Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Governator is a lost cause, maybe the desert will have a friend in the next one.

I make it a habit to cruise various mailing lists for “green causes” as well as some
of the “green blogs” in the main stream media, as well as those belonging to the
renewable energy proponents.

One thing I often see(and amazingly this late in the process of the desert’s transformation)
are comments taking up for the governator such as he hasn’t walked a site or he
hasn’t been educated in the facts, you know excuses being made on his behalf
for his ignorance.

Let me tell you, in advance, I won’t be taking up for him in this post.
In my humble opinion, Arnold will go down in California history as one of the worst
governor’s on environmental issues in our history, if not the worst. In addition to the
hatchet job on the deserts, he also put the screws to our water resources and the fish.
That’s why in this post, I went ballistic on his highness and bobby kennedy,jr.
Warning there may be graphic language  and photos in the above
link.

A couple of days ago at the groundbreaking “ceremony”, he showed his true colors.
As he looked over his domain, the soon to be destroyed Ivanpah Valley, he made this
comment and I quote,”Some people look out into the desert and see miles
and miles of emptiness. I see miles and miles of gold mine
.” That, by the
way, seems the exact vibe emanating from the CEC, DOI, and the BLM, as well as most
other agencies involved in this whole sordid affair.

Speaking only for myself, I would love to hear the next governor proclaim, that he or she feels
that miles and miles of emptiness are just what is needed for California and the wilderness
needs to be saved for future generations.

I won’t hold my breath.

The attitude of the governator, that the desert is a goldmine to be mined, seems to have
percolated through the ranks of the state’s agencies such as the CEC from top to bottom.
The only way this will change will be a new governor cleaning house and sweeping out
the current commission members. This throughout the history of this nation has been the
normal order of business with most new administrations, hopefully we’ll have someone a
little more desert friendly occupying the office the next few years.

Recently I posted the link to former governor Jerry Brown’s visit to Peterson- Dean, a roofing
and solar concern. That was a signal to me, that he at least is open to the idea of rooftop
solar or distributed power generation. We have millions of rooftops just waiting to be installed
with solar panels and solar hot water, if we can just get a friendly person sitting in the governor’s
chair.

Folks, I have been hard on the governator, I believe with good reason. But don’t get me wrong,
I probably would get along well with him as a person,I don’t really dislike the man, I just can’t stand
some of his policies and attitudes.

On a personal note, I am taking the next 4 days off and plan to get some desert time in. I may not
be able to make it up to the Mojave National Preserve, that is 4 1/2 hours one way to drive, but I
definitely will be driving up to Morongo Valley in the morning to do a hike in the Big Morongo
Canyon Nature Preserve, and I hope to be able to check out the Mission Creek Preserve, which
is part of the Wildlands Conservancy’s properties. I’d like to also go to their Whitewater Preserve
also, but that may be a little much for one day. I’ll have some photos and a trip report up soon once
I make the trip and get some computer time.

Hope to see you again out on the backporch.

Morongobill

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Some of us are heartsick over this Ivanpah situation. This article illustrates why. Please read.

It has been suggested to me by friends and relatives that maybe I am beating a dead horse,
going on and on about this Ivanpah project.

Heck, I have even thought it myself a time or two even.

But, as a favor to me and for yourself, will you go read this article?

I promise you won’t regret reading it, although like me you may get tears in your eyes thinking
about what might have been. In my case, why did I wait until January of this year to decide to
start blogging? Why didn’t I know about all these projects earlier?

My only excuse and it’s a poor one was that I was just hung up on getting by day to day.

All those coffee shop discussions about politics or life in general- many times I have turned
strangers on to the Mojave National Preserve and the Mojave Desert, as a place to visit on
their way to Las Vegas, never once realizing the danger the place was in.
archivecd18 102

So yes, my guilt may be what is driving me, if I may do some self analysis.

After looking over the article, do you see why some of us are really heartsick right now?

Morongobill

 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Of hubris, betrayal, a crucifixion and blowback to come of biblical proportions.

The sun is about to rise on another day at Ivanpah, a sunrise unlike any other in its’ history.
For in the past, it may have have shined down on a valley that hosted man and his works,
such as a mining effort on a hill, or cattle ranging far and wide with the holding pens, etc-
today begins the new era in Ivanpah where an arrogant hominid species is determined to
remake the valley to suit his need for, make that his lust for never ending power to fuel his
never ending avarice. Being unable to control his impulses, and unwilling to change his behavior,
too lazy to turn off a light switch, or to shut off the big screen, his response to his perceived need
is to industrialize more wilderness. They used to call this as it applied to this country, “manifest
destiny.”
Technically not the correct dictionary definition, but appropriate for this post I believe.

The first advance scout units of the mechanized armored division employed by Bechtel BrightSource et al
arrived yesterday to be met by a small, intrepid partisan band of desert activists, but of course they were
brushed aside by the monstrous mechanical behemoths, as to be expected. I honor their courage, if I
had been aware such an event was going to happen, I would have driven up on the morongomobile
and participated, but, alas, no notice was given. The assorted “dignitaries” present for the celebration
were probably not even aware of the heroic bands presence at the scene of the soon to be unfolding
ecosystem catastrophe.

No, they were there to celebrate their impending wealth and good fortune, not to mourn the supine, defenseless, and guiltless Ivanpah valley, about to be ravaged shamelessly for profit and fun, by the
rabble about to be brought in for that purpose. Shouts of joy and cheers for their entitled good fortune
were heard over the roar of the bulldozers, as the assembled “dignitaries” took shovels in hand to turn
over a small spadeful of the precious Ivanpah soil, which had hosted life of all kinds for millions of years.
Some may have noted in the crowd that perhaps this was the first “real” work that these “dignitaries” had
done in their whole lives, an opinion which might or might not be shared by this blogger.

Once the ceremony was over, and after all the disgraceful self promotion and self congratulations were
completed, the crowd began dispersing and reality and the dust began to settle in. The raping of the Mojave
Desert, as reported here yesterday, has begun in earnest.

