Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Carbonmentalism and carbonmentalists.

From the Morongobill online dictionary:
carbonmentalism- a modern successor to the old-fashioned notion of
enviromentalism- a discipline devoted to preserving, restoration etc of the natural environment, especially as regards pollution. Carbonmentalism forsakes the
preservation of specific wild places with a credo that all must sacrifice, including
those hallowed places, by becoming the sites for modern concentrated solar,
wind farms, and other renewable energy plants, as well as the associated transmission
assets required to transmit the power wastefully back to the end-users often hundreds
of miles away. Unfortunately rare plant and animal species must do their fair share
to help reduce carbon emissions by willfully giving up their homes and lives in the process.
But that is a small price to pay, as they can go to their maker knowing that they gave
that last measure of devotion, their very existence, to help offset the carbon produced
in China by the two new coal plants a week, new plants, coming online there.

Carbonmentalist- a modern successor to great, old-time environmentalists such as
John Muir, John James Audobon, Henry David Thoreau, Theodore Roosevelt, and others.
These old-fashioned environmentalists were devoted to the preservation of the outdoors
and the wilderness, etc while the new, modern carbonmentalists worship at the altar of
carbon reduction, first and foremost. Just to name a couple, of course I would have to
name the two Carls, Pope and Zichella, from John Muir’s old organization, the Sierra Club,
once a hotbed of environmentalism and now the bright, shining beacon for the carbonmentalist movement, and Ms. Johanna Wald, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, soon to be joined by the previously mentioned Mr. Zichella, where I am as sure
as the sun will rise in the east tomorrow, they will continue to advance and further the
cause of their lives, carbonmentalism. Bravo! Bravo! Congratulations to these fine folks
who by succeeding beyond their wildest dreams in the goal of off-setting carbon emissions,
have managed to do more to hurt the California deserts than anyone else in recorded history, according to this awestruck blogger. Bravo! May you enjoy a just reward, soon I hope
as you guys really deserve it, of all people.

Continuing with this, these terms carbonmentalism and carbonmentalists came into use
in the year of our Lord, 2010, right here in this very blog, as a way that I could honor these
folks who are so deserving of an honor of this type. Bravo! Bravo! I would offer a visual
honor that in my humble opinion they do deserve, but I still have not made up my mind yet,
if they were as deserving of the honor and the award as the last two recipients, our
governator and Bobby Kennedy, Jr  were. The jury is still out, unfortunately at this point.

So there we have it. We are witnesses to linguistic history, the heights some will go to
for such truly, deserving individuals, who are giving their all to further this new cause,


P.s. If you can think of some examples of modern day carbonmentalists worthy of being
honored here, by all means please leave a comment or send me an email with the names
as well as why you think that they deserve such an honor.

If a desert thunderstorm can do this to a semi-trailer, what do you think will happen to a heliostat or stirling engine support pole?

Reported first at the Guzzler, this fast moving thunderstorm caused major damage to
Highway 395, causing major traffic diversions. By the way, 395 is the road right by the proposed Ridgecrest Solar Millennium project. The politicians and their carbonmentalist allies may along with the solar and wind barons, get their projects built, but mother
nature may have the last word.

This is an amazing video.

The Guzzler article can be found here.

An awed Morongobill.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A depressing post.

I just surfed over to Basin and Range Watch to see their latest Ivanpah post.
It is a followup to the one they did about the tortoise fencing found on their
recent visit of August 23rd to the site. You can read their post here.

As I scrolled down the page looking at all the photos and reading the descriptions,
it really started to sink in that we are about to lose this wonderful scenic area
unless a miracle occurs. The thousands of wooden stakes now in place are
strong evidence that a big change is coming, and coming soon.

Long time readers remember that I took two field trips here in March of this year,
and I know those areas that are staked out. I remember the cross-country hikes
which even though you strive to go in a straight line, you end up going this way and that to avoid all the abundant plant life, or the rocks etc left by all the floods that have come
down the fan from Clark Mountain as the water makes it way down field to the dry
lake bed. I remember seeing the wild burros and hearing their snorts and avoiding
their “road apples.”I guess they better be thinking about moving on, because pretty soon
they will be rounded up, who knows maybe for the glue factory, or even shot by marksmen.

I remember standing atop the left end(more easily climbed) of the metamorphic hill and
coming upon a hoof mark deep in a spot of soft soil surrounded by loose rock on top of
a hard surface, and thinking that I might have been the only human in the whole world
to see it. And looking out in all directions, toward the freeway and the Mojave Preserve
and toward Clark Mountain and the two wilderness areas, thinking what a wonderful
vista such as I had never seen, and sadly knowing that one day soon, it would be covered
with over one hundred thousand heliostatic mirrors.

I’m sorry, I can’t go on.




Folks, we really need you to email or write the CEC as I posted about earlier. Any effort
helps as it appears that this finally may be the last summer at Ivanpah for the desert
tortoises and the other plants and animals who have called this their home for millennia.


Friday, August 27, 2010

An anonymous comment really got me thinking that maybe we should start playing offense for a change!

You can find the comment and the post here. Or you can read it below:

Anonymous said...

Bill, Nary a fret, tis only but a minor infraction that 99.9% have shared in.
You, as a voice in the wilderness are plenty redeemed--but PV should and very well may be in your future--indeed most roofs in the west...
The hoisting of the trespasser upon their parabolic/diabolic gadgetry is too gentle a fate, an eternal punishment is much more fitting as the creatures silent screams testify.
Meanwhile a rare opportunity seems to have arisen to throw sand in the gears of the Remote Renewable Energy boondoggle.
Two hours of "outsider input" has been allotted for the next RETI "stakeholder steering committee" meeting: Sept 8, 9-5 pm. As one who has followed the RETI charade, I can tell you that this rarely occurs. Voices in the wilderness and allies PLEASE unite, inundate and deluge the culprits' schemes with protest of their fake representative and false 4 profit process--demand accountability and comparative analyses of local distributed generation and true representation to save what remains!
While the official agenda for the September 8, 9-5 proceeding has yet to be posted. There is typically provision for remote participation(toll free telephone and webinar connection) posted at RETI's website:
Please organize and stay tuned for the official agenda.
Meanwhile, from a RETI internal communication:
The RETI Stakeholder Steering Committee will meet next on September 8 at the CPUC’s Golden Gate room in SF from 10-5.
RETI has been asked to play a larger role to help integrate California and Western regional planning efforts.
To discuss how best to proceed, the last two hours of the SSC meeting 9/8 will be open to participation and discussion by non-SSC members interested in regional coordination of planning activities.
Hope you will be able to attend, and please send me any suggestions of topics for discussion that you may have.
Rich Ferguson, PhD
RETI Coordinator

