Monday, October 25, 2010

A big day for the Mojave tomorrow, and a heartfelt thanks to Basin and Range Watch.

Some of you know where I am going with this, just bear with me.

Those of you who are new to the backporch have probably figured out
that this blog is mainly devoted to coverage of the Mojave desert. We
have been following with interest, as the renewable energy industry has
made big plans to cover the desert with mirrors, giant wind turbines, and
new transmission lines.

Most of the coverage here has been on the fight to save the Ivanpah Valley
from this fate, and tomorrow is a critical, make that, the critical day in this
struggle. The California Energy Commission and the Department of the
Interior Bureau of Land Management have approved this BrightSource Energy
Ivanpah SEGS project.

They have been joined by the noted “carbonmentalist” groups- the Sierra Club
and the Natural Resources Defense Council, who have given tacit approval by
virtue of not fighting this project to the bitter end. Never mind the fact that it is
one of the last full, complete, and functioning ecosystems in California, and is full
of life, including many endangered species.

Tomorrow there will be a hearing on the petition from Basin and Range Watch
for the CEC to reconsider its’ approval of this project and also to have the
report from USFWS of October 1st, regarding the tortoise issue to be added to
the official record.

This is an extremely important hearing. As some have long noted, including this
blogger, the CEC, BLM, and DOI have responded with alacrity to each and every
request by the industrialists and given the shortest of shrift’s, to our side, or at
least it looks that way to me- results speak for themselves. This represents the
first time that the power structure has been called, on a matter of substance, in
a way that will be part of the official record and subject later on to review by judicial
and legislative authorities.

At every step of the way, it has been an undignified rush, rush process. We have to
fast track this, can’t let those pesky environmentalists gum up the works, this is too
important, why I am surprised that they haven’t brought out that hoary old canard-
it’s a national security matter!” Nothing is beyond the pale for these folks, that’s
for sure.

All along, people from our side have been saying, what’s the rush, let’s take our time
and do it right. But nothing has managed to slow the speed of this impending train
wreck- until now that is.

Nothing has worked until now, and who knows if anything will, considering the marsupial
nature of this “approval process.” But thank God for our friends over at Basin and Range
Watch for keeping their eye on the ball, and spotting this egregious error by the CEC
and the DOIBLM. I know them well enough to know that they have forgotten more about
this issue than most of us will ever know, and also that they are like bulldogs and will
keep fighting to keep the deserts wild and free, for all of us.

I salute the fine folks at Basin and Range Watch, I wish you good luck and godspeed
tomorrow, no matter what people may say, you have stayed true to your beliefs and
kept up the fight, even though the odds are long and the rewards few.

Thank you,



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