It’s not too early, and contrary to some opinions I have seen expressed in some quarters, it is totally
necessary to affix the blame and responsibility for this environmental disaster and debacle, square upon
the shoulders of the ones whose arrogance and hubris knowing no bounds, took it upon themselves to
try to stop this climate change phenomenon by making the Mojave and other deserts the first sacrificial
lambs. This they did by advocating for this destruction while holding positions of high responsibility in
the so-called environmental movement, a movement deprived of its’ very soul by its’ shameless
and headlong acceptance of corporate cash and perks, and by virtue of their positions of power in the
renewable energy siting and planning process, i.e. being on the RETI Steering Committee, among others,
in positions of real power and influence over the process, where unbeknownst to the grassroots
activists, the heart and soul of the movement, they sold the desert down the river, I am sure,
for the biblical thirty pieces of silver. Maybe they didn’t get paper sacks full of money, nobody
is saying that, but what the hell do you call it, when you leave one carbonmentalist group one
step ahead of the mob, and end up at another carbonmentalist group with what I am sure is
generous compensation, and working side by side with your fellow traveller who was with
you on the steering committee? It reeks of dishonesty, arrogance, hubris and is enough in
this blogger’s opinion to damn the names of those involved forever, which roughly equates
to the damage the Mojave and other wild places are about to endure. Yes, from a human lifetime
perspective, the damage will last forever.

The Mojave and we regular people didn’t deserve this betrayal and neither did the rank and file members
of the groups these quislings belonged to. These actions by these “well meaning” individuals, in my opinion,
have demoralized their base and completely emboldened the ranks of the industrialists, politicians,
and others of their type. Already they are crowing in the newspapers about how many jobs these
projects slated for the desert will bring. And this is just the first day of news coverage! Just wait until
the spin experts at Goldman Sachs, etc get on the bandwagon.

Yes, we are all witnesses to this modern day crucifixion of an intact ecosystem which has survived
millions of years, and now must be sacrificed at the altar of mammon. We have seen the modern day
Judas Iscariot’s, now we have to witness the agony. Unfortunately, we will not be around long enough to one day perhaps observe the resurrection, in this case, an event that probably will never occur.

As Chalmers Johnson observed in a famous book he wrote, there is always blowback, unintended
consequences sometimes occur after events are set in motion. I am convinced, and I believe others
are as well, that this Ivanpah valley, followed by the Blythe and Barstow projects, then the many
others planned, mark the beginning of the end for the deserts as we know them to be. Perhaps we
will have to learn a new definition of what a desert will be like in the future. As many observers, way
more knowledgeable than myself, have pointed out over and over, this inevitable industrialization will
inexorably lead to habitat fragmentation for both plant and animal species, and no amount of so-called
mitigation is going to bring it back. The desert as we know it, a wild and forbidding place, but
with such beauty and majesty at times to be heartbreaking, is over. We just don’t know it yet.
It’ll sink in, given time and as more and more heliostats go up, even the most diehard skeptics
will be able to see the obvious.

The effect on the human spirit while not as obvious, nonetheless will be felt by many as these tragic
events will play out over time. Wilderness, while not for everyone, is a requirement for everyone. You
unbelievers will know that one day, when your spirits are down and there is no place to go to get
away and just ponder life and your situation. I know this is hard to understand, but your problems at home
don’t seem quite as bad, when you are hiking out in the wilderness.

I don’t know just how bad the blowback will be, but I stand by my title of this post. I don’t believe that
you can wipe a whole functioning ecosystem off the globe and not have dire consequences. Studies
have been done already which point out how the desert soil helps sequester carbon from the atmosphere,
perhaps as much as a rain forest. But as we know, that was all swept under the rug, pushed aside
so that we can help stop the carbon buildup in the atmosphere.

Now I am starting to get it when I hear some talking of wacko’s. Destroying carbon sequestering soil
banks so that we can stop carbon buildup in the atmosphere- yep, sounds pretty wacky to me.

Events have been set in motion, people and organizations have been exposed for the frauds and
charlatans that they really are, and Wall Street and others are about to make a killing off this raping
of the defenseless Mojave. I hope, like Midas, they choke on it.

And that’s the way I see it out on the backporch.

Morongobill

 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Read ‘em and weep. The raping of the Mojave begins in earnest!

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brightsource-energy-breaks-ground-on-ivanpah-solar-electric-generating-system-2010-10-27?reflink=MW_news_stmp

BrightSource's Ivanpah solar project breaks ground

Calif. Gov. Schwarzenegger Celebrates First-of-Its-Kind Renewable Energy Facility Groundbreaking

In California’s Mojave Desert,Solar-Thermal Projects Take Off

Here’s my comment to the Yale360 piece from my memory:

“Everybody is talking about California taking the lead in renewable energy, but no one
is talking about our taking the lead in destroying a functioning wilderness ecosystem”, or words
to that effect.
ivanpahfieldtrip 005

I noted with interest that a group called Desert Survivors was at the site protesting today. I keep
my ear to the ground and that was the first I heard of any planned protest action, of course I haven’t
surfed over to their site for a few months.

Perhaps if the word had gone out, maybe a few more people might have showed up, not that it
would matter to the Governator, the new sheriff in town Kennie Salazar, the BrightSource Energy high
muckedymucks, adnauseum.

As far as I am concerned, it sure as hell ain’t a day to celebrate a damn thing.

Morongobill

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If wanting to save the Mojave means I am a shill; then I am and PROUD of it.

Ever notice in an argument or a debate, the easiest way to shut someone
up is to throw out an epithet that stops them in their tracks and instantly
they start defending themselves? A perfect example was the republicans
labeling Dukakis a liberal, his campaign took weeks of pounding due to
their fighting or running from the label, polls dropping,etc--- it only turned
around near the end when he finally and proudly accepted what he was,
something he should have done the first time he was called the dreaded
L word. Who knows maybe by admitting the truth, and embracing it, he might
have won.

