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Defending the Desert

A 501(c)(3) Non-profit organization

 
 
 

WELCOME

Basin and Range Watch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit working to conserve the deserts of Nevada and California and to educate the public about the diversity of life, culture, and history of the ecosystems and wild lands of the desert.

Come visit and experience the great beauty of spring wildflowers, vast open vistas, bird watching trails, and wildlife viewing.

>>Contact

emailbasinandrange@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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February Jackrabbit Reading

January 6, 2022 - Pahrump Valley, NV - Join us for another sereies of readings in opposition to utility-scale solar development of the beautiful Mojave Desert south of Pahrump, Nevada, with Mojave Green and Basin and Range Watch.

More >>here

County Commission Votes to Oppose Rough Hat Nye Solar Project!

Pahrump solar sign

^Signs were apparent at PLAN and County Commission meetings in Pahrump, Nevada.

December 23, 2021 - Pahrump NV - In a decisive vistory for local residents facing an industrial solar project in their backyard, Nye County Commissioners voted 5-0 to oppose the controversial Rough Hat Nye Solar Project, which is proposed on public lands on the southern edge of Pahrump. The decision comes afrer weeks of public meetings and presentations by the developer Candela Renewables from Spain to the Public Lands Advisory Committee (PLAN), which heard arguments and passionate pleas from local residents. The Committee eventually made its recommendation to the full County Commission.

Good coverage in the Pahrump Valley Times: https://pvtimes.com/news/nye-county-votes-to-oppose-rough-hat-solar-project-107447/?fbclid=IwAR3GqOk8JSHr0NLba6PDyVpfQ4Bc3S8A18QsoPJqEUlDNZA5yDrWlyO08u8

Basin and Range Watch has attended the meetings held by PLAN, made public comments opposing this project, and participated by Zoom to this County Commission meeting. We live in Nye County, our office is in Nye County, and we regularly visit Pahrump and the surrounding beautiful desert--so this is a priority for us.

Although a setback for the proposed utility-scale solar project, Linda Bullen, attorney for many solar project developers including Candela, said they would be moving forward. She said this is very early in the application process.

The Rough Hat Nye Solar Project will still need to undergo environmental review with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in order to obtain a Right-of-Way to develop on these public lands. This will involve the development of an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), with more opportunities for public comment.

But local public outcry is important, as the County decision not to issue a Special Use Permit can help sway the federal government (BLM) to not moving this solar application forward.

We are writing up our notes from the last PLAN meeting, which gives a good picture of how local opposition influenced the County. Stay tuned. More >>here.

Environmental Groups Pushed to Sacrifice South Pahrump Valley

December 22, 2021 - Pahrump NV - Seeveral national environmental organizations pushed for a solar energy zone in the Mojave Desert, claiming "low conflict", yet the public was explcuded. Now it is happening.

An official Solar Energy Zone was never designated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), yet several environmental organizations pushed for a virtual solar energy zone in south Pahrump Valley, citing "low conflict." We know they were wrong. The public was never given a chance to comment on this "Designated Leasing Area" for solar energy.

This letter from January 2020 is from four large environmental organizations to BLM. Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Wilderness Society request that the area located south of Pahrump be sacrificed for solar energy. More >>here, scroll down.

Equity is Being Ignored With Proposed Massive Lava Ridge Wind Energy Project in Idaho

Minidoka

December 20, 2021 - Twin Falls, Id - This massive Idaho wind project is being pushed through by the Interior Department in spite of strong opposition from Japanese Americans. The Lava Ridge Wind Project in Idaho would be built next to the Minidoka National Historic Site, a World War II Japanese American incarceration camp. 400 gigantic wind turbine generators are proposed across 76,000 acres of mostly public lands lands, next to Craters of the Moon National Monument. More information and maps >>here.

Kulning Wind Project Placed on Low Priority Status

November 14, 2021 - Searchlight, NV - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) placed the unpopular Kulning Wind Project on a Low Priority Status. Low priority means this application will not move forward for a year or more, and the project has been placed on the back burner.

Conservationists applauded the decision, since this wind project application lies in the midst of a dense and beautiful Joshua tree forest and rare desert grasslands, and overlaps with the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument proposal.

