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Showing posts from October, 2017

Proposed Solar Project Could Run Into Trouble with the Military

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Solar Reserve’s proposal to build at least eight more solar power towers immediately north of Tonopah, Nevada probably will face an uphill battle, but not for the reasons you expect.  A review of documents submitted by the company to the Department of Interior regarding its proposed Sandstone Solar project suggests poor attention has been paid so far to the threat the project may pose to military aviation. The project would cover nearly 25 square miles with thousands of giant mirrors to reflect the sun's light.  Glint and glare emanating from the project could temporarily impair the vision of aircrew transiting a low-level military flight corridor next to the project, based on a study conducted by Sandia National Laboratories.

According to the Sandia study, the glint and glare emanating from mirrors associated with solar power tower projects can cause temporary after images (temporary vision impairment) for people within six miles of the project. This impact radius would affect n…

Trump Administration Plans to Charge $70 to Enter National Parks

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The Trump administration plans to raise entrance fees at many of our prized national parks to $70 during peak season.  If this policy is implemented, public lands that should be affordable for all of us to enjoy will become a luxury for the rich.  

According to the proposal, entrances fees at the following parks will be increased to $70 during peak season:
Acadia National Park Arches National ParkBryce Canyon National ParkCanyonlands National ParkGlacier National ParkGrand Canyon National ParkGrand Teton National ParkJoshua Tree National Park Mount Ranier National Park Olympic National ParkRocky Mountain National Park Sequoia & Kings Canyon National ParkShenandoah National Park Yellowstone National ParkYosemite National ParkZion National Park The Trump administration claims the fee is necessary to pay for a maintenance backlog at our national parks, but the administration could instead ask Congress to increase the budget for the National Park Service.  As of today, the National Pa…

Habitat Restoration or Destruction? Pinyon-Juniper Removal Under Scrutiny

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Are pinyon pines and Utah juniper invasive species?  The Department of Interior is enthusiastically proposing to cut down  large swaths of pinyon-juniper woodland across the Great Basin Desert, although conservation group Basin and Range Watch is raising doubts about the scientific basis for such projects.  The ostensible purpose of removing the pinyon-juniper is to help the greater sage grouse and reduce fire risk, although it appears more likely that the deforestation is to benefit private livestock grazing operations.  Interior's claims that the projects are intended to support the sage grouse were further undermined after Interior opened up important grouse habitat elsewhere to oil and gas drilling earlier this year, even though experts say protecting remaining habitat is the most important step we can take toward saving it from decline.

Restoring historic sage grouse habitat to the native shrub and grasslands that the species needs to succesfully forage and breed is not easy…