What does that have to do with this blogger. In the last few days, I have
been called a shill for big coal, and in the pocket of big oil and gas. Me,
little, old, Morongobill, the blogging bus driver.

Well my old granny did have a pot bellied stove and I used to feed it the
coal when I was little. After I got out of the navy, I did work at 2 or 3 gas
stations where I did everything from pumping gas to fixing tires to washing
cars. However, the last time I checked my bank balances, I didn’t see a
penny from big oil or coal.

But this is all beside the point. It’s time for the Morongobill to come clean,
after all, they say that “confession is good for the soul”.

Yes, as the title says, I am a shill and proud of it. I ask for your pardon for
a few moments as I confess before you pass judgment upon me, your
host.

I shill for the following and there are probably more that I may not remember
right this minute, after all, I am about to be judged and there is quite a bit
of pressure on me at this time. Here goes:

mojave ground squirrel
desert tortoise
nelson big horn sheep
gila monster
fringe toed lizards and lizards in general
any creosote bush or ring
all the assortment of cacti and other succulents(sounds so lascivious ;-))
the wild Mojave and other deserts about to be raped by big solar and wind
the Mojave National Preserve
the Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve
the Wildlands Conservancy
the Stop Green Path organization and all the citizens of Morongo Valley who
united managed to save Big Morongo from the fate our deserts are about to suffer.
for my friends at Coyote Crossing and the Mojave Desert Blog and Basin and Range
Watch, who helped this rube try out the blogging business. I thank you Chris, Shaun,
Laura, and Kevin for helping me and for what each of you so tirelessly have done for
the Mojave.
for my good friend Lee Murray over at the Ruminate, Cogitate, Contemplate, and Meditate site for his
sage advice and help with my writing issues.
for all the bloggers and others who have commented on this site.
for those environmental groups that haven’t forgotten that it is about saving the
wild places and wildernesses, not just counting carbon in a spreadsheet.

You know folks, life just isn’t about how much dough you make, or how your newest
quad runs out in Johnson Valley, or that promotion at work- there’s other things as
well. One thing I have learned in 56 years on the planet is that humans, if left unchecked,
will remake every square foot of this earth. We will cover it with houses, and roads, and
yes, solar mirrors and wind turbines and giant electrical power lines. Absolutely. We
will turn nature into a giant parking lot, I am sure of it.

I would like to tell you what I and my little brothers used to do when we were kids and
lived out on an old farm estate way out in the country. We used to go exploring in
the woods, I remember we tried to make a little dam one time and block a trickling stream.
There were no people around, I think it was a perfect place for boys to grow up, in the
country. Maybe that’s why to this day, I love the country which out here in California
is the desert for me. There is something wonderful about looking out for tens of miles to
the horizon, overlooking mountains, basins, dry lake beds, the washes and dry seasonal
stream beds, the cholla gardens—you get my drift.

Philosophers and religious leaders and sages and prophets all have something in common,
in that most went “out in the wilderness” to ponder and think. Nowadays in this increasingly
”twittered” and harried and stressful world, it is hard to imagine that a place with no cell
phone coverage or internet access even exists. Let me be the first to tell you that
such a place does exist, and you can easily find it by heading out to the Mojave
.

You know one thing that inspired me to start this blog was when I came across “Creek
running north” by Chris Clarke, who has since started the Coyote Crossing blog. I was
interested in the Cima Dome area of the Mojave National Preserve, I googled the term
and his blog came up. I voraciously read every article with the subject on that site, but I am sure I missed a few. His writing is so descriptive, I swear you can smell the smoke of a
campfire as you read it. If only I could write such prose, but we all have our limitations
it seems. The point being that wilderness exists currently, and in my opinion, is a sure
cure for what ails our society, we need more wilderness, to preserve more of it, and
the way to do it, is to get people to venture out and experience it. Leave your iPhone
in the car, and get out and walk!

So it seems inadvertently I overlooked another thing I am shilling for, wilderness.

You are damned right, I am proud to be a shill for things I believe in, proud to say that
I love something, and will do what I can to help out in its’ preservation.

If some readers have a problem with this, so be it. You can call me a shill all you want,
I don’t care.

Now go out and look for a wilderness, sit down under a tree or a bush, and think some
great thoughts, such as how you can help save it.

Morongobill, proud to be a shill for those without a voice.


 

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,

Morongobill

 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Remember all the talk that giant solar plants are the way to go since rooftop solar is so expensive? LA TIMES says pv solar is cheaper!

ScreenHunter_09 Oct. 24 12.20

Did you see that? Let me repeat it in case you missed it. “Analysts said that without the government support, the solar thermal industry might struggle against cheaper technologies such as photovoltaics.” This is from a news reporter with the Los Angeles
Times,  a news paper that has received the Pulitzer Prize and many other awards more
times than Doan has back pills. Read the whole article here.

So let me make sure I get this, the government, the scientists, the “carbonmentalists groups” such as the Sierra Club, NRDC, et al, the concentrated solar industry especially
the B.S.E.’er’s and Tessera- all have said rooftop pv solar is way too expensive and
way too slow, in order to stop the dreaded global warning and climate change.
But now, inadvertently we find out that all along it was a sham, it was the BIG LIE told
over and over again until people believed it.
Of course, the big solar industry and
their proponents and shills can be forgiven for at the last minute, taking their eye off the
ball, and finally letting the truth out. By the way, so there is no misunderstanding,
the lie I am referring to is that pv is more expensive than concentrated solar, got it?

