Showing posts from 2019

Unlikely Allies: Trump Administration Joins Enviros to Plan Solar Project on Prime Tortoise Habitat

The Trump Administration this month released an assessment that concludes that a solar developer can crush and mow vegetation across several square miles of prime desert tortoise habitat, and still consider those lands as viable habitat for the species.  The silence of some national-level environmental groups regarding the unconventional and unscientific conclusion appears to signal their comfort taking risks with a species already facing significant peril, as well as these groups' inability to champion more sustainable locations to generate clean energy in Nevada. The biological opinion released by the Trump Administration constitutes the official position of the Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the impacts of the proposed Gemini Solar project; its curious willingness to declare heavily disturbed lands as viable tortoise habitat was necessary for the project's approval because the project would be built on lands that have been identified as a vital habitat linkage sustai

We Can Do This: Ending Fossil Fuels and Saving Wildlands

As we gather to demand bold action to end fossil fuels, we can also ensure that wildlands no longer have to shoulder the sacrifice for our consumption of electricity.  Renewable energy technology is extremely flexible and scalable, which means that we can replace fossil fuels without replacing wildlife habitat. A Million Rooftops!: Even with relatively tame policy incentives, California was able to install over 8,240 megawatts of rooftop solar .  That is clean energy generated across over nearly 1 million rooftops.  And there is still room for plenty more!  In fact, a study found that one metropolitan area had enough rooftop solar potential to power half of the state of California.  Smart Locations for Large Projects: Through smart environmental policies, California has also guided thousands of megawatts of large-scale solar projects to already-disturbed lands .  One solar project on former agricultural land in the Central Valley could generate up to 2,700 megawatts , as the

Desert Wildlands Need Your Voice in Vegas

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is hosting two public meetings on plans to mow down nearly 11 square miles of intact desert wildlands to build the Gemini Solar power project , which would be located northeast of Las Vegas along the entrance road to Valley of Fire State Park .  It will be very important for concerned citizens to attend because most environmental groups have taken a muted stance on the project, even though it is expected to displace up to 260 desert tortoises, and wipe out beavertail and silver cholla cacti, burrowing owl nesting locations and imperil a rare plant found in only a few places in the Mojave. [UPDATE: These meetings have concluded, but you can still submit comments by e-mail up to September 5.  Scroll down for details on how to submit comments.] Any member of the public is welcome to attend the meetings , and public comment sessions are during the last hour of each session: Public Meeting #1 - Las Vegas When: Tuesday, July 23rd, 5:00 - 8:00 PM

How Can We Ensure a Green Implementation of the Green New Deal?

Green New Deal proposals and policy discussions often sound like a smorgasbord of different issues.  You hear about job creation, counteracting inequities that have impacted underrepresented communities, research and development, agriculture, transportation, and the list goes on.   Rightly so; the environmental problems of today rest on a complicated, interlocking puzzle of social, technological, and economic problems.   But the underlying goal of any Green New Deal is the dramatic expansion of the renewable energy sector.  That raises a prickly question: how do we do that and protect the environment at the same time? A recent UC Davis/Center for Biological Diversity study  led by Dr. Rebecca Hernandez highlighted perhaps the greatest challenge we will face in implementing a Green New Deal: "Achieving a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources on planet Earth to support human activities, in a manner benign to Earth’s life support systems, is arguably the gr

Green Groups Silent as Solar Company Plans Destruction of Mojave Wildlands

The Department of Interior in early June released its draft environmental review indicating that plans to replace 11 square miles of intact desert wildlands in southern Nevada with the Gemini Solar project would result in significant impacts on wildlife and outdoor recreation.   The project proposed by Arevia Power would install photovoltaic solar panels on land that is currently home to rare plants, desert kit fox, tortoises and other wildlife.  Photovoltaic solar panels are just as easily installed on rooftops, parking lot canopies, and on already-disturbed lands, calling in to question the need to sacrifice desert wildlands to generate electricity. (California has installed over 8,000 megawatts of distributed solar generation with relatively modest policy incentives.) Arevia Power's plans to destroy these Mojave wildlands will displace or kill nearly at least 260 desert tortoises, and dozens of kit foxes and burrowing owls , according to the draft environmental impac