Basin & Range Watch
|Defending the Desert|
Basin and Range Watch is a group of volunteers who live in the deserts of Nevada and California, working to stop the destruction of our desert homeland. Industrial renewable energy companies are seeking to develop millions of acres of unspoiled habitat in our region. Our goal is to identify the problems of energy sprawl and find solutions that will preserve our natural ecosystems and open spaces. We support renewable energy but advocate for better national and state planning.
Come visit and experience the great beauty of spring wildflowers, vast open vistas, bird watching trails, and wildlife viewing.
Blade Throw at Ocotillo Wind Project
May 17, 2013 - A 10-ton turbine blade broke off a wind turbine generator at the Ocotillo, CA wind project yesterday. Photos >>here.
Condors Left Unprotected
May 11, 2013 - The Obama Administration’s poor conservation legacy continues. US Fish and Wildlife Service announced that wind projects will not be prosecuted for accidental "take" of endangered California condors if they are killed by giant wind turbine blades in projects springing up in their ancestral mountain homelands. Specifically the Terra-Gen wind project in the Tehachapi Mountains of Kern County, CA. Condors have just barely started to have success increasing populations after a long captive breeding program and years in the 1980s and 1990s when no condors were flying freely in the wild. Lead bullets continue to lead to condor deaths, and the species is still in danger of decline after re-introductions back into historic ranges.
"This is the first time we've authorized incidental takes of California condors — and we're approaching them very cautiously," said Fish and Wildlife Director Daniel Ashe.
Herbicide Use to be Approved Near Local Community
May 11, 2013 - On May 2nd, the Bureau of Land Management released an environmental assessment with only a two week comment period reviewing the impacts of treating the invasive weeds around the Ocotillo Wind Express Project with herbicides, in Imperial County CA.
The Bureau of Land Management approved the Ocotillo Wind Express Project which is being built within a 1/4 mile of local residents of the town of Ocotillo. Now the BLM is going to authorize the use of the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) made by Monsanto, to control the spread of invasive weeds that are being spread by the disturbance caused by the Pattern Energy wind project. The safety and well being of local residents is not a priority to BLM. The local people of Ocotillo have been forced to put up with noise, failed dust mitigation, bright, unnecessary night lighting, Pattern Energy employees who threaten them, and now exposure to dangerous herbicides.
In lab tests, glyphosate and herbicides containing glyphosate caused genetic damage to human and animal cells. Studies of farmers and other people exposed to glyphosate herbicides link this exposure to increased risks of cancer, miscarriages and attention deficit disorder. Additional laboratory tests have confirmed the results of these studies. Application of glyphosate herbicides increases the severity of a variety of plant diseases.
See the Environmental Assessment pdf >>here.
TAKE ACTION: Write a letter by Friday, May 17th to request that the BLM extend the comment period for a plan to use herbicides to control exotic weeds around the Ocotillo Wind Express Project. Also request that the BLM select a “Physical Removal Only” alternative to removing all of these weeds. This would basically require Pattern Energy to hire people to manually remove invasive weeds by hand. The BLM will approve the use of large quantities of Roundup, which can have toxic effects on people if used this way. Much of the wind project is located right next to the town of Ocotillo. The letter should be sent to Nicollee Gaddis at the El Centro, California BLM office.
I would like submit this comment on (EA) : DOI-BLM-CA-D070-2013-0060-EA Invasive Plant Management Weed Management Plan for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility.
The BLM released a plan to treat over 700 acres of land with herbicides including Glyphosphate (Roundup) to control the weeds spread from the large land disturbance from the Ocotillo Wind Express Project. Roundup can bea dangerous herbicide. It can leak into groundwater and cause human health problems. Some of the disturbance is located within less than a quarter mile of local residents.
Symptoms of exposure to glyphosate include eye irritation, blurred vision, skin rashes, burning or itchy skin, nausea, sore throat and difficulty breathing, headache, lethargy, nose bleeds and dizziness.
In lab tests, glyphosate and herbicides containing glyphosate caused genetic damage to human and animal cells. Studies of farmers and other people exposed to glyphosate herbicides link this exposure to increased risks of cancer, miscarriages and attention deficit disorder. Glyphosate herbicides cause genetic damage and harm to the immune system in fish. In frogs, glyphosate herbicides cause genetic damage and abnormal development.
The BLM issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for this project and is only allowing a two week comment period. Furthermore, the BLM disqualified the “Physical Removal Only” alternative which would ban the use of toxic herbicides.
In the interest of public health, I would like to request that the BLM extend the two week comment period to 30 days and reconsider a “Physical Removal Only” alternative.
Valley Fever Outbreak in Carrizo Plain Solar Projects
May 1, 2013 - The Los Angeles Times reported that 28 people, including construction workers, have been diagnosed with Valley Fever on two large solar power construction sites in Carrizo Plain in San Luis Obispo County, California. (See http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-solar-fever-20130501,0,7994390,print.story).
