Monday, November 1, 2010

Could the California voter initiative process be the way to save our deserts and wilderness from energy development?

Or something similar but drafted in a way certain to pass constitutionality tests in the

Remember I am a bus driver and not a lawyer.

Here is a rough draft, it should be short and to the point, and unequivocal in its’ message:

It is the will of the California voters that in order to forestall the effects
of global warming and climate change that forthwith, and without any
delay or obfuscation, and in order to obtain renewable energy for its’ portfolio,
that the first priority will be developing distributed solar power through existing
rooftops, both commercial and residential.

In conjunction with this, any further large scale solar and wind projects,
shall be built out first close in to the endusers, and must be built on used,
disturbed, degraded land as defined by applicable codes and laws. This
can be accomplished by following the DRECP Report recommendations on
file with the California Energy Commission.

Any added transmission lines or capacity shall be planned with a meticulous
following of the DRECP Report, in both letter and in spirit.

Further, it is the will of the people that further renewable energy development will
not be allowed on any public land, that results in damage or danger to any
plant or animal on the state or federal endangered species lists, or is considered
sacred to native americans and others. Projects that are in development will
be reconsidered on a case by case basis, and subject to a revocation of licensing
from the California Energy Commission.

It is the will of the people and it is their judgment that pristine wilderness habitat
and spaces are a priceless natural treasure belonging to all Californians and will
be protected without concern to cost into perpetuity, so say the people on this
day, November 2, 2010.
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Speaking for myself, they wouldn’t have to pay me to stand out somewhere to ask folks if
they’d be willing to sign the petition.

I am sure that there are folks out there who can write something much better than this, maybe adding
language about jobs being created in rooftop solar, etc.etc. Again this is a first effort, a rough draft.

What do you folks out there think? Would it have a chance on the ballot? Would you be willing to
go stand out in front of a supermarket and ask for signatures?

My analysis of the situation facing the desert goes like this:
As currently constituted, the permitting and approval process is rigged in favor of the energy promoters;
no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Some of the major environmental groups are working in conjunction with folks in the above sentence,
in my humble opinion which is why they are standing pat on the sidelines. And there is no time for grass-
roots activists to try to change the leadership and effect any meaningful change in their strategies.
The political leadership class at all levels from Senate Majority leader to governor to individual commission
members at the CEC seem to have their minds made up and the desert must and will be sacrificed
by them. Again based on my observations of the process, this is a no brainer conclusion. So the
system won’t be changed, no matter what levers can be pulled, if we work by the systems rules.

This is why I think a return to the initiative process as it was originally intended, citizens forcing change
onto the California government directly and in the process bringing honesty and integrity and trust back
to the government as well as taking direct responsibility for it, may be the answer to our problem.

I know for a fact that some powerful and politically connected and savvy folks read
this little blog. I have posted the proof on these pages a couple of times. All we need
is one or two sophisticated and knowledgeable people to take an interest in this idea.
It won’t solve the Ivanpah or Blythe or Newberry Springs project already approved but
it might stop the freight train headlong rush down the tracks barreling straight for the
Mojave and other wild areas, if the process is started soon. The sooner a framework
is in place, the sooner stories can be planted with friendly bloggers, journalists etc
to begin getting the people to come around to our point of view. The journey to the
bottom of the Grand Canyon starts with a first step down off the rim. So shall the

Okay folks, think about this idea posted here today. Please forward it to people you know. Any and all
ideas you may have or contacts etc, all are of value. Feel free to comment here on the post page, I
don’t moderate comments unless they are for posts older than a couple of weeks, although I won’t
hesitate to remove any profane comments. If you don’t feel comfortable commenting in public, feel
free to shoot me out an email.

I have had some tell me that perhaps my audience really doesn’t give a damn about the desert or
wilderness, hence not too many comments,etc. I don’t believe it. My readership numbers have been
there despite how many posts about this subject, 60 or so out of almost 250?

I believe most of my readers do care about this subject, and I hope you will help out here with the
benefit of your ideas and your goodwill.

Think about it, will you?


P.s. I have had a couple of commenters to my blog who seem to understand the
process here much better than I. Not to call anyone out, I think you know who you
are, would you give me the benefit of your thoughts on this matter via further
comments, or perhaps a private email if you prefer? Again, this is just an idea and
it’s being thrown out there like seeds looking for fertile ground….


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