The Southern Nevada District of BLM, Energy and Infrastructure Team confirmed the decision on November 13, to Basin and Range Watch, attaching the letter for the BLM's Application Prioritization Decision for the Kulning Wind Energy Project. More >>here, and read the letter.

YellowPine Solar Project November 20 Event!

November 8, 2021 - Pahrump NV - Activist Shannon Salter presents her third Jackrabbita Reading Series event at the site of the utility-scale Yellow Pine Solar Project now under construction, to bring awareness to the other large-scale solar projects proposed to be built in Pahrump Valley on adjacent public lands. More >>here

West Mojave Desert Taking Brunt of Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development

October 29, 2021 - West Mojave Desert and Antelope Valley, CA - At what cost to Western Joshua trees and low to moderate income communities in rural areas of the desert in California? The Aratina Solar Project surrounding the local community of Boron, California, would destroy over 4,000 Western Joshua trees. We thought the Western Joshua tree was moved forward for further protection under state law? See our long history of investigation of impacts of utility-scale energy development in these high-value habitats and public and private lands and communities in the West Mojave and Antelope Valley >>here. We know these areas well, we have lived here.

Mojave Desert Literary Laureate Wins Poetry Prize

^Recovering Joshua tree wildfire: not all Joshua trees were killed, and recovery continues. Photo: Ruth Nolan.

October 23, 2021 - Palm Desert, CA - Mojave Desert Literary Laureate Ruth Nolan has won the 1st runner up award in the Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize 2021 for her new poetry book, After the Dome Fire. This collection of poems reflects on the presence and impacts of Mojave Desert wildfires on people, places, and the ecologic integrity of the desert environment. Some of the poems are drawn from Ruth's own experiences working as a wildland firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management California Desert District.

"The struggle to protect the desert takes many forms, and the increasing number and size of wildfires - for example, the 2020 Dome Fire of the East Mojave National Preserve - are a growing threat to our cherished desert wildlands," says Ruth. "Still, I have hoped to embody, in my poems, the desert's impressive knack for resilience and adaptation following wildfire events, as well as the ferocity of longtime desert dweller's to persevere and find beauty within hardship in this fragile, yet tough, land of isolation and fruitfulness that the Mojave Desert is."

More on the Mojave Desert Literary Laureate >>here.

Proposed Rough Hat Solar Projects Would Take Up Huge Amount of Desert On Southern Edge of Pahrump

^October 12 Pahrump Public Lands Advisory Committee meeting.

October 18, 2021 - Pahrump, NV - On October 12 we attended the Pahrump Public Lands Advisory Committee meeting at 5 p.m., Oct. 12 at the Nye County commissioners’ chambers in Pahrump, to listen and comment on the proposed 500-megawatt Rough Hat Solar Nye Project on 3,400 acres next to the south end of town. See the Nevada Public Utilities Commission filing here: http://pucweb1.state.nv.us/PUC2/DktDetail.aspx. The committee was discussing and bringing up recommendations for the solar projects proposed for southern Nye County: 6 projects in total (see maps below). That equals 18,000 acres of public lands.

The public was incensed, and no person supported this in their public comments. Access to the desert on the south edge of town was a huge issue, with recreational OHV, hiking, walking, exploration, and horse riding mentioned as important to why people moved to Pahrump. The beauty of the desert landscape was brought up.

Do we want to address this as a body? the committee asked. There would apparently be no way through the "road b lock" solar projects for off-highway vehicles and horsemen. The Trout Canyon Translocation Area to the south of the Tecopa Road--the area where hundreds of federally threatened Mojave desert tortoises would be moved to from the solar developments before construction--also raised questions concerning future access of those areas. The solar developer said this had not been finslaized yet, but an option to move tortoises to the Stump Springs Area of Critical Environmental Concern was under consideration. The committee admitted there were a lot of loose ends about the solar projects, public lands access, and visual resource management.

The solar developers were present, from Candela Renewables out of San Francisco, a subsidiary of a multinational Spanish natural gas company. They were scheduled to give a presentation to the committee that evening.

Much more >>here.

Desert Apocalypse Film Series: Three Episodes Available On Our YouTube Channel

October 1, 2021 - Thanks to creative filmmaker Justin McAffee for filming and producing these videos in the film series Desert Apocalypse. We are grateful for his expertise in telling our story of conserving desert ecosystems, preserving history and culture, and highlighting the threats to local communities. See the links to the complete film series to date >>here, and stay tuned for more!