August 22, 2010 12:32 PM

Now here is what I intend to do. Notice that I am telegraphing my punch. I will log in via web
or phone at the time mentioned above, having read the “official agenda for the meeting”
before hand, and when my time comes, if it comes,I am going to demand that they
replace the “people’s interest representative”, a Mizz Johanna Wald from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a noted “carbonmentalist” with a representative whose interests more coincide with the real peoples interest
which I believe lie more in the direction of saving our last remaining wild places
by not going along with these giant csp plants way out in the boondocks, but in
home grown, independent rooftop power generated where the customers are.

Oh ye of little faith, I see the eyes rolling out there and hear the snickers. It’s okay, I am a
man of 56 years, I have heard it before.

This is what I know for a fact. Having this Mizz Johanna Wald on this very important
committee steering the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative as a people’s interest
representative is akin to Stalin’s appointed stooges on the Politboro being true representatives for the Russian people. I sincerely doubt that she has ever seen one
of these plant proposals that she didn’t like. After all, they do promise to reduce carbon going into the environment and she is a noted “carbonmentalist”, what’s there for her not
to like?

And this is just the beginning. Better and more incisive brains than mine need to get involved with this. I bet if we had a list of all these committees and their members, we’d
find other noted “carbonmentalists” such as Carl Zichella, formerly of the Sierra Club and
taking his act now over to the NRDC where he and his buddy Mizz Wald can plot together
more easily how much more carbon they can save, as they do their utmost to destroy the remaining patches of wild desert- I bet we’ll find more names like this, sweep them out, too.

Now wait a minute, this sounds like a litmus test you’re talking about, Morongobill. Well,
surprise, surprise,surprise as that noted philosopher, Gomer Pyle used to say, it
is a litmus test. You don’t think the bureaucrats and the industrialists used a litmus
test when they packed the committees in the first place with the likes of Mizz Wald
and others of her ilk? How naive.

Maybe I am wrong, maybe there is no way to get committee members removed. So what?
I want the man to know in no uncertain terms that at least I, just an insignificant little blogger on the net, know what’s going on and that I will do my best to get the
word out there. This is an unfair process, just hobbled together, being ramrodded
down our throats, as well as the desert tortoises and others.

You don’t think the projects are being ramrodded? I just got through reading the “Tortoise
Telegraph” section of the newest edition of the Sunrunner Magazine, a great little free
desert publication, this one is the annual writer’s issue, you got to check it out- anyway, they report that the BLM completely ignores their requests for information regarding the
Blythe Solar Millennium Project, especially regarding the native american geoglyphs!
Out-f---ingrageous!They also wrote about this in the March/April issue which you can
read below.

There is an interest article on p.10 or 11 as well.

What’s that I smell this morning? A whiff of revolution perhaps.

Let’s go the offense starting right now folks.


P.s. thank you again anonymous for your great comment.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

With an email, you can help in the fight to save Ivanpah.

But we only have about a week to get this done.

It seems that the California Energy Commission may be concerned about the
public’s opinion of this project. If enough comments come in, they may delay
their decision. Any significant delay, of course, would delay the tortoise roundup
planned, possibly beyond the deadline, resulting in a possible still-birth of this
boondoggle due to the federal ARRA funds being cutoff, since groundbreaking must occur by yearend to qualify to receive the loan guarantees.

Over at Coyote Crossing, there is an interesting post about this.

Here is the information that I received in an email from Chris at Coyote Crossing which
goes into the details about who can comment(anyone but California residents may have
more pull), the address and format of the comments, as well as suggested topics from
the folks at Basin and Range Watch.

I can not emphasize enough that time is of the essence here. We have about 1 week to
get our voices heard as the deadline to send the comments is September 2nd. It appears also from my reading of the email that a paper copy must also be sent via the postoffice in
addition to your email.

Here is the copy of the email with all the information:

What you're commenting on is formally known as, drumroll please, the California Energy Commission's Presiding Member's Proposed Decision on the BrightSource Energy application for the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS).


That's from now on referred to as the PMPD. It is readable here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/35373191/Ivanpah-Solar-approval and it's going to be very helpful to you to at least scan it. There will not be a quiz. However, a sentence or to lifted from the document and referred to in your comments will definitely make your comments sound more authoritative.


Public comments on the PMPD are accepted until September 2. I'm sending this on Wednesday August 25, so that's a week from tomorrow. Getting them emailed AND postmarked earlier than that is not a bad idea.

The California Energy Commission "encourages" the public to comment on the PMPD The Notice (with an address) reads:

The Members of the public and governmental agency representatives are encouraged to submit their written comments by the close of the 30-day review period. The Energy Commission encourages comments by e-mail. Please include your name or organization's name in the name of the file. Those submitting attached comments by electronic mail should provide them in either Microsoft Word format or as a Portable Document (.pdf) to [docket@energy.state.ca.us]. One paper copy must also be sent to the Energy Commission's Docket Unit, 1516 Ninth Street, MS-4, Sacramento, CA 95814. Identify all comments with "Docket No. 07-AFC-5."

[NOTE the requirement for mailing a paper copy.]


California residents probably have somewhat more pull here. However, the lands at issue are owned by all US citizens, and so US citizens have every right to comment. Some people reading this aren't US citizens, and that's fine: everything that reminds the CEC that *people around the world are paying attention here* is good, and besides, the Mojave Desert is a world-class tourist destination — anything that interferes with the visual resource and wildlife resource elements of that desert erodes the standing of the Southwest states in the global economy, long-term. Who travels ten thousand miles to visit a mirror factory?