Renewable Energy Projects We Are Following:
Proposal for an Ivanpah Valley Area of Critical Environmental Concern >>here
Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System
BrightSource Energy's second solar thermal power tower proposal in Mesquite Valley, Inyo County CA >>here
Palen Solar Electric Generating System
500 MW solar power plant in Chuckwalla Valley ten miles east of Desert Center, on good Mojave fringe-toed lizard habitat. BrightSource Energy and Abengoa partners on project. >>here
Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility
BrightSource Energy's third solar thermal power tower proposal along the Colorado River near Blythe, San Bernardino County CA>>here
Silver State South Solar Project
Photovoltaic panel proposal in Ivanpah Valley, Clark County, Nevada >>here
Stateline Solar Project
Photovoltaic panel proposal in Ivanpah Valley, CA >>here
Soda Mountain Solar Project
Photovoltaic panel proposal in San Bernardino County, California >>here
Many applications for giant solar developments in this Colorado Desert area of Chuckwalla Valley in Riverside County, California >>here.
Genesis Solar Energy Project
NextEra Energy proposes to build a 250-megawatt parabolic trough solar thermal plant near Ford Dry Lake in Chuckwalla Valley, Riverside County, California. Water is a concern. >>here
McCoy Solar Power Project
750 MW photovoltaic project in McCoy Wash, Riverside County near Blythe, by NextEra Energy. >>here
Blythe Solar Power Project
A huge 1,000 MW photovoltaic panelproject in McCoy Wash, Riverside County with a 5,950 acre footprint. Cultural issues, Fringe-toed lizards, and Desert tortoise are concerns. >>here
I-10 Corridor Projects in Chuckwalla Valley >>here
Crescent Dunes Solar Project
Solar Reserve Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project. A 100 MW power tower project with molten salt storage, near Tonopah, Nevada >>here.
Solar Reserve Rice Solar Energy Project
A 500-foot tall power tower in a remote California desert >>here.
Abengoa Lathrop Wells Solar Facility
This project is no longer active. In Amargosa Valley, Nevada, a 250-megawatt parabolic trough solar thermal plant that may be upgraded to 500 MW, with 70 MW photovoltaic. >>here
Imperial Valley Solar Project
This project is no longer active. Former Tessera Stirling dish project on 6,500 acres sited on archaeologically sensitive Colorado Desert with Flat-tailed horned lizards, west of El Centro, Imperial County, California >>here
Chevron Lucerne Valley Solar Project
Chevron Energy Solutions is proposing to build a 516-acre photovoltaic project on Mojave Desert with Joshua trees and tortoises. Some call the area disturbed, but we disagree >>here
Pacific Solar Big Dune Photovoltaic Project
7,500-acre project in Amargosa Valley, Nevada, on rare and endemic beetle habitat >>here.
Proposal with storage in Amargosa Valley, Nye County, Nevada >>here
Ridgecrest Solar Power Project
Owens Lake Solar project
Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch Proposal by LA Dep of Water and Power >>here
Solar Demonstration Area in Nevada Test Site by Department of Energy >>here
Robert Lundahl Films on Solar Issues, the Desert, and Indigenous Rights >>here
Duke Energy's proposal to place giant wind turbines over the Searchlight Hills, Clark County, Nevada >>here.
Iberdrola plans on various wind and solar projects in this remote Mojave Desert valley southeast of Death Valley National Park, San Bernardino County, California >>here.
Granite Mountain Wind Energy Project
RES proposal to place wind turbines on a roadless pristine mountain in San Bernardino County, California, home to the rare Ford's Indra swallowtail. >>here
Ocotillo Express Wind Facility
Pattern Energy's project on the boundary of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Imperial County, California >>here.
Spring 2011 Field Trip >>here.
Spring Valley Wind Energy Project
Pattern Energy wants to build up to 85 giant 400-foot tall wind turbines in Spring Valley east of Ely, Nevada, 12 miles from the boundary of Great Basin National Park. The site is home to Pygmy rabbits, Sage grouse, and Pronghorn antelope. DEADLINE for Comments January 15, 2010! >>here
Mohave County Wind Farm Project
On the White Hills and fan next to Lake Mead National Recreation Area in northwestern Arizona, near Mt. Tipton Wilderness and by places where California condors have been sighted from Grand Canyon reintroductions >>here
Wilson Creek/Table Mountain Wind Project
This project has been canceled. A proposed 990 MW wind farm on 30,000 acres of beautiful Great Basin mountain range with elk and sage grouse, a popular recreation area in Lincoln County, Nevada near Pioche >>here
Wind Project Impacts - Photos of Construction in the Mojave Desert and Tehachapi Grassland >>here
Wind Project Proposed for Eastern Edge of Joshua Tree National Park >>here
Eagle Mountain Hydroelectric Pumped Storage Project
An area that should be part of Joshua Tree National Park, in Riverside County, California. Related to the renewable energy projects along the I-10 corridor
Southern California Edison proposal to upgrade and add lines in southern Nevada and eastern California in Ivanpah Valley, to deliver future renewable energy to coastal cities >>here
Southern California proposed mega-powerline to supposedly link wind and solar in the eastern deserts and Baja to coastal cities in San Diego County, but also tied to fossil fuel >>here
SCE Proposes 2 New Renewable Energy Transmission Projects in Mojave Desert >>here
Renewable Energy Alternatives:
CALL to ACTION for ENERGY DEMOCRACY
Sign the Petition by Solar Done Right (scroll down to petition on left front page)
This initiative will bring citizens together to demand a more cost-effective, faster, less damaging, and more democratic path to renewable energy. Our goal is to move renewable energy development away from our ecologically rich and agriculturally important lands and onto rooftops and already-developed areas. Solar Done Right will take this petition to top energy policymakers in our government: the White House, Department of Interior, Department of Energy.