Do you folks remember a couple of years ago when oil ran up to $147 a barrel? Remember
those talking heads on the business news shows, regular news, the print media, and the net? All of them blaming supply and demand or tossing out that old canard, “peak oil.”
Then all of a sudden, the price went back down and still hasn’t recovered. After the smoke
cleared(and the huge profits were made) people started talking about a new electronic trading market for commodities that may have been involved, and the absolute gargantuan sums that hedge funds and others put into oil futures- remember? It was the same old Wall
Street two step, and when the music stopped, we got caught without a chair. Same thing
this time, gotta stop global warming, gotta get big solar built because it’s cheaper than photovoltaic, the politicians and their ilk as well as the general public bit, and now we are screwed, make that the Mojave Desert is about to get screwed. This time those paragons of virtue and benevolence, the public utilities came out smelling like a rose, they get concentrated solar which fits perfectly with their top down business model, taxpayers and others fund the scheme to build the power plants, and the costs for the new transmission infrastructure they can pass on to the rate payers. What a great deal for SCE and PG&E
and by inference to the other public utility companies nationwide who will watch and learn.

Folks, I am telling you that as sure as one day there will be a judgment, we the little
guys are forever to be laboring under this rotten, corrupt system of power delivery- forever, as now the utilities with help from the government, business, and yes, the carbonmentalist groups, HAVE FIGURED OUT HOW TO METER THE
SUN AND WIND.

We are truly screwed, unless you go back up to the top of the page and re-read that sentence. Pv is cheaper. Pv is cheaper. Pv is cheaper. Pv is cheaper. You got that?

Understand that it is cheaper, and that is without the government coming in with a loan
guarantee like the big concentrated solar companies are receiving. And my browser is chock full of links to stories showing new advances reducing the price of pv, daily. I can’t
keep up with all the news, there is so much.

So the alternative will have to be local produced power, home generated, the thing the
utility companies obviously fear the most. I think now is a good time to re-show a video of one of my true internet heroes talking about his home setup. I know most of you have seen this but the newbie, first time backporch visitors- you gotta watch this video, it’s that good:

Mr. Thompson knows intimately how much power his system puts out at any given time
and therefore how much power he can use. He has to consume within the limits of how
much power is available. There is a lesson there for the rest of us, if we can only open
our minds. The beautiful thing is by consuming less we get to close our wallets more, it’s
incredible.

Now a little more info for all you backporchians. The article states that construction will
commence October 27th. What is the significance of that date? Any guesses? Those
loyal readers will remember that our friends over at Basin and Range Watch filed a petition on behalf of the tortoises with the CEC, the hearing is on the 26th. Boy, the arrogance of those BrightSource folks, they must think that they have the commissioners in their pocket already, telling the reporter that they start work
on that day. Plus, what does it say about her research, that the petition isn’t even
mentioned in the article.

My opinion, and it’s not worth much, is that the hearing is a very important one, if for no other reason that it exposes the system’s bias, incompetence, and hypocrisy for all to see and gaze on in wonder. Plus it puts on the record, the activist communities concerns with the process, thus putting it on the record for public and possibly
judicial and legislative scrutiny down the line.

Here is another little thing that I have been thinking about recently and have mentioned only to one or two close friends in confidence-------
I believe that 2 lawsuits are about to be filed, one to stop the construction at Blythe, and one to stop the construction at the Tessera Solar One near Newberry
Springs.
Those are the two obvious candidates. Notice I didn’t mention Ivanpah. I am
very sorry but despite my and others heartfelt pleas, I don’t believe there is a green knight
about to ride to the rescue, because I feel this green knight is about to mount up and
ride to do battle with Tessera.
This is only a supposition on my part, no basis in conversations or made with any inside knowledge, just speculation on my part.

Of course, I hope that I am wrong and that legal battles will begin on all three fronts.

Now go forth and start turning off light switches when you leave a room.

Morongobill

Morongobill again folks. I just want to add that part of why I admire Keith Thompson so much was that he just went out and did it. If I ever figure it out, I plan on getting another
homestead out in the desert somewhere, I may even put up a yurt under a cottonwood tree, and I would put in a portable pv system for power. I’m 56 years old and can’t go on forever, it would be nice to have whoever takes over for me to be able to pack everything up, with the land only having been gently used, and take it, or keep living in it
in a similar fashion, knowing that once the show has finally ended, it can be moved off the land and nature can continue, hopefully without any major damage being done.
-mb-2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Wildlands Conservancy, their donors, we taxpayers, and lovers of wilderness are all getting shafted with the approval of the Solar(Tessera)One project!

Just so you won’t think that I am exaggerating, here is a link to a pdf file that can be
downloaded at the California CEC document page website.

A brief history is in order. These lands were acquired from the Catellus Corp., which
was a real estate holding company whose portfolio was land that belonged to railroads.
In the history of the american west, railroads were given 640 acre sections, in a checkerboard pattern, mine,then not mine,etc. Somehow these lands ended up owned
by Catellus, which is what I am concerned with for the sake of this post.

So the Wildlands Conservancy with help from donors and Senator Diane Feinstein upon
others acquired these lands in a big deal for the purpose of conserving them for future
generations to enjoy. Here is an example of how the land currently looks:
solarone 007
Now imagine this very scenic, ecologically diverse desert landscape covered with these
monstrosities:
450suncatchers
The above image was obtained through a Google search and is not copyrighted by me.

Please note that this area, personally hiked by me is extremely quiet once you walk away
from the interstate, just wait though, once this project is built out, the noise from these
Stirling Suncatcher dishes will be overwhelming. I am sure you won’t catch a desert
bighorn sheep going anywhere near this place then. For my trip report go here.

Now let me ask you a question. Do you think TWC would go bother their donors and
government representatives and go through all the rigmarole involved in such a complicated real estate transaction with Catellus, to end up being in the position  of our
native americans, getting shafted by the great white father and having the lands used
for a purpose that is in total opposition to the original intent behind the purchase of the
lands in the first place?