There are significant identified issues with the PMPD. Pasted below are notes taken by Basin and Range Watch's Laura Cunningham describing a whole lot of those issues that have been brought to the CEC's attention, and additional public comment on those issues will likely generate more willingness to reconsider those topics. But let me remind you that what's important here is not that you send in exhaustive effort-filled comments: simply mentioning that you're concerned about the topics and feel they have not been adequately addressed is fine. Or you can keep it general and talk about public lands — YOUR public lands — being handed over to industry. No one expects you to pretend to expertise you do not have — in fact, that'd probably hurt. What does count is that you are who you are and you're concerned about this destruction of the desert, and that you're saying so in your own words — which is why we aren't doing one of those boilerplate cut-paste email petition things.

Thank you again.

begin notes from Laura C:

CEC must fulfill its duties under CEQA and California Endangered Species Act if it will issue a permit (under the authority of California Department of Fish and Game) for "take" of tortoise. It is not fulfilling its duties.

The whole translocation plan for tortoises is in draft form, and is not even available for public review in part. New guidance from US Fish and Wildlife Service says "relocation" is under 500 meters, and "translocation" is over 500 m, but this is only to inform decisions about testing for disease (blood samples drawn to test for Upper Respiratory Tract Syndrome). But the differences is meaningless to the tortoise. Whenever you move a tortoise into an area with a resident population of tortoises already present, there is the potential for agonistic behavior (aggression) on the part of the residents when a newcomer invades it home range. This often causes the newcomer to move away long distances.

Currently some of the tortoises would be relocated short-distance to the west and north of the project "out of harm's way" yet these very areas are also slated for solar developments and two high-speed train routes. This will not guarantee tortoises are safe in the future.

Mojave National Preserve has not yet agreed to be the recipient site for long-distance translocated tortoises, but if this option is chosen, full separate NEPA review should be undertaken for this action.

No translocation or relocation of any kind should be done, as it is problematic and tortoises are in decline rangewide. Documents obtained by Freedom of Information Act from agencies involved in the Fort Irwin Expansion tortoise translocation show that the effort there failed. Tortoises were moved staring in March 2008, to December 2009: 44.3% died and 17.4 % are missing. This happened mostly from coyote predation. Coyotes are present also in the Ivanpah project site. Translocation may do more harm than good, as it can spread diseases into the host population. Disease testing does not always work, and not all diseases are tested for. The August 2010 Draft Independent Science Advisors Report for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan recommends against translocation/relocation of tortoises.

During the hearing no plans to fence Interstate 15 were made, to keep these wandering tortoises from going on the highway, and BrightSource should at least be made to pay for this.

The Ivanpah Valley is within the Northeastern Recovery Unit, which has tortoises with very unique genetic make-up. It is imperative that any mitigation land acquired by the applicant for the loss of tortoise habitat be kept within this northeastern Mojave Desert area, not across the desert as CEC has allowed. Because this genetic population is unique, and the Ivanpah Valley is the only place in California which contains it, no projects should be allowed to destroy tortoise habitat and take (kill) tortoises.

There are so many changes to the FEIS and SA that have not been fully vetted in evidentiary hearings or public review that the project needs to be delayed so that the public can review everything.

The Tortoise Translocation Plan has changed significantly, is still a draft, and part of the plan has not been circulated to the public.

Moving tortoises any distance (whether relocation or translocation) is stressful to the tortoises and should not be done. Translocation is not mitigation, it only reduces "take" (mortality), therefore it should not be considered as reducing impacts to tortoises to less than significant levels.

How will wildfires be fought by the limited San Bernardino County fire and emergency services? Many other large projects are proposed for Ivanpah valley, is this being taken into account?

How will the loss of 4,000 acres of recreational land next to the Mojave National Preserve be made up for? People use this valley for camping, hiking, birdwatching, rockhounding, and wildlife viewing.

I do not want a "Solar and Ecological Interpretive Center" to replace the experience of hiking and being out in a quiet wild desert. (This is a mitigation proposal the county is pushing for the site).

The vistas of the desert will be destroyed by industrialization and glare.

How will we be assured that rare birds on Clark Mountain (an Internationally Important Bird Area according to Audubon) will not be killed by the three giant power towers? Whippoorwills, Hepatic tanagers, and Gray vireos breed here, and the first two species nowhere else in California.

How will rare plants be conserved and truly mitigated for? Placing fences around individual plants in the middle of the solar field will not save these plants. How will the applicant know where to buy mitigation land that has the same rare plants on them?

How will the public be guaranteed a return on its large investment if the project is subject to ongoing heliostat failure by flash floods? This project site is on an active floodwash alluvial fan below Clark Mountain.

The project is speculative, being a scaled-up version of a 6 MW test power tower. It is 370 MW, and how is the public assured that it will work?”

I know I have posted in the past that I felt the comment periods were just a feel good mechanism, kind of like a relief valve, and that the decision may have already been made.
I was wrong. Folks, I trust Chris at Coyote Crossing and Laura and Kevin over at Basin
and Range Watch, if they say there’s a chance of stopping or delaying this project by
submitting our comments, I believe them. I am aboard. I will definitely be commenting,
just one voice opposing the project among many voices, no better or worse than any other.

The whole key is to get a bunch of people to write about this. The main thing is we need
people to write.

If I can do it, so can you. I sincerely hope that you do.

In closing, let me tell you what happened to me yesterday.

I went back up to the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, in that major heat wave, to get
away from this giant megalopolis, to get back to nature, and to think about what next to
do about this Ivanpah situation. I realized very quickly that a return visit there to do a farewell hike at this time is out of the question for me, it’s even hotter there than at Big
Morongo was yesterday, and I barely made the ridgetop to ridgetop hike. I don’t know if
I was just exhausted or what, but when I was coming down from the ridgetop on the Yucca Ridge trail, on my way back to civilization, it hit me that it might be all over at Ivanpah, and
such a wave of sadness hit me, my eyes welled up, I had to stop for a moment to wipe
my eyes so I could see- but I continued on and drove back home.

Once there, online, I discovered that maybe all isn’t over with Ivanpah.



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You and your teenage kids need to watch this video.

Folks, I still can’t get over this- how did this 19 year old come out of this horrific
accident alive? Evidently this occurred a day or two ago in Ohio.

