Where’s the EPA in the Mojave Desert? Heck, where are the environmentalists?
Funny how some projects attract the EPA like flies to, well, you know and others? Meh. The LA Times reports:
Construction cranes rise like storks 40 stories above the Mojave Desert. In their midst, the "power tower" emerges, wrapped in scaffolding and looking like a multistage rocket.
Clustered nearby are hangar-sized assembly buildings, looming berms of sand and a chain mail of fencing that will enclose more than 3,500 acres of public land. Moorings for 173,500 mirrors — each the size of a garage door — are spiked into the desert floor. Before the end of the year, they will become six square miles of gleaming reflectors, sweeping from Interstate 15 to the Clark Mountains along California’s eastern border.
BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah solar power project will soon be a humming city with 24-hour lighting, a wastewater processing facility and a gas-fired power plant. To make room, BrightSource has mowed down a swath of desert plants, displaced dozens of animal species and relocated scores of imperiled desert tortoises, a move that some experts say could kill up to a third of them.
Despite its behemoth footprint, the Ivanpah project has slipped easily into place, unencumbered by lasting legal opposition or public outcry from California’s boisterous environmental community.
Interesting. No EPA interference. The Enviro crowd rolls over. The project has all of the things which in normal circumstances (i.e. if it was a petro-chemical project) would have it tied up for years both in red tape and court cases.
But for this?
Endangered species? Fuggitaboutit. This is important ideological agenda stuff for the “enviro” crowd.
Away from public scrutiny, they crafted a united front in favor of utility-scale solar development, often making difficult compromises.
Compromises? It is full-scale capitulation. It is abject hypocrisy. It is an example of why the environmental community is seen by many as more ideologically driven than environmentally driven. It explains why their motives are suspect.
Take a look at this page in which you’ll see a conception of the finished project, the impact it has on the desert and the number of projects being developed in California and then just ask yourself what that same environmental community would be doing if the name of the developer was Exxon-Mobil instead of BrightSource.
"The scale of impacts that we are facing, collectively across the desert, is phenomenal," said Dennis Schramm, former superintendent at neighboring Mojave National Preserve. "The reality of the Ivanpah project is that what it will look like on the ground is worse than any of the analyses predicted."
In the fight against climate change, the Mojave Desert is about to take one for the team.
Yet barely a whimper raised by environmentalists over the scale and impact of these projects on what they claim to hold most sacred.