Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Draft of my public comment re:Ivanpah SEGS Presiding members Proposed Decision.

Folks, I woke up this morning still undecided how or what to write so I went back up
to the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and did the one way hike down the canyon
and hitch hiked back uphill to my car. I could barely walk once I got out of the kind
stranger’s suv and I made my way to the preserve’s cottonwood tree shaded parking
lot. But my mind was working and I had my outline in my mind as I walked up. I will of
course email this and get a hard copy printed out tomorrow to ship off to the CEC just
in time to make the deadline.

Begin draft comments:
September 1, 2010

California Energy Commission
Attention: Presiding member, Mr. Jeffrey Byron

Re: Docket No. 07-AFC-5
      Ivanpah SEGS Proposed final decision

Mr. Byron,

Sir, I am writing you as a concerned California resident, in hopes of persuading you
to delay your approval decision for this project, or to rescind it entirely, forcing
BrightSource Energy to find a different location for their plant.

I understand the need to have renewable energy added to the state’s portfolio. What
I don’t get is why does this project have to be sited on such a picturesque and environmentally sensitive location, the Ivanpah Valley, which your own documents
admit will contribute to the development and industrialization of it in the future.

Others speak and write with far more eloquence than I possess, some are so well
versed with the facts of this matter, why they seem to this old country boy that they
are walking encyclopedias! However, if I may, I would like to point out a couple of things for your consideration.

As you are aware the Conservation Biology Institute just made available for public
comment, their 108 page DRECP Report, drawn up for the REAT of which your
commission is a member. They mention the following in several locations but I will
just refer to the page 4 instance found in section 1.1 Introduction, Philosophy and
”We therefore strongly advocate using no regrets strategies in the near term- such
as siting developments only in already disturbed areas
- as more refined analyses
become available to guide more difficult decisions.”

I would like to point out that the site selected for the Ivanpah SEGS project is sited
on publicly owned, desert land that is home to several endangered plant and animal
species, and is very environmentally sensitive. I would also like to acquaint you with
a fact- this site which I hiked extensively in March of this year, was cleaner by far,
as far as any litter, tire marks etc than it’s neighbor, the Mojave National Preserve,
in particular the roadside from Cima down to where that road deadends into the Ivanpah road I believe. I was amazed when I walked it.

Also secondly, the 36 desert tortoises found in the survey, which I consider an extremely low number, when you consider the high quality of the habitat and the food
sources available- in effect will be condemned to death by your decision, no exaggeration, no brag, just fact. See the results of the Fort Irwin translocation
debacle for all the proof you need to see that I am right. 49% death rate within months of the translocation, and over 11% just this year, so far. Sir, no matter
how you mitigate this, you are talking “tortouside” pure and simple. Your decision
for approval equates to a “death warrant for the tortoises” with no chance of appeal
and no chance of a reprieve. I and many of my friends and colleagues believe this
just as surely as we believe that the sun will rise in the morning. Again, so that there
can be no doubt, these imminent desert tortoise’s deaths will be on your head,
not on ours.

I propose that if you still go ahead and over-ride these and other environmental “facts
on the ground”- that at the minimum, with proper and stringent safeguards in place, that the plant operator be required to house them in the proper location, to cherish
,until they die a normal and natural death, after living a normal life after they
have been removed from their current homes, not to be cooped up in zoo like conditions, but in a natural home, thus minimizing the chances of their imminent demise.

If BrightSource Energy complains, you might point out to them, that their federal ARRA
LOAN GUARANTEE is for 1.37 billion dollars or there about, and their estimate for
construction costs is about 1.1 billion dollars, there is obvious room here to pay for this.

By doing mitigation like this, it will send a strong signal to those who site this plants
on valuable species habitat instead of using a commonsense approach such as proposed by the scientists in the DRECP, that your agency and staff, including the
commission members, feel so strongly about protection of the species, that mitigation
efforts truly will conform to the letter and spirit of the laws that they and you are
operating under. In this case, that the endangered desert tortoises and others have
value and must be protected.

Sir, I am only a small time bus driver and blogger, but I have loved this area for decades. I really don’t want to see it developed at all. But I know that my wishes, as
well as those of friends, relatives and colleagues probably aren’t as important in the
grand scheme of things. Still though, I am asking that you reconsider or delay your
proposed decision, to allow more time for reflection about the DRECP and other matters relating to this most important, and permanent decision affecting the beautiful
valley that many people love.

Thank you for considering my comments.

With best regards,
William C. Mcdonald

Okay folks, that’s all for today. I sure hope that some of you have heeded my and others’
requests that you also get involved with this fight of all fights, this most noble fight to save
the Ivanpah Valley and the Mojave Desert from its’ impending fate, an area that has seen
a lot in its’ history but never faced a juggernaut such as what is heading its’ way right now
as I type these words.

If you help, you really are helping yourself, this wilderness belongs to you as well, right
now maybe you are only experiencing it virtually on my site or on the other sites out there
on the net, but one day you may visit here and get to experience first hand what I and others like me have been saying all along- that this place, this site proposed, this site that
your host has personally walked on and video’d and photographed and written about
ceaselessly, this area which is capable of providing moments so sublime, so wonderful,
is about to be bladed over.

Ivanpah needs your help, please will you consider sending an email tonight or tomorrow?
Please help.

Thank you and here is a photograph posted before, taken by me long before I ever heard
of this train wreck coming. Please look at this, will it make this world or this nation a
better place if we send in the earthmovers and the bulldozers, wiping this beauty from the
face of the earth?
archivecd18 095

Ivanpah could sure use some kind, caring souls about now.


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