October 16 Poetry Reading at the Yellow Pine Solar Project

September 18, 2021 - Please join Shannon Salter and other readers at the site of the approved Yellow Pine Solar Project in south Pahrump Valley, Nevada, for poetry, campout and art party! This will be fun. We will film live clips and share on social media. Thank you Shannon! More >>here.

Oberon Solar Project Application Would Destroy Desert Ironwood Forests

^Desert irownoods on the higher site of the proposed Oberon Solar Project, looking down at Desert Harvest and Desert Sunlight Solar farms in operation, Chuckwalla Valley CA.

UPDATE September 8, 2021 - Our quick notes and Zoom screenshots of tonight's public meeting about the Oberson Solar Project Environmental Assessment hotsed by Bureau of Land Management and Intersect Power >>here.

September 4, 2021 - Chuckwalla Valley, Riverside County, CA - We visited the site of the proposed Oberon Renewable Energy Project, a photovoltaic solar project propised on one of the worst sites in Chuckwalla Valley--full of microphyll woodland, washes, a crucial connectivity corridor for wildlife, archaeological sites, Federally Threatened Mojave desert tortoise Critical Habitat, and a healthy population of Mojave fringe-toed lizards (Uma scoparia). This Colorado Desert landscape should be protected in full as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and not included as part of a large Development Focus Area for energy under the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP).

During the planning process for the DRECP, the environmental review for this amendment of the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) under the Federal Lands and Policy management Act (FLMPA), none of us were consulted about where this Development Focus Area (DFA), or "solar energy zone" should be located. This was all decided behind closed doors, with vague maps, not generally available to the public. We never agreed to this desert being developed for utility-scale solar energy sprawl. More photos and information on how to comment in public meetings >>here.

100 Square Miles of Solar on Public Lands: Esmeralda County, Nevada, Solar Applications

Lone Mtn

^Lone Mountain with snow, March 2019, Nye County, Nevada, with utility-scale solar projects proposed for the basin just below.

September 1, 2021 - Tonopah, Nye County, NV - Various solar developers are scurrying to place applications for very large photovoltaic solar projects on public lands in the Great Basin, in the latest solar gold rush to mark territory along the proposed high-voltage Greenlink West Transmission Project. If this 525 kiloVolt long transmission line were to be built, it would open up nearly every basin in southwestern Nevada from Reno to Las Vegas to large-scale solar energy project development.

So far the applications amount to approximately 63,000 acres--nearly 100 square miles of solar development!

Basin and Range Watch toured the area today along with filmmaker Justin McAffee, despite the heavy smoke flowing from the Caldor Fire and other California wildfires--which raises the question: with so many hundreds of thousands of acres of Sierran and Cascade habitats going up in flames, do we need to destroy more desert habitat for industrial energy projects, when solar panels can very easily go on already-disturbed lands, and onto rooftops and over parking lots? With climate change looming, we need to preserve every last acre of intact, healthy native plant communities and wildlife habitat, including these undisturbed Nevada basins.

pronghorn

^A core Pronghorn antelope herd area exists in this basin. We saw a herd of antelope on our tour of the proposed solar development application area today, at the far southern end of Big Smoky Valley. Solar projects would impact these antelope. Photo by Kevin Emmerich.

Here is the press release from Bureau of Land Management in full, which we distributed far and wide throughout our grassroots network, since BLM failed to notice this widely to the public and local communities which would be effected (we noted that after repeated calls today by Basin and Range Watch for more information, and threats of Freedom of Information Act requests, BLM has updated this page today to include links to Plans of Development for most of these solar projects--we attempt to include these links, but please visit the original BLM press release page if links do not work; we also are archiving these PDFs because we have noticed renewable energy documents disappearing over the years from government websites):


BLM TO HOST VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETINGS FOR PROPOSED SOLAR PROJECTS NEAR ESMERALDA SUBSTATION

CARSON CITY, Nev. – In support of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to permit 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands by 2025 and to achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free energy by 2035, the Bureau of Land Management will host two virtual public meetings to discuss proposed solar and energy storage projects on Wednesday, Sept. 8, and Thursday, Sept. 9.

