Library filed under Impact on Landscape from California
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.
Politicians ignore the voices of their constituents regarding windmills. The wind turbines kill birds and bats. The Leaf-Nosed Bat once abundant in Southern California, has disappeared from the desert by San Jacinto Mountains. Duration: 5 minutes 15 seconds
For over 20 years Riverside Country Supervisors and the Palm Springs City Council have changed land use variances in favor of Wind Power Developers ignoring the California Energy Commission recommendations for wind turbine setbacks to residential structures. Duration: 4 minutes 8 seconds
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.
The proposed construction of massive wind and solar energy projects on public land in the California desert would hasten destruction and further fragment land that is home to 17% of state's rarest plants, botanists said Saturday. "Most of the solar and wind projects currently under review are in the wrong places," said Greg Suba, conservation program director for the California Native Plant Society.
Our public lands, however, are being attacked from every angle by every entity. Try to picture driving Old Woman Springs Road and quickly seeing 400-foot windmills on top on Black Lava Butte near Pioneertown Road and more on Flat Top. The most recent application is by Padoma Corp. for a wind farm out New Dixie Mine Road.
Renewable resources are what all Californians should be working toward for our energy needs. But connecting proposed solar and wind power sources in Lassen County with distant needy users through 600 miles of transmission lines on huge towers is shortsighted and not logical.
McEvoy Ranch spent nearly three years winning county approvals and installing a windmill that should generate enough power to run the olive ranch off Petaluma-Point Reyes Road. To win approval from the county Planning Commission, the McEvoys had to move the windmill away from the road and reduce its height by more than half to minimize its visual impact.
Size and cost alone make this project controversial, but it has become even hotter because, so far, it has been handled so poorly by the people who want to build it, the Transmission Agency of Northern California. TANC is a joint powers agency comprised of 15 publicly owned utilities, including the MID and TID. The agency's commission is chaired by MID's general manager, Allen Short. Not surprisingly, landowners all the way from Lassen and Shasta to Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties are upset -- and angry.
Nearly 350 people attended a meeting Thursday in Cottonwood regarding the Transmission Agency of Northern California's proposal to build 600 miles of power lines across the state. Steve Kerns, a biologist who helps develop environmental impact reports for wildland resource managers, spoke to a gymnasium so full that some were forced to stand or sit on the floor.
Shasta County residents fighting the power line plan make up just one pocket of resistance. A Yolo County environmental group and the Colusa County Board of Supervisors have expressed concerns about the planning process. Faced with opposition and mountains of questions, the Transmission Agency of Northern California, often referred to as TANC, extended public comment for the project's environmental study until May 31. Some critics suggest a more radical route: Restart the process from scratch.
LAKE HUGHES - Plans for the installation of 70 wind turbines on a ridge northwest of Lake Hughes and construction of power lines to connect them with an already-controversial proposed power line in Leona Valley have been submitted to Los Angeles County regional planners. But residents of the Lakes communities aren't too happy about it. "We as a community are not getting a lot of oversight protection on these projects," said Jim Walker, president of the Lakes Town Council.