Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from California
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.
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.
“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.
About 100 people attend a forum in Morro Bay hosted by Trident Winds. Residents questioned officials about impacts to fishing, views, lights and the environment. Trident plans to file the first of three dozen permit applications in January
The first phase identifies national conservation lands and designates areas of critical environmental concern, wildlife allocations, and national scenic and historic trail management corridors to conserve biological, cultural and other values. Furthermore, the DOI says special recreation management areas and extensive recreation management areas are identified to recognize and promote recreational opportunities and public access. Thus, these lands would be closed to renewable energy and benefit from adaptive management in the face of climate change, the agency explains.
“All these agencies and companies are in lockstep on this green energy rush, whether it’s actually beneficial to us or not,” said Donna Tisdale, a resident of Boulevard in East San Diego County. Tisdale is leading the lawsuit against Energía Sierra Juárez, which also names the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Among other things, the lawsuit claims the Department of Energy issued a Presidential Permit without considering environmental impacts in Mexico or alternative clean energy projects, as required by law.
Vast acreages of land are being earmarked for the development of wind and solar projects. These aren’t mom & pop proposals to build rooftop panels or small windmills; instead, they are being planned and constructed on a scale that should stagger the sensibilities of anyone with an environmental conscience. It represents the wholesale destruction of vast areas of the West. ...the subsequent environmental damage cannot be understated. And yet suddenly, environmentalists don’t seem to notice...or care.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Friday it had eliminated a quarter of the proposed Soda Mountain Solar project but will allow most of its construction on nearly 2,000 acres near Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. ...The project is in an area where such development would be prohibited under the proposed Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.
An ancient, sacred Mohave Indian tribal site has been destroyed as a result of the Obama administration's push for solar development on public land. The facility at issue is the Genesis Solar Energy Project plant at Blythe, Calif., which sits in part on the site.
The California desert may be a green energy developer's dream, but county officials have serious concerns about a plan to manage renewable energy projects on 22 million acres of the state's sunniest public and private lands.
Response by Donna Tisdale to Supervisor Dave Roberts’ opinion published in East County Magazine
The Interior Department is being sued by Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo tribes — collectively called the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) — for siting a solar plant on sacred tribal lands, including burial grounds and sacred sites in California’s Mojave Desert.
The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday denied a Spanish company's application to build a controversial renewable energy facility in the Mojave Desert's remote Silurian Valley, deciding the sprawling project “would not be in the public interest.” ...Among the specific concerns the BLM noted were that the facility would disrupt migration corridors critical to bighorn sheep and other wildlife.