There is a lesson here for drivers of all ages.

Warning! This is extremely graphic and I don’t think I would show this to young


It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

My apologies to Lenny Kravitz and others for cribbing that great song title.

I read a disturbing post yesterday at Coyote Crossing and saw an even more
disturbing photograph, one sent to Chris by the folks at Basin and Range
Watch. They were visiting the Ivanpah SEGS site evidently yesterday when they
discovered that the stakes are already in the ground along some of the roads and around the site of #1, which going from memory may be the site closest to the freeway and at the Nipton Road direction. These stakes are for the purpose of hanging netting on to
fence in the existing desert tortoises and to keep the ones on the opposite
side out of the project site.
This, of course, is in anticipation of the final approval
from the California Energy Commission for their license permit, upon receipt of
which, they will begin the BrightSource Energy/ Bechtel Power desert tortoise roundup.

Now note above that the said permit has not been issued, yet. But by putting up the fencing now, they save valuable time, time that can be put to much better use during
the roundup phase. You see they have a small window of time, I am unsure exactly
how much but the details are out there I believe at the Mojave Desert Blog, I would
surf over right now and get the information, but unfortunately there is no net access
at this time, a small amount of time, maybe five or six weeks to get the DT’s rounded up,
dug up, sorted out, catalogued, given their shots and blood work,etc. If they don’t get it
done right now, right after approval, this project will have to be put on hold until next
year. So you see why they are moving with alacrity here. There is a sense of urgency.

Why the big rush, those new to this blog might ask? The answer again is simple. They
are running around like chickens afraid that their heads are about to be whacked off with
EXPIRE 12/31/2010!”
That 1.37 billion dollar federal loan guarantee will be withdrawn
if construction doesn’t start right on schedule. With talk already from members of the
renewable energy community that money is tight as bark on a tree on Wall Street,
even with the feds money, and Congress already having taken some of that money
back already out of the chamber pot, you can take this to the bank, they ain’t
no damned way in hell that the B.S.Er’s are gonna let that damn money go. You

Now some folks are already pointing out the obvious- BrightSource hasn’t been told
the project has been approved yet as there has been no news to that effect anywhere
to be found, yet. Let me point out something here, folks. Most of you probably haven’t
heard of the RETI or the RETI SSC. RETI means renewable energy transmission initiative
and SSC means stakeholder steering committee. Hhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Transmission initiative sounds to me like that has to do with the transmission line infrastructure, and it does, and this was formed for the purpose of facilitating and cutting the
red tape involved with building new or upgrading the old transmission line system for
all those giant renewable energy plants expected to come on line soon. Oh, and by the
way, they really want to streamline and simplify the environmental review process, you
know, break out the big old rubber stamp. You dig? Starting to get the big picture here?

Stakeholder steering committee, what’s up with that? These are all the utility companies
involved, the giant energy companies, the bureaucrats- plus some public interest types
such as a representative for the native americans. These people are in charge of steering
matters related to these giant plants.

Here are a couple of the members you might want to know about. Arthur Haubenstock is
an attorney for BrightSource Energy, a big player in all these going on’s. But my favorite
has to be Johanna Wald from the Natural Resources Defense Council, representing the
public interest allegedly, she of the mindset that we must destroy the desert to save it,
got to keep the carbon emissions down, got to sacrifice, though some will sacrifice much
more than others, just ask the desert tortoises about to be displaced or killed at Ivanpah,
I’m telling you folks, putting this Mizz Wald of the NRDC on this steering committee to
look out for the public’s interest is like asking the wolves to assist in providing safety
for the sheep! You can’t this stuff up, it may sound like it, but it’s all true, all a matter of
public record. I am just amazed that Carl Zichella, formerly of the Sierra Club isn’t on this
committee, although he may be pulling the strings behind the scenes.

I understand Haubenstock’s and others of his kind that are on the committee, they need
to get this thing going, got to get the money rolling in, got to get those bulldozers a moving.
I get it. But it’s the folks like this Mizz Wald that I have a problem with. Somewhere along
the way, I believe they stopped going out to the wilderness or nature, maybe they got too deep in computers, got too deep into the modeling the climate change and global warming
scenarios, they lost their way or maybe they deliberately went into this direction, and tried
to hijack the movement, whatever happened, they and those like her have succeeded
beyond their wildest dreams. Funny and sad isn’t it, how you are not hearing a peep out
of these environmental groups now that the earthmovers are about to fire up soon?

All I can say is that I hope they got their thirty pieces of silver, because this betrayal of the
earth and their fellow environmentalists will leave a lasting legacy for thousands of years,
long after everyone here now is gone and again I reiterate that, in my opinion, I hope their
names elicit feelings of rage and disgust far into the future, because I believe history
will tell the tale and it won’t be a pretty one, and these environmental carbon wonk types,
the ones who should have and did know better, decided to sacrifice nature to reach
some elusive goal, one that to this day has not been definitively proven. One thing for sure,
pretty soon and I am talking in under ten years, you won’t recognize the Mojave, you will
look around and see the giant wind turbines on the ridge tops and the valleys filled with
row after row of solar troughs or stirling engines, with giant transmission lines running hither and thon, row after row, not a plant or animal in sight amongst all this progress-
when you gaze upon all this in the future, just think how different things might have turned out if certain important individuals and groups in the “environmental movement” had not
went over to the side of the industrialists and the polluters, but instead had stayed true
to the ideals of their membership and of their founders, and fought the good fight when they
had the chance to win it.

It isn’t over till it’s over but as Chick Hearn used to say” the butter’s hardening and the
jello is jiggling.” I am afraid Ivanpah’s time is about up.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Enviromentalist= someone trying to save the wild places in nature,that’s my definition.

I just finished reading the essay “Confessions of a recovering environmentalist” by
Paul Kingsnorth, the link in case you missed it is here.

When I come across something very interesting, written material that touches something
inside me, it may take me two or three days to finish it, savoring each morsel of
insight and knowledge gained. That is exactly what happened this time.