These proposed projects would be located in the vicinity of the Esmeralda Substation and the proposed 525-kilovolt GreenLink West transmission line in unincorporated Esmeralda County. Six applicants have requested right-of-way grants to construct, operate and decommission seven solar projects on public lands, as follows:

Esmeralda Solar Energy Center Project [link removed as of 9-1-2021?], NextEra Energy Resources: 500-megawatt solar and energy storage project on approximately 8,804 acres of public lands.


Nivloc Solar Energy Project, Invenergy Solar: 500-megawatt solar and energy storage project on approximately 8,635 acres of public lands.


Smoky Valley Solar Project, ConnectGen: 1,000-megawatt solar and energy storage project on approximately 5,128 acres of public lands.


Rhyolite Ridge I Solar Project, 8minute Solar Energy: 600-megawatt solar and energy storage project on approximately 6,368 acres of public lands.


Rhyolite Ridge II Solar Project, 8minute Solar Energy: 600-megawatt solar and energy storage project on approximately 6,810 acres of public lands.


Gold Dust Solar, Arevia Power: 1500-megawatt solar photovoltaic and 1,000 MW battery energy storage project on approximately 17,018 acres of public lands.


Esmeralda Solar Project, Leeward Renewable Energy: 650 MW solar and energy storage project on approximately 8,700 acres of public lands.


The purpose of these public meetings is to provide information on the proposed projects and to solicit public input which will be incorporated into applications for Variance Approval as required by the Solar Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision. Topics will include an overview of the projects, discussion of size, capacity, structures, timeline and environmental concerns that are known at this time.

Meeting information for Sept. 8, 6:30-7:30 p.m. PDT is as follows:

Video conference: https://dudek.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IJ-u4KhFRbSqNLEFzOE6Wg. To access by phone, dial 1-866-807-9684. Please ask to be connected to the Pine Nut and Mason Valley call.

Meeting information for Sept. 9, 6:30-7:30 p.m. PDT is as follows:

Video conference: https://dudek.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IJ-u4KhFRbSqNLEFzOE6Wg. To access by phone, dial 1-669-900-6833 or 1-929-205-6099, passcode 971-8284-4088. You will be connected to the Esmerelda Solar Variance Projects meeting.

For more information contact Greg Helseth at 775-885-6000.

Lone mountain may

Lone Mountain, an ancient granitic core of a Jurassic volcano from 200 million years ago when this part of Nevada was part the Limestone Sea. This was then a volcanic island in that sea, perhaps inhabited by dinosaurs. The basin in the foreground, with widespread greasewood plant communities and playas, is the site of one of the many proposed solar projects in this area west of Tonopah, Nevada. This is intact, undisturbed habitat. Photo May 2016, by Laura Cunningham.

vast view

^Lone Mountain and Smoky Valley seen from a volcanic hill. October 2016.

Check back here at our page on the Esmeralda Solar Complex in the coming days with more updates. Basin and Range Watch is the only organization, apparently, tracking these energy projects on public lands, and reporting the information in detail.

Vast Utility-scale Solar Projects Threaten Rhyolite and Death Valley National Park

August 28, 2021 - Beatty NV - This is how long it takes to drive through the proposed Beatty Solar Energy Center. Film-maker Justin McAffee followed Basin and Range Watch on a drive from ribbon to ribbon placed by Beatty townspeople along State Route 374, just west of town, for miles and miles, to the entrance of Death Valley National Park in Amargosa Valley, Nevada (YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/Box7yod7kdo). We wanted to give people an idea of how vast and gigantic these utility-scale solar projects truly are, on the gound, in the real world. Not maps or acreage figures.

Another large solar project, SB Solar, also is proposed for this region of the northern Amargosa Valley on public land in Nevada next to Death Valley. The proposed Greenlink West Transmission Project would open up this remote and beautiful northern Mojave Desert region for large-scale energy development, and the local town and many visitors say No!

For more on this controversial solar project proposed on land managed by the Bureau of Land Manegament, see >>here.

