California's Mojave Desert may seem ideally suited for solar energy production, but concern over what several proposed projects might do to the aesthetics of the region and its tortoise population is setting up a potential clash between conservationists and companies seeking to develop renewable energy. Nineteen companies have submitted applications to build solar or wind facilities on a parcel of 500,000 desert acres, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday such development would violate the spirit of what conservationists had intended when they donated much of the land to the public. Feinstein said Friday she intends to push legislation that would turn the land into a national monument, which would allow for existing uses to continue while preventing future development.She says she is trying to correct an error:
Feinstein said the lands in question were donated or purchased with the intent that they would be protected forever. But the Bureau of Land Management considers the land now open to all types of development, except mining. That policy led the state to consider large swaths of the land for future renewable energy production.The donors and seller might have intended they be protected. But the US is a nation of laws. The use of that land is a matter of law and clearly the law allows it. Gov. Arnold says he favors placing solar in that desert. It is, after all, a desert:
In a speech last year, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger complained about environmental concerns slowing down the approval of solar plants in California. "If we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave desert, I don't know where the hell we can put it," Schwarzenegger said at Yale University.Arnold, you got it. There is no place the private-jet liberals will allow the solar, wind, etc., that they require. And now his representative is using her imagination to bow down to Di-Fi and pretend that the solar projects can go ahead. She has to pretend.
But Karen Douglas, chairman of the California Energy Commission, said Feinstein's proposal could be a "win-win" for energy and conservation. The governor's office said Douglas was speaking on the administration's behalf. "The opportunity we see in the Feinstein bill is to jump-start our own efforts to find the best sites for development and to come up with a broader conservation plan that mitigates the impact of the development," Douglas said. Douglas said that if the national monument lines were drawn without consideration of renewable energy then a conflict was likely, but it's early enough in the planning process that she's confident the state will be able to get more solar and wind projects up and running without hurting the environment.And, again, they are for the idea of solar energy while being against placing at any particular place. See also - Feinstein steers contracts to her husband's firm. She violates the rules she enforces. And - she stepped down but did not admit guilt. * We no longer refer to female elected officials by their titles since the governor of Alaska was dragged through the mud last August.