Showing posts with the label EPA

What Does A Trump Administration Mean for the Desert?

The outlook for desert wildlands is dismal under a Trump Administration, and we will have to be even more vigilant and vocal to stop Washington from undermining the legal and administrative pillars that protect our public lands and wildlife and to keep  bulldozers off of intact habitat.  I have been critical of some of the Obama Administration's choices and policies regarding wildlife and wildlands, but there was always give and take within the bounds of existing laws and a relatively strong role for science in how policies were formulated; that probably will not be the case under Trump. Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress probably will slow or reverse progress we have made greenhouse gas emissions , and they will severely weaken or eliminate the legal and bureaucratic institutions that protect our wildlands and wildlife.  Science will be ignored in policy formulation and decision making. Budgets for the folks at the Department of Interior and the Environmental

Solar Trends Show Wildlands Sacrifice is Not Necessary

Solar energy is a rapidly growing piece of the energy pie necessary to kick our habit of dirty fossil fuels, but trends in solar energy growth so far, and an abundance of suitable spaces for solar panels in our cities and on already-disturbed lands suggests there is no need to sacrifice our open wildlands.    Making Progress Without Desert Destruction Solar energy generation has grown to over 5,100 megawatts in the United States according to GTM research -- enough to replace roughly nine Reid Gardner coal power plants. How did we reach this goal?  A good chunk is from rooftop solar, while most of the larger solar facilities contributing to this number were built on already-disturbed lands.  Most utility-scale projects that are destroying desert wildlands, such as BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah Solar project, are not included in this number because they are not yet plugged into the grid. Looking to Already-Disturbed Lands Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency made a ma

Who Should Lead Our Renewable Energy Policy?

The Department of Interior plans to make millions of acres of mostly pristine desert land in America's southwest available to energy companies as part of its solar energy development proposal.   Much of this energy development will take place in California's deserts, and threatens to drive rare plants and wildlife to extinction.  The light is shining so brightly on Interior's misguided proposal that we have forgotten a promising effort by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to build renewable energy on already-disturbed land instead of our treasured open space. There is a need for the Department of Interior to reform its renewable energy siting process, which prompted it to draft its solar energy development proposal, and there is certainly a need to increase America's generation of clean energy.  But where we generate this energy is just as important as why we need to -- preservation of our natural resources.    So why does Washington's premier policy pro