Of course not, that was not the intention and here are excerpts of the documents which
can be seen by clicking on the link at the first paragraph. These are screen shots, and
not copyrighted by me, in case my blogging program tries to make it so.
ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 23 13.34

The above is a section from the Wildlands Conservancy letter to the CEC opposing the
project.
ScreenHunter_02 Oct. 23 13.36

Above is a letter thanking TWC on behalf of all americans from President Bill Clinton.
ScreenHunter_04 Oct. 23 13.40

ScreenHunter_05 Oct. 23 13.41

The above is from then Vice President Al Gore, notice how he lays out the scenic
beauty of this area, an opinion with which this blogger whole heartedly is in
agreement with. After saying this, why would the government later do a 180 degree
turn and stab TWC and their donors and us, right in the back? “Et tu Brut?”
ScreenHunter_06 Oct. 23 13.46

Note who signed the above letter, the contents, and what agency is represented.
Why aren’t a team of lawyers shoving this right up the BLM where the sun doesn’t shine?
ScreenHunter_07 Oct. 23 13.49

I am no lawyer but the donation deed above seems pretty clear to this old blogging
bus driver. But of course, the Lakota Sioux, the Dinee, the Apache, the Seminoles,
and other native peoples have a lot more experience dealing with Uncle Sam in the
past and may have a different view as to what words on paper coming from the United
States government actually will mean in practice.

As far as I am concerned, the actions by the governments involved in this re-writing of
a real estate contract have been reprehensible and in the old days, they might have
been tarred and feathered or worse.

Nowadays though, from this administration, they will probably get an attaboy and a nice
cushy sinecure with one of the noted “carbonmentalist” organizations such as the
Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council.

I wish they’d come pay a visit to the backporch so we could really communicate on the
issue.

I am extending a formal invitation to the BLM, the CEC, the DOI, and various and
sundry government parties involved in this travesty to come on down for an
interview, which will be fair, about as fair as the process they are using to ram
these projects down TWC’s and our throats. I know these groups check in on
this blog from time to time, the CEC just the other day- let’s talk about this.

Again, I welcome the chance to discuss this with the responsible parties.

Thanks for stopping by the backporch.

Morongobill

Friday, October 22, 2010

Folks, please sign the petition to save the desert tortoises.

It’s the new widget on the top left hand side of the blog.

Your privacy will be respected, you won’t be hit up for money, and you have
the intrinsic satisfaction of knowing that you took a step toward helping save
the tortoises, possibly even Senor Tortuga who was pretty worried when I
caught up with him all those months ago at Ivanpah.

I know for a fact that Senor Tortuga would approve of you signing the petition ;-)

Thank you,

Morongobill

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Putting the “B” into BrightSource.

I have said recently that the BrightSource Energy folks are a worthy and
formidable foe. But I never expected to see a move like they pulled from
their hat on September 21, 2010. You can also read about this coup here.

This appointment of John E. Bryson as board chairman should convince
any remaining doubters out there of BrightSource’s intention to go public,
as well as their shrewdness. And as John Woolard prophetically remarked
in a video on this site, how they always plan long term and move slowly.

A brief summary of Mr. Bryson’s accomplishments might clarify the situation a little.
Retired 2008 from Southern California Edison as chairman. Adviser to KKR,
one of the largest merger and acquisition firms in the world. Board member
on Disney’s and Boeing’s board of directors. Oh and did I mention that in
1970 he co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council, now the
noted “carbonmentalist” firm that employs Ms. Johanna Wald, skewered
regularly here on the backporch and her former Sierra Club sidekick, Carl
Zichella.

You know it is truly fascinating to me how the stars and Jupiter align sometimes.
When I started this blog in January of this year and soon became aware of the
B.S.E’rs, I never dreamed that one day I would write this post. What a lack of
imagination on my part, what a lack of foresight! I won’t quit my day job anytime soon.

Yes, those folks at BrightSource Energy have managed to all along be one step
ahead of us at every turn. With help from contacts in the “carbonmentalist” movement
working on the inside in powerful positions, i.e. on the RETI Steering Committee, to
the Senate Majority leader Harry Reid having a million dollar fundraising at the B.S.E.
headquarters, to no environmentalist group being willing to sue over their Ivanpah
project, to teaming up with Google among others, including retired teachers pension
funds, etc etc- they just seem to always be lucky as hell or maybe even smarter
than the average bear
.

When the rest of us finally, deep down, understand this, maybe then we can come
up with a strategy to contain or stop them.

But it will be a difficult task with Mr. Bryson now as an opponent, one skilled in the ways
of government bureaucracy as well. I neglected to mention that he also served as the
head of the California Public Utilities Commission and the California State Water Resources Control Board. Yep, if we didn’t know before how tough of an opponent
we had in BrightSource, this new hiring should drive the point home.

Morongobill


 

The Las Vegas to Where??? Desert Xpress- typical pay off to the contributors or just plain incompetence? The jury is out on the question.

By now I am sure that you have heard of the latest Mojave Desert boondoggle about
to be laid on us long suffering tax payers, courtesy of Senator Harry (never saw a
boondoggle scheme I couldn’t support) Reid and Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood.
They brought their dog and pony show to Las Vegas the other day and to say people
were scratching their heads trying to understand the route is an understatement.
And people actually wonder why I said Nevadan’s need to vote this guy out?

In a nutshell, they want to use existing U.S. rail technology and assets to build this on
the cheap. The general plan is to try to stay within the Interstate 15 corridor where the
Feebs already own the land and the rights, which they believe will make it easier to build
and to get any approvals. For all the lofty “teacher-in-chief” talk of high speed rail for
America’s future, this is the best they can come up. Sure seems to me that it’s more
about doing something for the big contributors than in really trying to create a high
speed rail network, which by the way, will be 100 miles per hour. Hell, cars are routinely
doing that speed on the freeway now, when Smokey isn’t looking.

But wait, it gets better. I swear you can’t make this stuff up, folks. The Las Vegas to Where??? Desert Xpress goes where? Did I hear someone in the cheap seats say
Victorville? Absolutely right, the Las Vegas to Where??? Desert Xpress goes to Victorville,
not Los Angeles! Yes, you heard right- it won’t be going to Los Angeles!  There
are no plans to ever build this direct from LA to Lost Wages, Nevada. Nada! Zip!