Yellow Pine Solar: First in Film Series by Justin McAffee

August 29, 2021 - Pahrump Valley, NV - Filmmaker Justin McAffee travels with Basin and Range Watch to explore what's at stake at the Yellow Pine Solar project site in Pahrump Valley. They discover thousands of old-growth yucca and the endangered desert tortoise, among countless other species in the Mojave Desert that are threatened here and throughout thousands of square miles in Nevada. https://youtu.be/3xTv20sbVEU

More on the Yellow Pine Solar Project >>here.

Battle Born Solar Project Withdrawn!

July 29, 201 - Overton and Logandale, NV - The developer proposing to build one of the largest solar projects on public lands in the West, withdrew its application in a letter, shared by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on July 21. Oustanding resource concerns that were not resolved, lead to this decision. The BLM told us in an email they would accept the withdrawal.

We credit the local communities for stepping up and protecting the Lower Mormon Mesa in their backyard, proud to be "NIMBYs" in order to care for the lands they recreate on and live next to.

Local resident Lisa Hayes Childs in particular, organized a persistent effort to push back against energy development on the Mesa, forming a group Save Our Mesa, organizing film projects, tours, events, trash clean-ups, and other days highlighting how special the Mesa is to the local communities. They successfully highlighted this special land, its artworks, scenery, Jeep routes, and how people come here to watch the sunset, camp, and explore the incredible vistas of rivers and mountain views. We participated in a few of these events.

Read more about the letter from Arevia Power, and a statement by grassroots organizer Lisa Hayes Childs >>here.

Media articles of interest:

https://mvprogress.com/2021/07/28/our-mesa-saved-application-withdrawn-on-huge-battle-born-solar-project/?fbclid=IwAR2sxjGvjgn16679pYyLIQYdiKFhoOJdpF8EJlYw1h4KFh_uaqsfdPWLw60

https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/more-solar-projects-are-coming-whose-responsibility-is-it-to-plan-for-where-they-go

https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/plans-scrapped-for-huge-solar-array-north-of-las-vegas-2405042/?fbclid=IwAR2dkee4oD0_zcllwUpjaONa_JGzHxOcDnlfbURmSc_aGr64Sh4fYnjJ5gs

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.ktnv.com/news/battle-born-solar-project-planned-for-the-moapa-valley-has-been-canceled%3f_amp=true?fbclid=IwAR26FI24RknSC-0Vs32Xs-cdlKr5lzUjoG0GS4DdP6CViaJNWD8NHxRNeMM

New Film Series Debut: DESERT APOCALYPSE, Assault on Desert Habitats

July 26, 2021 - Las Vegas, NV - Nevada is moving forward with the GreenLink transmission system, which would enable an unprecedented opening up of 9 million acres of public lands for industrial energy development, mostly solar, with no regard for the fragile but rich ecosystems in the Mojave and Great Basin. Massive utility-scale solar projects are planned or already under construction on desert tortoise habitat. Desert Apocalypse, as the name suggests, is an exposé of this plan to destroy our deserts.

Nevada independent filmmaker Justin McAffee is producing a series of short films, in cooperation with the Nevada-based conservation nonprofit Basin and Range Watch, to go out into the field to observe the destruction first-hand.

Desert Apocalypseboldly questions assumptions concerning our renewable energy future, the toll taken on biodiversity, and how local people forge paths to protecting these high-value public lands. McAffee describes the film series as about the assault on desert habitats.

“The extinction rate is currently 1,000 times the background rate of the last 60 million years,” described Justin McAffee, filmmaker. “Scientists everywhere are now warning that the biodiversity crisis is as much a threat to humanity as the climate crisis. Destroying millions of acres of fragile ecosystems isn’t a solution to any of our problems, and would in fact be part of it.”

Conservation groups and many local communities in the Silver State have been for years questioning how “green” these large-scale solar projects really are. The film follows some of the desert activists who have been fighting to defend the desert.

“I live here in the Mojave Desert, and see the destruction of habitats and public lands first-hand,” said Laura Cunningham, Co-Founder of Basin and Range Watch. “We recreate here, hike here, enjoy the dark night skies here. Nevada has an incredible heritage of wide open spaces, a rare thing that many people seek out, and rich biodiversity. We should not make our state the national sacrifice zone for solar panels that can easily go on the abundant urban rooftops and carports.”