No I don’t see myself being portrayed in the essay as a young man, but I do see a
little of myself in the older years, wondering what happened to the movement; who,
how, and when did it get hijacked by the bean counters, the math modelers, the
carbon counters- you catch my drift I believe. Call me old fashioned but I still believe
environmentalists are folks who try to save the wild places that are left.

I can not comment on whether his rendering of the history as he sees it is fact or not,
but I do feel he is right on as to where the state of the movement is right now, today.
I only need to look to the current examples of Ivanpah SEGS and other of these
renewable energy projects, referring especially to the site locations, and the major
environmental groups backing the projects(or not opposing which means the same thing)
to see exactly where they stand. It absolutely makes not a shred of difference whether
the sites are pristine or of significant cultural value or filled with rare or endangered
plant and animal species, the area must be laid on the alter for sacrifice to appease
their carbon gods.
I mean really, to hear some of these carbon environmentalists talk,
it sounds like a religious experience for them. I mean listen to them sometimes.

I agree with the author that nothing may or can be done, at least this far along. And I
echo his wanting to get out in nature right away, to submerse himself in it, being a
published writer, I am sure that he’ll be able to afford it.

For myself, I intend to seek out nature opportunities as often as financially possible and
also to keep up this good fight, this most noble fight, win or lose, to stop this
rape and pillaging destined for the Mojave that I love, in any way that I am able,
secure in the knowledge that there are kindred spirits out there who feel the way
I do, and who also intend to fight the system, this system which feels that it is
absolutely necessary to destroy one of the greatest carbon sinks as deserts are,
in order to make up for the extra carbon going into the ecosystem from our use
of fossil fuel energy sources- in other words, we must destroy the desert to
eventually save it.
 archivecd9 060

God help us in this fight. And if you’re reading this and feel in any way in
agreement with the essay writer or with this post, please consider making
this your fight as well. With you at our backs, with all of us having each others’
backs, we can and will make progress against the industrialists and
their lackeys.

Vaya con dios, my friends.



Sunday, August 22, 2010

What I will be reading and thinking about, you might consider doing the same.

"Confessions of a recovering environmentalist"

This was forwarded to me from an internet mailing list and I started to read it, and quickly
discovered that I simply must study this. A quick skimming and I saw a lot of my own
feelings that have been starting to coalesce are in this article.

The title is provocative but this is not some anti- environmental diatribe you’ll be perusing.
This is a heartfelt analysis of what this person has went through to arrive at his position
on issues and his life today.

I will post more once I have read and pondered this. I must say this is one of the more profound pieces I have come across recently.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Contact! From one of the giant solar firms! Details here!

Boy, was I surprised to receive this email today. I will cut and paste it below, but
will leave out the contact person and phone number. No it’s not BrightSource!

Dear Morongo Bill,

I am assisting First Solar on their media outreach in the Riverside/Coachella Valley area.

As you have been following, First Solar is steadily making progress on its Desert Sunlight project near Desert Center. Because of your ongoing coverage and comments of utility-scale solar and the anticipated advance of this project, we thought it would be a good time for you and a First Solar Representative to meet face-to-face. Kim Oster, director of business development for First Solar, will be in the Coachella Valley area on September 2nd and 3rd. Although, we understand you are in the Buena Vista area, we thought an attempt to connect would be appropriate. If it is not possible to meet face-to-face, Kim would be happy to make arrangements to speak on the phone in the next few weeks or possibly arrange for another time to meet when she can travel to Orange County.

Please let me know if you are interested and your availability, and I would be happy to help coordinate.”

Here are a few links from one of the best sites on the net, Basin and Range Watch, with
plenty of details about First Solar and the project in question, I recommend you read all
reports. The 3rd link has a story about a First Solar contractor evidently trespassing on private property to do surveys, pictures of the act in the 3rd link!

Desert Sunset or Desert SunLight LLC?

Chuckwalla Valley Solar Sprawl

Chuckwalla Valley Update

Folks, this email was just as big a surprise as I have ever received in my 56 years. It’s flattering of course, but didn’t I just post the other day about the “divide and conquer”

Now let me see if I can sum up this development down in the Chuckwalla Valley. I am doing this mainly from memory, so any incorrect information, it can be blamed on that.

This is around a 4,000+ acre development if I remember right and it surrounds on 3 sides
a little farm. I believe that farm grows jojoba and I believe the farmers in question are
the Charpied’s, you know the folks who are in the 20+ year fight to stop the world’s
largest garbage dump from happening near their place and adjacent to Joshua Tree
National Park, the good folks that I support and have asked my readers to support? Now
you get it, those fine folks. So if I understand this, they may win the fight to stop the
garbage dump but may end up being surrounded by a whole bunch of solar mirrors?

I really think my answer is obvious. If you want to meet with me to say that you’ve changed
your plans for locating the solar field at it’s present intended location, and are moving it
to a site that is brown land, or salted up farm land, junk land not wanted by anybody
such as desert tortoises or burrowing owls or mojave ground squirrels or badgers or rare
and/or beautiful plants or not considered sacred by this land’s original inhabitants, the native americans- we can meet- we can talk- I’ll even buy you a drink or two.

But if the purpose of the meeting is to try to persuade me to go along with the present
site location, we really have nothing to talk about.

Oh at some point, I am heading out there. I really would like to walk the beautiful country
in those photographs, who knows, Senor Tortuga from Ivanpah may even have a cousin there I could interview ;-)

Now if by some chance, I am totally off mark with the details just outlined, let me know.
I am pretty confident though that the details presented here are correct.

To preserve the privacy of the public relations person who emailed me, I did not disclose
the name or cell number. The business person for First Solar in the email I did list as I
believe that information is public record and it makes sense that they would try to arrange meetings with folks who have an interest in the proposed solar project.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ever wonder why it seems the big environmental groups are on big wind and solar’s side and not on ours? Maybe this web find might shed a clue.

Hhhhmmmmm- let’s see, in March 2010 I made two field trips to the Ivanpah SEGS
leading into April when I made a field trip to the Calico Solar Site east of Newberry
Springs, California. The former where we are about to be BrightSourced, the latter
where we are about to be Tessera’d and hoisted up to be fried on one of their
thousands and thousands of Stirling engines planned for that site, er that is if they
can get it running, of course.

