Feinstein Argues Against Mojave Desert Solar Power Plans
While solar energy is often touted as a way to avoid fossil fuels, California Senator Dianne Feinstein believes some public lands solar projects in the Mojave Desert need to be reexamined for their potential environmental impact.
Feinstein wrote to the Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to request that 12 proposed solar plans for the desert lands be scrapped, citing potential habitat destruction. The complaint applies to a small fraction of the 165 pending wind and solar energy leases on 600,000 acres of former railroad land.
Much of the land was donated by conservation group Wildlands Conservancy, and while the Bureau of land management maintains that the only stipulation of the donation was that no mining would be allowed on the land, Feinstein says that developing the land goes against the land’s intended purpose and puts wildlife in harm’s way.
Feinstein is particularly concerned about “pristine habitats” between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. The solar projects could potentially split up the habitats.
“Unfortunately, many of the sites now being considered for leases are completely inappropriate and will lead to the wholesale destruction of some of the most pristine areas in the desert,” Feinstein wrote in the letter.
She later clarifies that she is not opposed to solar and wind development in general, but does not believe these particular areas need to be put at risk in order to develop alternative energy.
Via Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: gamillos on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
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