The impacts of large-scale solar projects on Nevada’s public lands are plain to see. The Yellow Pine Solar Project is already under construction on over 3,000 acres of public lands in south Pahrump Valley, Nevada. The solar project will destroy an estimated 92,000 Mojave yucca plants—too many to transplant. Badgers have killed a third of the desert tortoises translocated off the project site, and the Bureau of Land Management is re-initiating consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over this federally threatened species.

"It is a myth that any large-scale energy can be renewable when entire ecosystems are sacrificed just to build one or two solar projects," said Kevin Emmeriich, Co-Founder of Basin and Range Watch. "We are seeing large-numbers of Mojave Desert imperiled species like the desert tortoise be needlessly killed and displaced by these projects."

Recently the poorly-sited Battle Born Solar Project--proposed to tear apart the unique lower Mormon Mesa in Clark County, Nevada--was withdrawn by the developer over popular protests and acknowledgement of the unique biological, geological, recreational, and public land values this land holds.

Filmmaker Justin McAffee intends to cover a wide range of geographic areas in Nevada, and the many solar projects planned or built on public lands, as well as track the people who are trying to defend these unique desert landscapes. The first film in the series can now be viewed.

“While it isn’t the most popular opinion to oppose solar development right now, the science backs up finding ways to reduce energy use and at a minimum, properly siting solar on the ample areas that are solar ready, rather than destroying vast areas of habitat,” said McAffee. “I don’t apologize for defending living ecosystems. Thankfully there are many others in Nevada who feel the same way. I look forward to telling their stories too.”

View the film and trailers now live on the new website Desert Apocalypse.

See the trailer here.

Solar Project Causes Tortoise Die-off

July 7, 2021 - South Pahrump Valley, NV-

Read the rest of the story >>here

Rhyolite Ghost Town View In Danger From Proposed Beatty Solar Energy Center Next to Death Valley

June 5, 2021 - Rhyolite NV - NextEra as Boulevard Associates is proposing a utilty-scale solar project of 6,500 acres next to the famous Rhyolite Ghost Town, along the boundary of Death Valley National Park, and the project would surround the Titus Canyon Road entrance. It can't get much worse than this on how to locate energy sprawl. See photos, maps, and more >>here.

Greenlink Transmission Project: Public Meetings To Be Held in Nevada Towns in Late June

June 3, 2021 - Beatty NV - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has informed us by telephone that they plan to hold two informational public meetings on the Greenlink Transmission Line project:

Monday, June 21 - Centennial Hills Library, Multipurpose Room, 6711 North Buffalo Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89131.

Tuesday, June 22 - Beatty Town Community Center, 100 Avenue South, Beatty NV 89003

Wednesday June 23 - Mineral County Library, 110 First St., Hawthorne, NV 89415.

Thursday June 24 - Yerington City Hall Building, 102 South Main St., Yerington NV89447.

Each meeting workshop will start at 5:00 PM, and repeat at 6:00 PM Pacific.

BLM tells us the Notice of Intent to start an environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act will be published in April 2022, the start of an Environmental Impact Statement and public comment.

Greenlink West and North Transmission Lines: Opening Up Energy Development in Nevada Wildlands

March 6, 2021 - Western Nevada public lands and private properties - New Nevada Transmission Lines: Green Link West and North are coming to the wildlands and deserts near you.


Green Link West will go from the Mira Loma Substation near Reno to Las Vegas. NV Energy has already hired contractors to do biology studies. The new Interior Department is using Secretarial Order 3355 issued by the Trump Administration to fast track this one. That means the entire review must be complete in one year. The Environmental Impact Statement will come out in 2023 and Bureau of Land Management says the project will be built by 2026. That is the Biden Administration falling back on the Trump Administration. We are told there will be a number of eminent domain cases just for the Greenlink West line. The goal of both projects is to enable tens of thousands of acres of new solar, wind, pumped storage and geothermal projects in remote Nevada locations. We will have more info soon, check back >>here.


http://clearinghouse.nv.gov/public/Notice/2021/E2021-098.pdf

Yellow Pine Poet Rally!

poets

February 27, 2021 - South Pahrump Valley, Nevada - Basin and Range Watch held a live and virtual gathering along the Old Spanish Trail Highway at the Stump Spring turnoff to bring attention to the grand plans to industrialize the entire area with 5 large-scale solar project and a new substation and transmission lines. One project, Yellow Pine Solar, has already been approved by BLM and will destroy 90,000 old growth Mojave yucca plants on 3,000 acres (4.6 square miles) of lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management. In total, there are 5 more proposed solar projects in this area. One for the California side and 4 for the Nevada side. In total, over 17,000 acres are being considered for development of huge solar projects in the region. We estimate that over 600,000 Mojave yuccas, 30,000 Joshua trees and 2,000 desert tortoises would all be impacted by these plans. Also being sacrificed are archeological sites and public access to BLM lands.

