Showing posts with the label Silurian Valley

Silurian Valley Spared by BLM

If you have ever been to the Silurian Valley, you know it is one of those grand places that inspires and beckons you to pull over, get out of your car, and hike.  After driving on Interstate 15 from Barstow, the Silurian Valley is a strong dose of tranquility, providing relief from the traffic, billboards and franchise restaurants of our Anthropocentric world and what Aldo Leopold called the "epidemic of geometry."  As you drive up the two-lane Death Valley Road,  you leave behind the sight of the small highway outpost of Baker and you are swallowed by the immensity of the Silurian Valley. It is just you and the narrow road dividing thousands of acres of wilderness on either side.  This week, Jim Kenna, the State Director for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in California, spared this place for future generations to experience when he rejected plans by Spain-based Iberdrola to build the Aurora Solar project. The Silurian Valley, with the Avawatz Mountains far in

Silurian Valley Comments Due Soon

Can you spare a few minutes for the Silurian Valley?  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) extended the deadline for comments on Iberdrola's proposal to build a solar project in the Silurian Valley north of Baker, California.  BLM will decide whether or not to allow the project to move forward because it is outside of the established Solar Energy Zones.    BLM's initial solicitation for public comments included an incorrect e-mail address, so the comment period has been extended to May 28.  You can visit this blog's " Take Action " page for more information and the corrected e-mail address to send your comments! Overlooking the Silurian Valley where Iberdrola plans to build a solar and wind project.  The Avawatz Mountains stand in the distance.

BLM Seeks Public Comments on Silurian Valley Solar Proposal

The Bureau of Land Management is considering Spain-based company Iberdrola's request to build a solar project on several square miles of the remote Silurian Valley, a beautiful stretch of desert along what KCET has described as California's " outback highway " - over 200 miles of two lane road that provides one of the best opportunities in the country to access solitude and wildlands.  BLM must take extra steps to review the application because the project is not proposed for a designated solar energy zone, and BLM has the discretion to scrap the project before it begins environmental review.  Iberdrola is also interested in building a large wind facility in the Silurian Valley, although those plans have not been advanced recently. The Silurian Valley is surrounded by desert wilderness areas, and is home to spring wildflower blooms and a segment of the 1,000 mile historic trade route known as Old Spanish Trail .  You can see some beautiful photos of the Silurian V

Update on Utility-Scale Energy Projects in the Desert

Although distributed generation continues to chart a sustainable path to produce clean energy, many poorly-sited renewable energy projects threaten to continue the fragmentation and industrialization of our southwestern deserts.  If all of the projects are built, they would rival the destructive impacts of climate change and urban sprawl on desert species.  As long-time readers of this blog know, there have been plenty of bad projects approved on public lands in the desert, with some good news sprinkled here and there.  The list below - not at all comprehensive - provides an update on the status of some of the most significant projects. Projects that are completed or under construction will be in Red ; projects approved but not yet under construction in Yellow ; and still pending environmental review and approval in Green .  All told, the list below represents over 100 square miles of intact desert that has now been destroyed or industrialized, and over 150 square miles that could

Ode to Silurian Valley

California's desert landscape is a treasure.  Some people see it as a bore, or a wasteland, but what they cannot deny is that it is a wild landscape that offers a stark break from the strip malls and parking lots of Las Vegas or the Victor Valley.  It is not only accessible, but it is expansive -- at least for now. Chris Clarke at KCET wrote a great piece on one very long stretch of road that can give you the full experience of this wild place.  From Joshua Tree National Park to Death Valley National Park, you can traverse nearly 200 miles on a mostly two-lane road and experience the desert. You can start in a Joshua Tree woodland, hike up a mountain where there are juniper and pine, cross sand dunes, and then enjoy the riparian habitat of the Amargosa River at Shoshone.  You may cross some high voltage power lines, and a couple small towns (Baker, the largest, has a population of around 700), but you will mostly find solitude. Especially if you stop, get out, and walk. I thin

Silurian Valley Still Under Threat of Energy Development

Energy company Iberdrola Renewables is still looking for a way to bulldoze a portion of the Silurian Valley, a quiet desert landscape nearly 15 miles north of the town of Baker, California.  Iberdrola as of last year had plans to build a wind energy project in the Silurian Valley, but likely conflicts with Department of Defense training and testing activities forced the company back to the drawing board.  According to BLM records, Iberdrola is now considering building a large solar project, which probably would sidestep conflicts with Department of Defense interests. Iberdrola has converted over 10 square miles of its wind energy application to a solar right-of-way application, according to the BLM records, although the company has not given up on its wind application.  The company may not plan to use all 10 square miles of the right-of-way application for the solar project, since the current application only describes a 150 megawatt facility, which would require a much smaller footp