Community Power: Decentralized Renewable Energy in California by Al Weinrub >>1.22 MB PDF
BRW Recommends Agencies Follow the Final Report of the Independant Science Advisors to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan >>here
Desert Pavement: A Natural Soil Type >>here
Desert Tortoise Recovery: Science and Politics Clash >>here
New Desert Tortoise Species Described, Mojave Population Unique, Implications for Big Solar and Conservation >>here
Revised Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan Fails to Address Renewable Energy Sprawl >>here
Sand Lizards of the Desert: Fringe-toed Lizards >>here
Flat-tailed Horned Lizard in Trouble in Imperial Valley, California >>here
Evolutionary Hotsports in the Mojave Desert >>here
Carbon Sequestration in the Desert: Dr. Michael Allen Paper on Gaps in Desert Research >>here
Letter From an Ecologist: Solar Development Threatens the Desert >>here
Water in the Desert: Wet-Cooling and Dry-Cooling Technology for Solar Thermal Projects >>here
Prioritizing Where to Site Renewable Energy in California: California Energy Commission Workshop May 2012 >>here
Defining Disturbed and Degraded Lands for Renewable Energy >>here
Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for CA, NV, AZ, NM, CO, UT >>here
Solar Done Right Response >>here
Solar Energy Study Areas
Bureau of Land Management plan to designate renewable energy zones in the desert Southwest >>here
West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Zone >>here
Good Plan, Too Late: Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan New Website >>here
BLM Announces Solar Rental Fees for Public Land >>here
Governor's Renewable Energy Policy Conference
March 24, 2010 at UC Riverside, California: Expediting Solar and Wind in the Desert >>here
Expediting Big Solar: Padilla Bill Signed Into Law at Harper Lake (Where CSP Plants May Be Fighting Over Water) >>here
Congressional Field Hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. Chaired by Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), hosted by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) >>here
Reid and Heller Introduce Competitive Lease Solar and Wind Bill for Public Lands >>here
Nevada: American Solar Energy Pilot Leasing Act of 2010 >>here
Solar Demonstration Area in Nevada Test Site by Department of Energy >>here
California Renewable Energy Coordination Offices, Renewable Energy Action Team, and the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan >>here. California Fast-Track solar and wind projects >>here. November 2009 summary of projects in Chuckwalla Valley >>here; more projects >>here
Nevada Fast-Track Projects >>here
Senator Feinstein Bill: California Desert Protection Act of 2010
Proposal for Mojave Trails National Monument and Sands to Snow National Monument, some new wilderness areas, some wilderness study areas removed, and a giant plan for a Mitigation Zone for renewable energy projects >>here. Abengoa Solar and Cogentrix Energy support the bill, according to the California Wilderness Coalition
January 2011: Senator Feinstein Crafts New California Desert Protection Bill Minus Solar Provisions >>here
All Renewable Energy Issues >>here
^February 2013 - Layered limestone hills near Goodspings, Nevada. Mojave yuccas and Joshua trees are green against the gray winter shrubs.
Calendar of Comment Deadlines
Comment on Palen Solar Electric Generating System proceedings >CEC
Ocotillo Wind Project Photos of Night Lights and Red-tailed Hawk >>here
Testing the Solar Power Tower at Ivanpah >>here
Evolutionary Hotspots in the Mojave Desert >>here
Hidden Hills Solar Project Suspended Indefinitely >>here
More Renewable Energy NEWS >>here
Desert Pavement: A Natural Soil Type >>here
"Best In The Desert" 500-mile Off-road Race Vegas to Reno Starts August 20, 2010 >>here
MINING NEWS >>here
Reward Mine Gets Permit >>here
"In the first place you can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you'll see something, maybe."
--Edward Abbey, 1967, Desert Solitaire
MORE CARTOONS >>here.
|All text and photographs Copyright 2010 Basin and Range Watch unless otherwise stated. Basin and Range Watch is an all-volunteer group which does not accept donations from any corporation, individual, or entity.|
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