In addition, Congress recently passed a spending bill that included building five times the current number of renewable energy projects on public land by 2025. We need an urgent discussion about where to build this infrastructure, and how to do it without ruining our desert ecosystems.

Poetry Readings in the Desert: photos, poems, videos >> here!

Occupy Yellow Pine Desert

March 15, 2021 - Pahrump Valley, NV - Join us for an impromptu meet-up along Tecopa Road, to witness the Yellow Pine Solar Project construction. PDF of the flyer.

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Clark County, Nevada, Lands Bill -- No!

^White-margined beardtongue (Penstemon albomarginatus): https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?enlarge=0000+0000+0306+0832

March 3, 2021 - Senator Cortez-Masto will introduce the Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act today. Also known as the Clark County Public Lands Bill, this will give over 42,000 acres of Mojave Desert away to sprawl developers around Jean, Nevada, and the northern Ivanpah Valley where desert tortoises and rare plants such as white-margined beardtoungue live. It will encourage thousands of more people to move to southern Nevada and increase smog. It will create new off-highway vehicle areas in tortoise habitat. It is also said to encourage water pipelines, pumped storage and wind projects.

The bill will encourage almost one million additional people in the area by developing public lands, but they are spinning it as conservation. The wilderness areas would not likely see development pressure. This is a cookie cutter sprawl bill.

https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/cortez-masto-introduces-clark-county-lands-bill-to-expand-las-vegas-footprint-designate-public-land-for-conversation?fbclid=IwAR1siNirJ9h-CQTS4clsRm9w3pMdRBVnRvjF172Y0Qa_FRHLQpfcR585hW4

Too many environmental groups got behind this. To be clear, it will expand the blob of Las Vegas by over 30,000 acres. More smog, roads and less Mojave Desert habitat for wilderness in areas that never would be developed anyway. The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is already protected. If the military wants to take it again, Congress can override the wilderness designations.

https://pvtimes.com/news/cortez-masto-titus-sponsor-lands-bill-for-southern-nevada-96434/?fbclid=IwAR3HFwXaolYZoao2Wd5r1IUKESIsrn84ExQpqmpc_E_lD5x9xTSSshXtg04

Sprawl legislation:

https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/nevada-lands-bill-sets-aside-2m-acres-for-conservation-2293957/?fbclid=IwAR2Jqz9UrLR_hopKQZs42T_qiYOyGlUL0Wcumnc3VtybnSgT0RJ6c8EU_o0

Gives away too much public land to developers. Creates huge off highway vehicle zones in unwanted areas like Sandy Valley. Pushes a water pipeline under the McCullough Range to support unwanted growth. The wilderness areas are not a good trade. Developers can go right up boundaries.

https://www.cortezmasto.senate.gov/news/press-releases/cortez-masto-introduces-southern-nevada-economic-development-and-conservation-act?fbclid=IwAR2gRI_7w5DdkvUd-u2yWoG5VF_BUsMuKd0ZCmIz61_CNikKMIjqjlqAkAQ

https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/water-authority-wants-to-drill-through-sloan-conservation-area-for-pipeline-2295118/?fbclid=IwAR3axBARMLhql_ggnkhrr-T5A5LaMau-WkeQwq6bQekvVcZFH8ZjNVjUmjQ

More >>here.

