wind farms on more than 1 million acres of private land, bending to the will of residents who say they don’t want renewable energy projects industrializing their rural desert communities northeast of Los Angeles.
Intermountain residents packed a school gymnasium Thursday night to sound off about a planned wind farm that some, who attended, believe would dramatically change the landscape of eastern Shasta County.
The Aug. 1 appeal from the Boulevard Planning Group says they object to the “weasel worded findings” of county staff to turn their rural community into a “renewable energy sacrifice zone.” New York-based renewable energy company Terra-Gen, which has an office in San Diego as well, wants to build a 126-megawatt project on a 2,000-acre private ranch in northern Boulevard.
Tisdale urges the public to “speak out with any concerns or any personal knowledge you may have of turbine noise impacts, health impacts, local wildlife,cultural, and groundwater resources or other related issues. These projects use millions of gallons of water for construction.” This meeting and public comments will help decide what issues should be included in the project environmental impact studies.
All were concerned that federal officials recently embarked on a reconsideration of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. They urged the county’s board members to speak out against the expansion of sites where solar and wind energy farms will be allowed.
The Department of the Interior temporarily shut down construction of the Tule Wind Energy project in McCain Valley on January 20th due to six confirmed violations of the right-of-way grant conditions, including “three incidents of ground disturbing work without a cultural monitor present and three incidents of clearing beyond the disturbance limits at four different locations,” according to the notice of temporary suspension issued January 20th.
The attached communications between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Iberdrola/Tule Wind detail the BLM's notice to suspend construction of the 186 MW wind project due to repeated violations of the right-of-way permit issued by the BLM. The Tule facility initiated construction on December 6, 2016. The notice to stop construction was issued on January 20, 2017. Construction has now resumed. Both the notice to suspend construction and to resume construction, which includes Iberdrola's response to the BLM, can be accessed by selecting the document links on this page, A portion of BLM's notice is provided below.
“We endorse renewable energy, but this was the wrong project in the wrong location.”
That Environmental Impact Statement assumed that Bechtel would be able to use existing transmission lines on the site to get power from Soda Mountain to Los Angeles. But those transmission lines belong to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which announced in June — the same week as the Soda Mountain EIS was released — that it wouldn't be buying power from the project. LADWP said that the project would be too environmentally destructive to justify their becoming a customer. ...And without that transmission, it's unlikely the project will ever obtain a contract with a utility to sell its power.
Strong arguments drive the development of solar and wind power. Many have to do with “protecting the environment.” Ironically, it's this last point – the big “E” – that seems to make the reduction of deserts into rural-industrial wastelands acceptable to many people.