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Center for American Progress Endorses Destruction of Public Lands; Wilderness Society Distributes Piece in Social Media

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The Wilderness Society appears to support the destruction of public lands, as long as the diesel-guzzling bulldozers are clearing the way for a shiny new solar or wind energy facility.  That is the bottom line of a blog piece written by the Center for American Progress writers Jessica Goad and Joe Romm--and posted by the Wilderness Society on its facebook and twitter accounts--in which Center for American Progress also suggests that Americans do not cherish their desert open spaces. The Wilderness Society's willingness to disseminate the blog piece without raising concerns for the content suggest they find merit in the article.

The Center for American Progress is protesting an article by the Los Angeles Times that sheds light on the destruction of the Ivanpah Valley by BrightSource Energy for its 5.6 square mile solar facility.  The LA Times also draws attention to a land rush by solar developers proposing to destroy hundreds of square miles of desert wildlands throughout Amer…

Solar the Right Way...

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In a blog post titled "Every Rooftop Matters," Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune explains the important role rooftop solar will play in cutting down harmful greenhouse gas emissions.  The Club's efforts to promote distributed generation are a welcome development given the troubling plans by some energy companies to bulldoze hundreds of square miles of pristine desert for remote projects.  Two of the massive projects have already begun construction, displacing hundreds of threatened desert tortoises and destroying Native American sacred sites.

In separate news, Google announced its investment of 280 million dollars in SolarCity, a rooftop solar business.  The investment could create 7,000-9,000 solar roofs. The announcement comes on the heels of Google's less appealing investments in the destructive Ivanpah Solar energy project (pictured below) and the Alta Wind Energy Center, a wind project that could result in at least 3,000 bird collisions each year.

Angry Birds in Northern California

Following up on a previous post regarding Google's plans to invest millions of dollars in a massive field of wind turbines in the western Mojave Desert, the Los Angeles Times ran a great article today on the dangers of poorly sited wind energy facilities on birds. Google's wind energy projects is one of several proposed for the Mojave Desert, and are expected to have similar impacts as the Altamont Pass project featured in the LA Times article.   A video accompanied the article and is also embedded below.

Massive Searchlight Wind Project a Danger to Desert Birds

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I've written a lot about energy companies rushing to build massive solar facilities in America's deserts --mostly on pristine habitat that is home to a variety of rare plant and wildlife.  Wind projects also threaten these ecosystems, including the proposed Searchlight Wind project to be built by Duke Energy in Nevada.  Even though wind energy projects may not require as much ground disturbance as solar energy facilities, the spinning blades have been proven to kill rare bat species, golden eagles, vultures, and other birds. 

The Searchlight Project, near the town of Searchlight, would place up to 160 giant wind turbines on up to 14 square miles of public land.  At least 40 miles of new roads will scar the area to reach each turbine.   Basin and Range Watch has covered the proposal extensively on its website, and they also provide some beautiful photos of the area.

The danger to desert birds is real, but most people tend to think wind energy farms are "environmentally f…