Basin and Range Watch Co-Founder Interview

November 14, 2020 - KNPR in Nevada interviews Kevin Emmerich on his vision for deefending the desert. A must read!

https://knpr.org/knpr/2020-11/meet-founder-holdout-conservation-group-opposing-big-solar?fbclid=IwAR2FyQ-j78HrSHWY1lmQlKdODOX_SrsGofIghr5EcwaJF_WrB1XIE3i_JFg

Yellow Pine Solar Project Approved and New De Facto Solar Energy Zone in South Pahrump Valley

November 6, 2020 - Pahrump NV - The Bureau of Land Management approved the Yellow Pine Solar Project On November 6, 2020. Impacts to desert tortoise, over 80,000 Mojave yuccas, desert pavement and old soil crust will not be adequately mitigated. Basin and Range Watch will appeal the decision.

https://www.blm.gov/press-release/bureau-land-management-approves-yellow-pine-solar-project?fbclid=IwAR0ToenXPwkUbaY7BV3IyLmWxojq-To-sLxTdxMqyqHDxYaIHsgR56NdsIE

But several new applications surrounding the Yellow Pine project, on equally pristine Mojave Desert, call into question the entire process of the Solar Programmatic environmental review of years ago where solar developers were supposed to be incentived to build in supposedly lower value Solar Energy Zones. No Solar Energy Zone exists in Pahrump Valley, yet developers are flocking here because of the availability of existing high-voltage transmission lines. More >>here.

NEWS ARCHIVE >>here.

Our Magazine of the Desert: El Paisano Continued!

El Paisano

December 23, 2018 -- It's finally here! Our newsletter of the desert. As an all-volunteer group we slowly developed this continuation of the venerable El Paisano, which dates back to 1955, as published by the Desert Protective Council (DPC). DPC gave us permission to continue to publish this newsletter.

Download the 6.5 MB PDF of El Paisano December 2018 (Vol.1 No. 1)

Here is a summary of El Paisano by Jim Styles in The Canyon Country Zephyr, 2014:

"The DPC began to publish the El Paisano in the Spring of 1955. In these fascinating 1950s quarterly volumes, the reader learns that the founders and members of the fledgling organization hit the ground running, immediately forming issues committees, informing themselves about issues related to their particular interest and taking action on controversial plans for the desert across Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.

"There apparently was no scarcity of ill-advised proposals for the desert even in the 1950s. Early newsletters document the political savvy and lack of timidity of the early Board and advisory panel members. Some of the problems DPC tackled in the early years, such as the threat from uranium mining in Joshua Tree and the battle to save the Grand Canyon from a dam, have been solved, but a plethora of new threats to the desert have arisen that could not have been conceived of in the 1950s. The onslaught of bad ideas for the use of our deserts has increased with the growing human population of the southwest. Exploitation of the desert for minerals and desert ground water, military expansion, poaching, rampant resort development, industrialization by massive energy projects and transmission lines, new freeways and the proliferation of off-road vehicles continue to fragment desert habitats."

Stay tuned for more issues of El Paisano. We may make this a quarterly magazine, possibly with print and digital versions in the future. For now this will be a downloadable PDF digital magazine.

Thank you for your support to help us publish this! We are honored to continueEl Paisano.

 

 

 

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Calendar of Comment Deadlines:

Greenlink West Transmission Line Proposal NEPA starts April 2022--stay tuned

Lava Ridge Wind Project, Idaho-Draft EIS may be out summer 2022

Rough Hat Nye Solar Project, Nevada-in Variance Process, pre-NEPA-stay tuned!

Rough Hat Clark Solar Project, Nevada-in Variance Process, pre-NEPA-stay tuned!

Copper Rays Solar Project, Nevada-in Varance Process, pre-NEPA-stay tuned!

Yellow Pine Solar Project, Nevada-join Rabbit Camp to protest! >>mojavegreen.org

Oberon Solar Project, CA-about to be approved!

Support Proposed New Avi Kwa Ame National Monument Under Antiquities Act >>here

 

 

 

Sign up for our Email Newsletter! >>here

 

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"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

 

"Polite conversationalists leave no mark, save the scar upon the earth that could have been prevented had they stood their ground."

--David Brower

 

"Only within the 20th Century has biological thought been focused on ecology, or the relation of the living creature to its environment. Awareness of ecological relationships is — or should be — the basis of modern conservation programs, for it is useless to attempt to preserve a living species unless the kind of land or water it requires is also preserved."

--Rachel Carson, Essay on the Biological Sciences, in, Good Reading (1958)

 

 

 

 

^Amargosa Valley view from near Longstreet, Nevada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Text and photographs Copyright 2020 Basin and Range Watch unless otherwise stated. Basin and Range Watch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.