Let me make sure I understand this. Say it’s friday night and I live near downtown LA. I
have to load my family up in the car and fight traffic for at least 3+ hours, that’s LA friday
night rush hour traffic on the world’s largest parking lot, with kids crying and raising cain,
arrive in Victorville say after 8 pm, find a parking spot, board the train, and ride an hour or
so from there to downtown Las Vegas not the Strip where we wanted to go, to downtown where we will have to run the gauntlet of the various thieves, hookers,
dope heads, homeless, and Lord knows who else to either get a taxi, or a bus,etc
to get to our destination, which considering the traffic on the strip, could take an hour or more to get to our hotel…….

Most people would do that once and then tell their friends and family to forget it.
What they would tell the poor rail authorities wouldn’t be printable, I am sure.

Are you finally starting to get it now? Do you see what we are up against out here, those
of us who would like to see the Mojave remain undeveloped. The power structure, at least
in this matter, really has no idea just what the hell they are doing. Here with “high speed rail” or “so called renewable energy” for that matter. What a bunch of jackasses, fools, and
knaves. Idiots!

This boondoggle, the Las Vegas to Where??? Desert Xpress has to get a prize for being
the dumbest project that ever came down the pike. When do you think they propose to build it to LA? Hmmmmm. Exactly, it will never be built to LA, NEVER! They will look into building another 50 miles over to the Antelope Valley to hook up with rail lines
there.

Here is why China is cleaning our clock. For example they are building real high speed rail from Shanghai to Beijing right now, which is scheduled to be in service in the summer of
2011. The 1305 kilometer journey will take about 4 hours. And these are state of the art
real high speed trains capable of zipping along at 329 km/hour or about 204 miles per hour
which is twice as fast as the Las Vegas to Where??? Desert Xpress! At least the
Chinese have the sense to connect 2 major cities- the government capital and the financial capital. Below is a video of one of their high speed trains.

This kind of technology doesn’t come cheap either. They are not trying to do this on the cheap, unlike our friends, Reid and Lahood. Oh no. They are doing it right.

Now contrast the Cal- Nevada Las Vegas to Where??? Desert Xpress with what is planned
in Florida. They will be using the Siemens Valero E trainset for true high speed rail as in
Europe, in places such as Spain. Below is a video taken on the Madrid line, it’s a long
video and you may get tired of watching utility poles zip by.


May I suggest that the elites that are driving this boondoggle go back to the drawing
board, but first pull the plug quickly on this Las Vegas to Where??? Desert Xpress?
Before the real money starts flushing down the toilet?

Morongobill

p.s here is another link about the Florida decision.

 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another must see video—“Solar Gold: Corporate mega solar invades native lands.”

Another excellent video from film maker Robert Lundahl, who also filmed the video
in my previous post. This film is in reference to the geoglyphs out nere Blythe, California
and to soon be bulldozed by Chevron and Solar Millennium. The sites are considered
sacred by the Chemehuevi and Yaqui tribes.

You might recall that a couple of Chemehuevi elders went to the Ivanpah site and climbed
the sacred metamorphic hill. These sites as you will see in the film are considered
especially sacred to the people.

But like everything else in the Mojave, a juggernaut is heading toward these sites and
threaten to level everything in its’ path.

Again, this is a large download and I recommend it only for broadband users.

Folks, please take a moment after you view the film and go
check out this site. Here you will find a whole lot of information about what is about to happen to these sacred sites
and the plan to document the 17,000 sites that are under assault from the solar and renewable energy interests. There
is an opportunity to make a small donation(25$ on up) and get
your name on the credits. I intend to donate the amount of $25
right after I post this via paypal. I hope to see your name also.

Thanks to Chris Clarke over at Coyote Crossing for turning me onto this at his site and to
Mr. Robert Lundahl for bringing his talents to helping out in the fight to save the Mojave.

Solar Gold: Corporate Mega Solar Invades Native Lands from Robert Lundahl on Vimeo.

Sacred Sites, still meaningful to indigenous communities such as the Chemehuevi of Southern California and other tribes, including large earth drawings known as geopglyphs, petroglyphs (rock drawings), and other ancient man made features. These features and the sacred landscapes of which they are a part. are under grave threat in the Mohave Desert.

Thanks for stopping by the backporch and for viewing the video.

And a heartfelt special thank you to those who can contribute in any way to this cause.
Not everyone is in a position to help with money, I more than most, understand that. But
help can come in many forms- forwarding the link to a friend or relative, talking to people,
praying for guidance, there are many ways to help and we appreciate it and really need it.

Thank you,

Morongobill

Prominent desert biologist explains Ivanpah consequences in this video. Title: “Shocking projection of mass extinctions in the Mojave Desert: Impact of large solar development on desert ecosystems”

This film was indirectly discovered through the Coyote Crossing website, where they have
a video which includes portions of this interview mixed with coverage of the Ivanpah Spirit Run. That video can be seen here.

This video is the raw, unedited interview with Jim Andre who runs the (Sweeney)Granite
Mountains Desert Research Center inside the Mojave National Preserve. He is well known
as an expert on all things biological for the Mojave Desert area. It was made by noted film
maker, Robert Lundahl.

Shocking projection of mass extinctions in the Mohave Desert: Impact of large solar development on desert ecosystems from Robert Lundahl on Vimeo.

Raw unedited interview with ecologist Jim Andre, Director, Granite Mountains Desert Research Center at University of California, on the dangers posed to the Mohave Desert ecosystem from Large Solar Development. Focusing on the Ivanpah Valley. ©2010 Robert Lundahl, Freshwater Bay Pictures, LLC.

Sorry folks but only view this with a broadband connection, not with dialup. I believe this
is a 40 meg file.

If you really would like to understand what I and others have been talking about all these
months(in my case) and years for some, watch this video. It’s that important.

Morongobill

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Seems to me that I have been derelict in my duties…..

The duty to inform you of the very latest in the battle to save Ivanpah and
other wild places- from Salazar, Obama, the Governator, the CEC, the BLM,
as well as the BrightSources and Tessera’s of the world.

