Articles filed under Impact on People from California
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.
Standing on a former mountaintop blasted away to build the new Suncrest Substation, Governor Jerry Brown yesterday praised completion of the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink high voltage lines-and denigrated 79,000 citizens who have fought against destroying our communities and scenic vistas. "You have to crush the opposition," the Governor said forcefully.
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.
"To have the Governor's office tell our park officials NOT to comment on Ocotillo, OR ANY OTHER alternative energy projects adjacent to the Park, is a travesty, a violation of the trust between the citizens and the state." - Mark Jorgensen, retired Superintendent, Anza Borrego Desert State Park in an e-mail to ECM.
"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.
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.
Officials at BLM , which permits renewable energy development on public lands, said the project is in the testing phase only. An environmental review and public comment were not required because the company said placement of the masts by helicopter would not cause significant disturbance to the land.
Demand for clean energy has led to a wind turbine building boom. But many living in their shadow decry the electricity generating projects as pesky eyesores.
"We must make every effort to ensure that these projects are developed in a manner that respects the residents of the community in which they are located. Indiscriminate placement of these resources in pursuit of energy or financial gains fails to protect the very individuals that proponents of these projects claim to be serving."
Now many residents aren't so sure it is the right place. "If they mess up our canyon, then they mess up the rest of our lives," said Young. Resident Bob Biggs agreed. "It doesn't really fit well with 500-foot tall industrial machines," he said.
"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."
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."