Monday, January 17, 2011

“I know it when I see it”- thoughts on Western Watershed’s filing of a federal NEPA lawsuit over Ivanpah SEGS.

Astute readers will of course remember Justice Potter Stewart’s famous line regarding
a pornography case coming before the United States Supreme Court in 1964, probably the
single most famous quote in that institution’s 200+ year history.

How does that tie in with the Western Watersheds Project decision to file a federal lawsuit
against the federal government, to intervene and attempt to force the federal agencies
involved with the Ivanpah decision, to comply with the NEPA and other federal laws on
the books, and to allow participation in the process by the federal judiciary, a co-equal
branch of our governmental system on the federal and state level? I’ll get to that in a moment.

First, let me thank Chris over at Coyote Crossing for bringing this important news to all our
attention. You can also access the pdf file legal complaint here.

Some of you readers of this blog have probably tired long ago of my railing on this very subject- when would a major environmental group step up to the plate and weigh in on the process with a NEPA lawsuit designed to force compliance with our laws already on the books, laws designed to protect the environment, and to force
federal and state agencies charged by law with this sacred duty, to do just that,to protect this fragile environment that they
are legally obligated to protect.

As you have undoubtedly noted, that fiduciary duty and responsibility was never picked up
by the responsible agencies in any meaningful way, only cheap and meaningless “lip service”
was offered up by those agencies. In other words, cheap words and no real action.

So what ensued was the beginning of a massive energy land rush in the Mojave and
other deserts, similar to the Oklahoma land rush of the end of the 19th century, but instead
of hardy pioneers leading the charge, this time it was the company paid modern day gunslingers- investment bankers and biologists in the lead! And no sheriff around to try to
keep order, every tortoise and badger was on his own! Only a few activists and desert lovers
were around to try to stop this imminent raping of the deserts, since it appeared that the
major environmental organizations did not want to get involved in a real attempt to stop
the industrialists
. I even coined a new name for these missing “environmental” groups- I
called them carbonmentalist groups who were willing to sacrifice the deserts and
other wild places, just so they could say that they were stopping carbon buildup-
never mind the fact that desert soil’s sequester tons and untold tons of carbon, some scientists even saying in amounts rivaling the rain forests.

Yes, none of our words spoken or written mattered a whit to the powers that be, to the BLM’s
and DOI’s and the CEC’s of the world, these “eminence grise” were only concerned with rubber stamping the approval process “for the over-riding state interest to comply with
AB32.” No matter how outrageous the proposals, these bureaucrats were going to find an
over-riding reason to approve, period.

I believe most observers familiar with the events that have occurred would say that is a
masterful understatement of what, in fact, this kangaroo court process of approvals has
resulted in.

Folks, to you newbies and long time back porch readers, as I have said all along, I am just a
bus driver but I used to play a pretty mean game of chess and I understand politics and events as they occur. I am not a lawyer, but like Mr. Justice Potter Stewart, God rest his
soul, I know something when I see it. And though I may not be a learned expert on NEPA
law or the law in general, I can see a rushed, kangaroo type, rubber stamp process for just
what it is now, then, and in the future,a way for a few well heeled members
of the elite, to use other people’s money(the taxpayers) for their money making purposes
without giving the law even a modest fig leaf of consideration, secure in their knowledge
that the carbonmentalist organizations would not do a damned thing to try to stop them.

After all, high muckedy mucks in the carbonmentalist groups helped write the regulations and
rules for the very process, the industrialists felt they were in like Flint with nothing to worry about!

Or so they thought. Well guess what, you would be rapists of the desert- there is a group
out there that cares about the deserts, a real old time environmentalist group, the Western Watersheds Project, and they just made their introduction by slapping you up side the head with a heavy, brief filled legal attache!

Well done, bully! I say.

My only quibble with this is the timing, I wish it had come sooner, speaking only from an
overall strategic view, and not from a legal viewpoint, but that’s a quibble.

And if I haven’t made my point yet in no uncertain terms, here is how I really feel about this news:


And that’s how I see things out here on the backporch, where the socal desert temperature
was around 80 degrees and nary a heliostatic mirror in sight, at least not yet.


P.s. Shawn just published an article about the lawsuit over at the Mojave Desert Blog, which
I suggest you check out asap. I will also be following with another post on this subject as well
once the euphoria wears off.


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