I apologize for the oversight.

As reported here by Shaun at the Mojave Desert Blog. Basin and Range Watch
filed a petition with the CEC regarding the tortoise situation there at Ivanpah, a
petition which has led to a hearing on October 26th I believe. You can read the
details at Shaun’s site in the above link, my take is that the CEC must be worried
or why have a hearing?

As some of us have long suspected, make that known, this rushed, fast tracking of
these projects has now been exposed for the farce that we knew it was. The proof
and yes it involves the desert tortoise, a federally endangered species, can again
be found at Shaun’s site here. He asks how many tortoises are actually at the
Ivanpah site, well guess what- in just a few days, remember they just started with the 100 or so “biologists”- they have already found 12, basically just marking the boundaries,
the estimate given to us was there were only 32 on the whole multi- square mile site.
You can bet your sweet bippy, if they’ve found that many on the margins…….

CEC staff to the Members of the commission- “Sacramento, we have a problem!”

Yes indeed they have a problem. It should be patently obvious even to the numbskulls
running the main “carbonmentalists groups i.e the Sierra Club, the NRDC, among others,
that this cursory attempt at compliance with the NEPA laws, that it was all a farce, all
bullshit- either they need to stop the project in its’ tracks and start over, or they should
be forced to by a federal judge to do so. PERIOD.

Of course it remains to be seen if there are any groups out there, unbeholden to the
corporate donors, that are not latched tightly onto the corporate hind teat, that have the
vision, courage, and yes, even the desire to step in and help save the Mojave and other wild places.

For sure, you can forget the Sierra Club as this memo from their top leadership, posted
by Chris over at Coyote Crossing, makes abundantly clear. They missed the boat letting
Glen Canyon Dam go through without protest, now Ivanpah. As far as I am concerned
any SC members reading this, in my opinion it may be time to move on.

Just in case I put in the wrong link here is the text of the memo below:
-----------BEGIN MEMO FROM THE SIERRA CLUB-----------you can’t make this stuff up-blogger’s note

Memo on Ivanpah from Robin Mann and Michael Brune

No one said that clean energy would be easy.

After much deliberation, the Board of Directors made a difficult decision this week not to try to block BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah solar project in the Mojave Desert.

Club volunteers and staff have worked tirelessly to reconfigure Ivanpah in a way that would do the least harm to the desert tortoise and the surrounding ecosystem. Unfortunately Brightsource is moving forward with a plan that causes unnecessary harm to species.

The Board of Directors has decided not to pursue litigation at this time. This battle has already been costly, and we must now rely on the federal agencies to require that Brightsource come around, so that we can focus our resources and attention to making sure that future large-scale renewable energy projects are built in a more responsible manner. We will continue to work with the Interior Department and Brightsource to improve the project in any way we can.

The Sierra Club remains deeply committed to moving America off of dirty energy quickly and responsibly, and that will include building large-scale renewable energy projects in the smartest way possible — by eliminating or minimizing harm to wildlife and natural resources.

Because the Sierra Club has a long history of protecting wildlife and public lands, as well as a record of winning fights against dirty energy, we are in a unique position to make sure clean energy projects are built responsibly. We are also in a tough position; we urgently need to get clean energy up to scale, and that means we will face more difficult decisions about where to put large renewable projects.

There are solutions to this conflict. As we showed with our proposed reconfiguration of Ivanpah, there is a way to balance clean energy development with the protection of our wildlife and natural resources.

We thank all of the volunteers and staff members who have dedicated years — and tears — to the Ivanpah fight. There will be more battles ahead, and we hope we can count on you to lead us to clean energy solutions.

The Ivanpah project has received occasional media attention over the past few months and will likely receive more. You can find our approved talking points in Clubhouse.

But please note that we are the only official Club spokespeople on this issue, along with Clean Energy Solutions Senior Representative Barb Boyle. Please direct any inquiries you may receive to Senior Press Secretary Kristina Johnson at (415) 977-5619.

Onward,

Robin Mann, Sierra Club President
Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director”

They are in real need of someone telling them exactly where to stick their talking points.
I’d suggest someplace where the sun don’t shine.
 
ivanpah032410hike 047

So that’s pretty much the size of it. As soon as I hear more, hopefully I’ll remember to pass it
on, to you, my dear readers.

Morongobill

 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A heartbreaking video and its’ story is being played out all over this land.

I can’t recall when I last saw such a disturbing video. This brings home the plight
of many in this country and points out the obvious fact that we have become two
countries- the rich and the rest of us.

Since my blogging software doesn’t recognize the provider, please surf over for the
video and accompanying story here.

PBS, an unknown video provider.

Morongobill


I am a long time liberal democrat but I am about to blow you away with this voting recommendation.

Yes I know that I am not a resident of Nevada and normally this wouldn’t be any
of my business, but since these two individuals seem to be unable to stop themselves
from the destruction of the Mojave, especially here in California, here goes.

Kick the Reid’s asses out, both Reid the father, and half pint. Boot their sorry asses
to the curb, throw them out with the garbage, like yesterday’s news.

Half pint just comes across as a blithering idiot, seems harmless with lots of hare-brained
ideas, like filling the biomass power plants with pinyon/jupiter trees from Nevada. However,
when you add his father the senator who has never met a hare- brained scheme he didn’t
like, a political hack with some skill at massaging the erroneous zones of the body politic,
these two present a real danger to our wallets and our environment.

Kick the bastards out. I don’t give a damn if this Angle woman wins, no way she
can do worse than her opponent, who actually does know power and isn’t afraid
to use it.