And of course, other intervenors and interested grassroots activists were doing similar
field trips to sites in the desert such as these or were attending the never ending
hearings to plead the case for our Mojave and other deserts. I applaud them for that.
As one who has virtually no patience when dealing with mind numbing bureaucracy,
I admire their tenacity and ability to keep going out day by day and fighting the good fight.

Now that’s what our side was doing. What about the other side? What were the opponents
doing? Well, I think I know now.

Since a lot of you are probably in a hurry, I have saved pg#1/2 of this pdf file below:

  W oods Institute for the Environment
                                                                              U n c o m m o n            D i a l o g u e

                         Large‐Scale Solar Technology and Policy Forum
                                             Overview and Agenda
                                                      April 8‐9, 2010

Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment is hosting a technology and policy forum on
what is required to make large-scale solar a viable solution for our energy future.  The forum will bring
together scientists, policy makers, industry and non-governmental organization (NGO) leaders to develop
the blueprint for a plan on technology development, regulatory changes and deployment strategies.                      The
forum is co-sponsored by Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy.

The goal of the forum is share knowledge, expertise and perspectives to establish priorities, advance
technology and meet the challenges presented by the implementation of large scale solar.

Forum Objectives

•    What are the values, benefits and challenges that need to be reflected in the implementation of large-
     scale solar projects?
•    What scientific and technology advances can mitigate the most critical impacts of large-scale solar
•    What are the current regulatory and investment challenges to the advancement of technology/science
     developments and to the deployment of large-scale solar, and how can they best be met?

Policy and Legislative Drivers
Although current solar power generation in the U.S. constitutes less than 0.1% of our total energy
consumption (8800 MW of installed solar capacity), large-scale solar projects are moving forward.  Solar
energy is expected to provide a significant percentage of U.S. electrical needs over the coming decades.
The increased interest in solar energy is reflected in recent legislative action. The U.S. House of
Representatives recently passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) and the U.S.
Senate is considering similar legislation.  In addition, the House has also passed the Solar Technology
Roadmap Act (H.R. 3585) that directs the Secretary of Energy to oversee a committee that will advise the
federal government on solar technology development. Concurrently, the Department of Interior is also
conducting a Programmatic Environmental Impact Study on Solar Energy Development that will guide
the development of large-solar energy projects on federal land (anticipated release is September 2010).

Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment
As a neutral third-party convener and trusted source of research and information, the Woods Institute
brings business, government and NGO leaders together with experts from Stanford and other academic
institutions to create practical solutions on key environmental policy issues.

For more information: http://woods.stanford.edu/ideas/solar-forum.html

Margot Gerritsen (Chair)                                                E: margot.gerritsen@stanford.edu
Associate Professor, Energy Resources Engineering                       I: www.smartenergyshow.com

            Jerry Yang & Akiko Yamazaki Environment & Energy Building - MC 4205 / 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305
             Phone: 650 736-8668 Fax: 650 725-3402 Email: environment@stanford.edu Website: http://woods.stanford.edu
Now below is page#2/2- this is where it gets interesting. Pay particular attention to
the industry representatives and the big environmental group representatives.

                       Large‐Scale Solar Technology
                       and Policy Forum                                                                  Forum co-sponsored by:

                                                          April 7‐9, 2010                

Wednesday April 7
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.                  Evening ice-breaker at the Stanford Guest House for early arrivals

Thursday April 8
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.                  Coffee/breakfast available at Paul Brest Hall
8:30 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.                  Welcome and introductions
9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.                 Part I: Solar Vision
                                       Outline the shared vision and goals of large-scale solar technology
                                       Plenary invited presentation by Arthur Haubenstock (BrightSource) and Johanna
                                       Wald (NRDC) followed by workgroup discussions
10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.                Coffee break
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.                Part II: Challenges:
                                       Identify the most significant challenges facing the implementation of
                                       Large-scale solar technology
                                       Workgroup discussions, plenary debrief
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.                 Lunch
1:30 p.m.     - 2:45 p.m.              Part II: Challenges, cont.
                                       Plenary invited presentations by Carl Zichella (Sierra Club), Karen Edson
                                       (CAISO) and Joshua Bar-Lev (BrightSource) followed by continued workgroup
                                       discussions and plenary debrief
2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.                  Coffee break
3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.                  Part III: Solutions
                                       Brainstorm and explore the potential solutions for the most significant
                                       challenges facing the implementation of large-scale solar technology
                                       Workgroup discussions, plenary debrief
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.                  Reception
                                       Remarks by Rick Ridgeway, VP Patagonia, Freedom to Roam
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.                  Dinner for participants at Stanford Faculty Club

Friday April 9
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.                  Coffee/breakfast available at Paul Brest Hall
8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.                  Opening and recap of first forum day
8:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.                 Part IV: Strengths and resources:
                                       Share forum participant knowledge, expertise and resources that can be
                                       utilized to meet the challenges and implement the vision and goals of large-scale
                                       solar technology.  Identify next steps.
                                       Workgroup discussions, plenary debrief
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.                Plenary closing and next steps

For additional forum information: http://woods.stanford.edu/ideas/solar-forum.html

By the way, I highly recommend a surf over to the woods-stanford web site listed. While
there, be sure to read the .pdf file scoping-comments from the public, very enlightening.

By now, it probably has sunk in, even into the most die hard and rabid Sierra Club or
NRDC member, die hard in the sense that you follow dictates from your headquarters
and maybe are not too involved with the grassroots part of the environmental business.

But before the morongobill goes into that, please allow me a “mea culpa” moment.

I readily confess that even though I have always loved the Mojave, I never got involved
in any way re: its’ environment, until I began this blog in January of this year. So I arrived
late to the table, and not too hip on what was going on. But I wised up in a hurry, let me
tell you- with the help of some desert activists who were kind enough to point me in the
right direction, they know who they are, thank you. I have made mistakes along the way
and I apologize if I offended anyone along the way. I do not intentionally try to hurt
people who have helped me.

But people who while on the one hand are preaching to us about how we got to save the
planet by sacrificing big now, by allowing the deserts to be paved over with windmills
and heliostat mirrors and gigantic transmission line towers, that’s another thing. They are
fair game to me.

