I have been busy with work and life, but have not taken my eyes from the issues affecting the Mojave Desert. I'm subscribed to the lists of several California Energy Commission (CEC) proceedings that impact our desert, and I've been glued to the news from the Mojave. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this is an important year for the Mojave as the policy world at the local, state and federal levels determines how we use our open wilderness, and the pace with which we level the desert for industrial-scale energy projects. There have not been many breaking developments in the past few days, but the CEC continues to deliberate on key projects. In particular, we are still waiting to hear the "presiding member's" decision on the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the eastern Mojave.
The California Energy Commission has emerged as one of the most important government bodies with respect to the future of the Mojave Desert. The CEC's leading role in the environmental impact assessment will determine the fate of hundreds of thousands of acres of Mojave Desert wilderness that energy companies currently seek to develop. After the CEC, the Bureau of Land Management works closely with the CEC to convey the biological resources that will be impacted by the proposed energy projects, and is presumably also responsible for conveying the pros/cons of such development back to the Secretary of the Interior in Washington. The high demand for "green" energy and jobs, however, may prove too overbearing for a science-based approach to energy siting that places an emphasis on locating such vast energy projects on land that can ensure an economic recovery while protecting our natural heritage.