Oh ye Nevadans, ye hardy people! Come out of your air conditioned boxes and boxes
with wheels. Drive south on I-40 toward Kalifornia and cross over the state line and exit at Yates Well Road. Turn right and drive to the golfcourse but turn off to the left before you get there. Find a parking spot amongst all the blading equipment and the hundred’s of
”hired biologists.” Now honor the no trespassing signs but leave your box with wheels
and walk toward the mountains until you get to a power line road, turn toward Primm and
walk around to the backside of the sacred metamorphic hill, climb up the backside and
gaze out upon the beautiful, soon to be destroyed forever, Ivanpah valley. Part of and
a lot of the blame for this boondoggle and travesty can be laid square at the feet of Reid
the father, your senator.
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Do the rest of us a favor, ye Nevadan’s and rid the country of this imbecile by
voting him out of office on November 2nd, in the year of our Lord, 2010.

This is Morongobill and I approve this message.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New mobile broadband device- now the only excuse for not blogging will be writer’s block.

Picked up the Virgin Mobile usb dongle type device which utilizes Sprint’s 3G
network on the advice of an article in the New York Times tech section.

It is a pre-paid plan- I am using the 40$/month unlimited option, no contracts,
and got the device from their website for 86$ including tax with free shipping.

The Times article pointed out that they really looked over the contract closely
and that it is unlimited, “all the internet you can eat” type deal.

We will see how it works out. I have been on for just a few minutes and here in Buena Park, I am connecting at 3.1MBS.

Morongobill

LiveJournal Tags:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Desert graffiti

This building is located on I-10 on the way to Palm Springs and sits on the north side
of the freeway and to the right of the new water treatment plant, in other words past
the dinosaurs at Cabazon.

Over the years it has been visited often by taggers.

These photographs were taken over a period of the last 5 or 6 years by me.

I don’t know why this seems to appeal to me.
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DSC_0076

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Back off and step away from the spray paint can.

Morongobill

LiveJournal Tags:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On the BLM’s and Reid’s(the son) hit list in Nevada- considering events going down lately, I’d start worrying.

I am referring to the juniper and pinyon pine trees of course. Here is a beautiful example of a mature juniper tree below.
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This large, juniper tree has nothing to worry about since it is located in the Mojave
National Preserve in the Camp Rock Springs area but those now located all over the
Great Basin state on BLM land are not so fortunate. You see the BLM workers there,
at least quite a few and some in positions of authority and influence don’t see any beauty here and believe it is spreading beyond it’s range and that the wood chippers and chain
saws
need to be fired up to rid the state of this “pest”.

Rory Reid, son of Harry Reid, has come up with the bright idea of chipping most of these
trees on federal land, and using them as fuel in the biomass renewable energy plants.
This all in the name of promoting green and renewable energy. Is this the dumbest thing
you’ve ever heard or what? This guy really needs his ass kicked ‘till his nose bleeds,
maybe then he’ll think a little clearer headed. Evidently this was stated by Reid the Younger during a gubernatorial debate on October 7, 2010. I am amazed that nobody
challenged this ludicrous statement of his and that he wasn’t laughed off the stage.

This sounds so extreme and irrational, most of you are probably rolling in the aisles out
there, wherever you are reading this. But I am serious here and so are these folks. They
also think removing these trees will benefit cattle grazing, as you may or may not know, the
ranching lobby is pretty powerful on the open range.

At the risk of sounding alarmist, this proposal should not be ignored. A proposal so ignorant and illogical and extreme, from these folks will probably be construed as
mainstream by the teacher-in-chief’s administration and if the truth was known,
probably some of the big time “carbonmentalist” organizations as well.
One look
at what’s now going on in Ivanpah and coming soon to Blythe, Imperial, and other desert
areas should be enough to prove to any last remaining doubters of this cabal’s power
and influence, as well as the ability to ramrod their proposals through the system.

Oh by the way, there is anecdotal evidence already that the wood chippers and chainsaws
are and have been at work, beginning this next environmental blasphemy.
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This picture also taken near the Bert Smith rockhouse in the Mojave National Preserve. I believe
the speck in the distance is the home of artist Carl Faber, who also once lived in the rockhouse,
and then moved a distance away but still in sight of the rockhouse.  I believe Mr. Faber has since
moved to New Mexico where he is still doing his desert painting.

Let me tell you, if you are out hiking or biking in the deserts and you come across a juniper
tree, especially one as old as this one, you’ll be glad. They provide vital shade in the desert, a commodity that you rarely find sometimes.  Note in the top photograph that there is a fire ring nearby, so camping would be allowed in the preserve here, wouldn’t
it be wonderful to pitch your tent, or just lay your bedroll out right under that tree and
watch the untold number of stars make their appearance after sunset?

Speaking only for myself, I am happy every time I come across a juniper or pinyon pine in my travels in
the Mojave.
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Can you imagine the above desert mountain landscape without the trees? Well that’s what Nevada will look like if the BLM and Reid the Younger have their way.
Ain’t it great that we got such public servants like these looking out for our interests?
This latest travesty is just another cross for the now suffering Mojave to bear.
I am not going to bother with providing links, something this weird and strange can’t be
invented by me, I’m not that clever. You’ll just have to trust Morongobill with this one. If
Reid the Younger or the BLM have a problem with what I said- too bad.

Morongobill
P.S. He said there were a million acres of this pinyon pine and juniper that could be
used for biomass. My mistake. Actually from my point of view, that makes it even worse.
He’s not satisfied with taking out the juniper, now he also wants the pinyon pines as well.

Folks, I should have remembered this. Pinyon pines produce those edible pine nuts that
beginning with the native americans, then the spanish, have been enjoyed for thousands
of years. This is one of the few reliable sources of food in some desert areas and these
clowns want to burn them like firewood in the biomass energy plants because we don’t
like them, we meaning some want to be political and bureaucratic hacks. Read this
great article for information on these life giving trees of the Mojave.
http://www.suite101.com/content/pinion-the-desert-pine-a2425
Here’s some more information on juniper trees, another tree used by native americans
from making sandals to fenceposts to using tea from the berries for medicinal purposes.
Leave it to the french to come up with a more profitable use for the berries- read the
article for more details. Again another life giving tree in the desert.
http://www.suite101.com/content/all-about-junipers-a12946
Wikipedia also has good information on these, my opinion and I hope some of yours as well, wonderful and useful trees.