Having recently exposed the hypocricy of the national headquarters of the Sierra Club, for
saying all along that distributed power wasn’t good enough to solve California’s energy
needs and that we must have concentrated solar power plants, and turning out that their
own rooftop was completely virginal, and totally solar panel free- they had the gall to rate
the nation’s green colleges for the New York Times Green Blog- a fact I pointed out to
the gray lady and that she published- now I discover that while I and other activist types
were out traipsing through the deserts or in the hearing rooms- Carl Zichella of the
Sierra Club leadership and Johanna Wald of the NRDC leadership were in a two day
seminar at Stanford University with BrightSource Energy and other renewable energy bigwhigs- discussing how they were going to implement large scale solar projects!
Even the morongobill in his wildest dreams, never suspected such perfidy. Perfidy, yes
even treason, treason in the sense of betrayal to the original goal, vision, and ideals
laid down by John Muir, god rest his soul, over a century ago. Of course, he has been
spinning in his grave for about 30 or 40 years now, starting when the leader of the
Sierra Club went along with the Glen Canyon dam and the spinning probably attained
warp speed when the priority became to massage the erroneous zones of the corporate
donors, to keep those big checks coming in. I, for one, would really love to shove
one of those big checks up the SC and NRDC leadership’s asses where the solar rays are not emitted or to hang them off one of those sterling engines where the
solar rays come to a point.

So all along, something never seemed right about those big environmental groups as
now constituted and I never sent them a penny. The smaller organizations have kept
fighting the good fight mostly, and hopefully have steered clear of the industrialists and
the polluters and their corporate enablers. At least the ones I follow have. Keep up the
fight, mount up men and ride to the sound of the guns!

It is starting to sink in that we may lose the Ivanpah and Imperial site battles. But at least
we in the grassroots know it wasn’t anything we did wrong. We are not the ones who
have been cutting the deals with big wind and big solar and big venture capital and
big government to allow the Mojave to be raped and pillaged, we didn’t manipulate the
process to exclude evidence or to try to silence criticism or testimony, it ain’t on us.

It’s all on the heads of folks like Carl Pope or Carl Zichella or Johanna Wald and others
of their ilk- odious names if I have ever heard of any, names that I hope will be answered
with curses generations into the future when people ask, what the hell were they thinking,
destroying this beautiful desert when they had all those roofs begging to covered in
solar panels right in their own backyard---

What should we call people that betray a movement’s ideals in such a fashion?

If I am wrong, tell me about it.


Blaming the victims- not the way to make friends or influence people. Followup to the Johnson Valley race tragedy.

Folks, I have been following the Johnson Valley race tragedy in the news and online
since it happened. I heard of a tale of heroism from a friend of mine, who said he
heard or saw media reports of someone selflessly sacrificing his own life to push
others out of the onrushing truck’s way. I don’t know if that happened or not, but often in
horrendous events like this, it does, as the Lord said two millenia ago, “greater love
hath no man than this, that he give up his life for his friends.” I may be paraphrasing
there but you understand the point. At the time of greatest personal danger, they
thought of others; friends, family members, or complete strangers first- the absolute
opposite of “me first” and one of mankind’s  most noble traits.

However, also in times like these, sometimes the worst instincts in man come out,
people turn on one another, harsh words are spoken, words in some cases, that once
out, either can not be taken back, or if they are, can never be forgiven by those who,
in this case have suffered unbearable losses.

I realize that this is a young sport with a lot of young people participating it. Being young
once myself, I know that sometimes you say things that you really don’t mean, or respond
to events in a less than mature way. Believe it or not, sometimes wisdom does come
with age. There’s a reason that throughout human history, elders have been accorded
respect and have been listened to.

I believe at this time, the elders in this sport need to step forward and begin leading. If
there are none, parents should come in and speak for their children who were participants.
It does your sport, your cause, and yourselves no good at all when you play “blame the
victims”, in this case the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. This type
of behavior is childish, self defeating, and self destructive. You dehumanize the accident victims when you do this, and therefore dehumanize yourselves. They don’t deserve this sort of treatment, especially after they gave all they had that night. After all this, where is
your sense of fairness? Where is your sense of shame?

The elders also need to speak out  forcefully  against any further talk of any actions that
can be construed by the authorities and your fellow citizens as a coverup. This activity
was conducted in public and on public land and the public knows about the tragedy. They
want and need answers to the questions that need to be asked- how could such an event
occur without any means to keep fans from harms way especially at the area known as
the rocks where this tragedy took place, where were the organizers and why didn’t they have crowd control people holding back folks, especially at that location,  and who were those misguided individuals counseling the coverup in the first place? I sure hope by now
that they have been made aware of just how damaging that attempt to hold back the truth
getting out was.

Hard times, trying times are heading your way. The way to survive these times with the
sport you love intact, is to cooperate fully with the officials, both in the spirit and letter of
the law. You just don’t have this many people die and expect things to go back to the status  quo, it’s not going to happen.
Just in off the wire. The BLM has suspended all permits for the
race organizer, MDR, indefinitely while the investigation continues.
I reiterate the way to save your sport is to cooperate with the
authorities as they search for the truth of what happened and why.

Prepare yourselves for major changes in the rules- in your sport and in your arena- our
Mojave Desert. I am afraid the old ways of anything goes, no rules or rules not being
enforced are going the way of the dinosaurs. It isn’t the wild west out there, the rules of
normal, polite society still apply. The people in the form of the state will insist on it, and
the man will be out in force to make sure the rules are followed in the future.

And please, no more of the talk I have been reading online, this kind of juvenile trash
talk is beneath you and really is an insult to the rest of us and to the surviving family
members. You are not the victims here, believe it or not. Nobody wants to hear it.
What we want and need to hear you say, is that you get the message,
and you will work hard to make your sport safer so that it can be continued
to be enjoyed into the future.

The remarks in the above paragraph, by the way, are directed at those both young and old
that have been quoted in the media reports. The remarks below are mainly for the young
people quoted in the above mentioned media reports, people whose future lies ahead
over the next few decades.

