Saturday, January 19, 2013

The only sure fire way to stop desert renewable energy projects.

The fight has been on for enough time now to spot the trend and come to a decision that I feel is unassailable. The answer is found in an acronym or
pejorative, depending on your point of view: NIMBY, not in my backyard.

Technically, this post will not meet the statistical standards required for a
rigorous analysis, but to get those kind of numbers you would have to have a thousand projects developed to get a representative sample, which would
obviously mean a completely fragmented Mojave Desert ecosystem, and defeating the purpose of the study being done in the first place.

So why don’t we take the common sense approach and call a spade a spade,
and leave the analysis to all the eggheads, most of whom work for the industrialists and their government lackeys in the first place.

I have thought this way for a long time but a recent case proves the thesis of this article, so I have decided to put it out there- going way out on the limb and sawing it off behind me.

But first, note that I am writing this at the backporch blog, and here is why. You
see the other day when I posted the short blurb mentioning a post at my new blog, my site was crawled by the Google bot and it said that the Bighorn Whisperer blog was a spam site and took it down. So if you have tried visiting
there in the last few days, you now know why it is down. I have asked Google to reconsider, so hopefully it will be back up soon.

I will refrain from venting my feelings regarding this for another day and time.

The industrialists were smart in their site selections, at least the big players.
They, by design I believe, picked locations way out in the boondocks hoping that locals would not protest, and since there were no local residents to worry about, they could pitch folks that lived within long commute distances and who were in impoverished circumstances on the economic benefits provided by these plants- these are real benefits to folks who live with 20% local unemployment rates and no other options to feed their kids, which goes a long way in explaining all the pro comments to these projects in local news articles
in local media.

Of course, the flip side of this is that activists in opposition to the “farms” would have to drive hundreds of miles to get to the sites, and usually have to campout
once they got there, due to the remoteness of these sites.

But all is not lost, as there have been some great local wins in the fight to save scenic areas and wilderness from being destroyed in this new energy paradigm. Two examples that I personally know of occurred in the area that I used to live in, and it is with great pride that I mention them here today.

The most recent example is the Pipes Canyon area near Yucca Valley, about
125 miles or so east of Los Angeles. A massive wind project was to be built atop Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa by Element Power, which would have totally destroyed the scenic beauty of the area and suffered massive
environmental destruction in the installation of the towers and the major road network required for their construction and maintenance.

In this case, concerned citizens and groups mounted an offensive locally to
build local support against the project, now resulting in the industrialist dropping the effort to build there.

Another example that I am familiar with was the ill-fated attempt to ramrod
a giant new electric transmission line system through Big Morongo Canyon and its’ ACEC, the Pipes Canyon area and other sensitive ecosystems to move
green energy for LADWP. Another land grab by Los Angeles and this effort
was fought off by an enraged citizenry in Morongo Valley and nearby environs,
which hopefully will scare off any further attempts, at least long enough until Senator Feinstein’s desert park proposal passes.

I don’t have all the details but I do believe that citizen involvement also played a role in removing the project near Ridgecrest from consideration also.

Yes, I know this doesn’t meet the statistical analysis, but it sure validates the old saying about walking like a duck, doesn’t it? When local citizens and groups rise up and say not in my backyard, and mean it, the industrialists back off.

There is a lesson there for those who can see it. It is by no means the whole answer, but it is upon small victories sometimes that campaigns can be won.
With the departures now of Salazar and Chu from Obama’s cabinet, who knows what the future holds for the Mojave that so many care about? Perhaps
long views unmarred by ugly panels, wind towers and transmission lines, with
desert tortoises and kit foxes and others, living in harmony as rooftops in the cities sit pretty with the new solar panels atop them- well, one can dream can’t


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