President Promises More Destruction for Wildlands

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama vowed to speed up permitting for energy projects -- including oil and gas -- on public wildlands, and a potentially ominous call to invest in modernizing "pipelines".  The President is sticking to his "all of the above" energy approach that has had significant impacts on our desert landscapes, including inappropriately sited solar and wind projects that have already industrialized dozens of square miles of public lands.  

It is hard to appreciate the President's proposal for energy and fuel efficiency investments when he remains committed to sacrificing our wildlands to private industry and increasing natural gas and oil production.  Our wildlands are already burdened by climate change. Converting more of those lands to industrial use -- whether for solar energy, natural gas, or coal -- is simply more of the status quo we have faced over the last century.

[click on image to expand] The Obama administration approved BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah Solar project as part of its "fast track" energy permitting process, and the company has already destroyed nearly 5.6 square miles of what was once ecologically intact desert habitat.  Coupled with continued oil and gas industry permits in Wyoming, the Arctic, and the Gulf of Mexico, the White House has been a poor steward of our public lands and our climate.

The President's energy policy is not a plan for progress, but one of continued destruction.   We need an energy policy that cuts fossil fuels, and encourages renewable energy generation in our cities and on already-disturbed lands.

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