I have been honored lately working with young people and I know in my heart that they
all want to enjoy life, have fun safely, and don’t go around looking for ways to hurt others.
We are asking you to think about what you say before you say it, and to carry yourselves
with some honor and a little humility, those that may have spoken rashly.

And we know, I think, that you also have suffered major emotional harm from this and
deep down, didn’t really mean to say some of the things that were said. It’s not too late
to say that you are sorry and to ask for forgiveness.

Try it please. Don’t put up walls now at this time of all times.  Come together now as a family with your friends and do what is right, what you, I believe, know to be the only
right and proper course at such a sad time for so many.

Vaya con dios.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Followup to the Johnson Valley racing event tragedy.

It’s been a couple of days now since this tragedy occurred and the dust is
starting to settle now and more information is starting to get out about this

Let me say, right off the bat, that if you go looking to the mainstream news
media for your information you’ll be missing a lot. I suggest you surf over to
this blogsite which has probably the most information about this event and
this sport.

Scroll down a little until you get to the photograph of the truck being rolled
over with the title “Sanctioned slaughter, 8 dead fans.”

This is the most complete information site for this event, I believe on the whole
world wide web. And they are not pulling any punches, note the reporting on the
cover attempt by some of the people there, advising people not to turn over
any of their videos, etc, to keep it private.

Warning to anyone who attended this event and took any videos, etc that
caught the accident, don’t listen to those who tell you to keep it private,
the last thing you want to do, is to commit obstruction of justice, a crime
treated very severely by judges, both state and federal. If the authorities
ask you about it, be truthful and honest. This was also ensure that the full
facts come out to the light of day, and that a reckoning can be had for what

This is one of the most horrific events to have happened in recent times, and at
some point there will be answers given. Right now everyone involved is trying to
figure out what happened, and some, such as the group sanctioning this race and
the BLM which allowed it, will soon be in the hot seat looking at the government
officials who will be questioning them under oath, possibly televised. After that, I
am sure, these same officials will be sitting at a table answering questions again,
under oath, in a high stakes event where money and liberty may very well be at

As I said in my original post, this was similar to events back home in the south, where
there was minimal protection for spectators. Being older now and not really following
this sort of thing, I was surprised to discover, per this BAJA RACING website that
this sort of event would not have been allowed back there. I applaud those eastern
states that don’t allow this sort of thing.

If you look at the site, which is totally devoted to Baja racing, desert racing, you can
sense that this race in Johnson Valley was really an accident waiting to happen. There’s
talk that people were standing as close as 5 feet to the racing vehicles, 5 feet in dark
and extremely dusty, murky conditions, no guardrails or even hay bales between them,
it makes me wonder why this tragedy didn’t happen years ago.

You haven’t heard the last of this, folks, that’s my prediction. The BLM, notorious for
caving in to the offroad lobby, is in for a major grilling, and I predict when all the court
trials are over, they are going to be in for some major financial damage. Also look for
news of some retirements and/or firings to occur as well- right away I think.

BLM caving in---- sounds kind of like the way they cave in to every energy developer
out there---- here, they caved in to the offroad lobby, and what did it get them?
The answer will be in the shattered lives of the survivors of the carnage, and the family
members of the ones who did not.

This has to be one of the worst events that I have ever heard of in 56 years on this planet,
and what makes it even more so, is the knowledge that it really didn’t have to happen. This
unreal, “Mad Max” atmosphere of the event, shouldn’t have been allowed then and hope-
fully will not be the “de rigueur” for future events of this type.

I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the families that had members hurt or injured.

Vaya con dios.


Here is a followup to the above post written a day or so later.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Very interesting documentary airing tomorrow on PBS POV.

You can watch the 1 1/2 minute trailer here.

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

You can read the full story here at the New York Times website:

Also check out the work of photographer Murray Fredericks who is the man in the video.

Very interesting, just another facet of the deserts that I find so fascinating.


Mayhem in the Mojave.

I am sure by now that most of you have probably heard about the horrible
accident at an off-road racing event near Lucerne Valley the other night.
A modified Ford Ranger truck flipped over, landing ontop of spectators
and at least 8 people, 1 man in his 30’s and the rest in their 20’s, died on
the spot.

From the news coverage, these events occur at night, to avoid the hot day
time desert sun, and unlike events like the Nascar or Indy races there really
is no protection for the spectators from the vehicles to speak of, although
there are supposed to be signs warning to keep at least 100 feet away. You
add to this the fact that flying trucks and vehicles throw up a huge dust cloud
and you have a prescription for a disaster waiting to happen, and it did.

Growing up in the south, it is a fact of life that there are dirt tracks for oval racing
all over and most usually have hay bales, etc serving as barricades, so this isn’t
just a desert phenomenon. But the danger is always lurking there nonetheless.
Despite that well documented danger, however, people persist in the activity.

I really don’t know how you can regulate this. If the authorities do a major crackdown
the racers will probably move a little farther out into the desert, on a location that
possibly might be in an ACEC or on parkland, etc. Unfortunately, it has been seen
over and over again, damage caused by careless and in some circumstances, intentional
off road vehicles riders. I am referring to an incident near Yucca Valley, I believe,
where folks spent a couple of weekends fixing up an old historic homestead, and the
next weekend, 2 off roaders came and intentionally and deliberately destroyed all
their effort and work.

For sure, a crackdown of major proportions is on the way. No way can the authorities not
respond to 8 young lives snuffed out in such a way. But no matter what form the response
takes, nothing they can do will ever bring back those lives, nor can it undo the irreparable
damage done to those families. Those families will suffer this loss the rest of their days
on this planet.

My position is that there must be more oversight by the authorities. This isn’t some Mad
Max world where anything goes, although it seems that way sometimes. There definitely
has to be some regulation. But these people that go to things like this have to understand
that attending one of these events is like a crap shoot, and you might very well end up
in the wrong place at the right time, and you could be the next one under one of these
vehicles. My advise is to stay as far away from them as you can, if you miss some of the action, at least you got a better chance of staying alive to watch another race. Keep your
kids with you out of the way, or better yet, don’t bring them. They should not have to see such horror at a young age.

I don’t have any answers and I wish this kind of thing didn’t happen. But knowing how
things go in this world, I am sure this won’t be the last such incident we will read about.