Friday, August 13, 2010

The real difference between Ivanpah SEGS and the Mojave National Preserve is a line on a map.

Thanks to that accident of geography and history, one will be paved over with
over a hundred thousand heliostat mirrors, and the other will continue safe into
perpetuity. One will live and one will die, it’s really that simple.

Folks, I am no scientist, no botanist, but I know a little about both and some history.
I am no great writer, but hopefully my faults won’t stop you from seeing a little of the
big picture here and the tragedy that is about to happen.

John Woolard, ceo of BrightSource Energy, rightfully pointed out in a video here on
this site, that the fact this area was used for cattle grazing, this was one of the reasons
for siting the plant here, as it had been degraded. I may be paraphrasing but that is
the correct interpretation of his remarks as I understand them.

For your information, the Mojave National Preserve was home to the O X Cattle Company
and other ranch outfits for over a hundred years, are we  going to mirror over it as well?
The National Park Service has gradually bought out most of the ranchers and the land
is recovering nicely.

The Ivanpah SEGS site is home to rare and endangered species such as the desert tortoise and some plants that are extremely rare including one found no where else if
memory serves me correctly. The Mojave National Preserve boasts of the same, are we
going to put a hundred thousand mirrors there where they are located?

Major power transmission lines run near the Ivanpah SEGS site. Several transmission lines
and a railroad run through the Mojave National Preserve, should we mirror over the preserve? I mean we have the transportation part covered and transmission lines already
in, why not mirror over the whole valley?

The reason that we don’t is because the Congress, in particular Senator Diane Feinstein, and notably without the help of Rep. Jerry Lewis in whose district the park lies, decided that this was an area of such scenic and natural beauty, with rare species that should be saved, this area should be afforded national park status, with the proviso that
certain activities that have occurred here historically would continue, which is why we have
mining still going on in places, and hunting still being allowed.
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In other words, the only difference between these two beautiful and scenic areas
is a line on a map.

Calling Senator Feinstein. Senator you would make a lot of people happy in the
grassroots environmental community and a whole lot of just regular hard working
folks happy, if you would, in your proposed desert protection bill now working
its’ way through the Congress, revisit the MNP boundaries and just move that
line down about 3 miles or so, on the Clark Mountain side, and up, I don’t know
4 miles or so up in the Nipton area. By doing this you would also save what is
truly one of the “jewels of the Mojave.”
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Thanks for the consideration of this request, Senator Feinstein. And thank you so very
much for all that you have done on behalf of the Mojave Desert and other wild and scenic

Folks, we are at a crossroads here, a fork in the road, one way goes the way of nature and
allows others to enjoy what we now have, into the future. The other way is the way of
industrialization, and inevitable fragmentation and pollution of it. Which way do we as
a society go? How will we be remembered? For leaving a vibrant, full of life, scenic and beautiful area, or leaving several square miles of scraped over, totally barren and sterile
dirt once the life of the project is over in just a few decades. Definitely something to ponder
as we start one of the last weekends remaining for the still, unmolested Ivanpah Valley.

Vaya con dios, my friends.


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