|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||January 26, 2012|
|Contact:||David Lamfrom, California Desert Senior Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, 760-219-4916, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kati Schmidt, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, Office: 415-989-9921 x22, Cell: 415.847.1768
As Sun Sets on Solar Process, National Parks, Wildlife Still at Risk
Statement by David Lamfrom, California Desert Senior Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association
“The Solar PEIS process amounts to a public dialogue about which Southwestern lands are or are not appropriate for industrial-scale renewable energy development. We must work together to prevent surrounding our national parks with industrial projects or cutting them off from connected lands when better alternatives exist. As we look to the centennial of our National Park System and its continued vitality, it is absolutely crucial that we honor and protect these important places.”
“NPCA has worked with communities, elected officials, and desert residents to raise local awareness of the impacts of poorly-sited industrial solar projects to national parks, wildlife corridors, and to pristine desertscapes. Thousands of our supporters have joined us in echoing these concerns. The Administration has listened, and now has the opportunity – and the responsibility - to step-up to protect the desert by making sure projects are located in appropriate places.”
“While there is a profusion of suitable sites for solar and alternative energy facilities, developing these facilities in the shadow of our national parks and in pristine desert habitat – a land that has been likened to the rainforest in its rich diversity - is not a sustainable or a low-conflict solution.”
“By providing public land and publicly-funded incentives to develop renewable energy, we are entering into a trust with the federal government and the companies that will develop critical renewable energy. We believe that trust requires that we all work in partnership to protect our national parks, wildlife, unrivaled open spaces, and deep night sky. It is imperative that projects sited in the desert don’t compromise these values.”
Solar energy is one of our country’s most promising energy sources for reducing America’s current reliance on coal-fired power plants that contribute to unhealthy air quality in communities across the country, as well as our national parks. NPCA advocates for establishing smart environmental policies and mitigation strategies for solar energy projects to bring clean, renewable solar energy to market more quickly.
The Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) provides opportunity for the public to comment on which Southwestern lands are or are not appropriate for industrial-scale renewable energy development. Throughout this process, thousands of citizens have spoken out against siting renewable energy projects on the park’s doorsteps. The administration took a leadership role by removing and reconfiguring solar energy zones proved to be harmful to sensitive park resources before submitting its supplemental PEIS. Despite progress made, the revised proposal to allow projects outside of agreed-upon zones would be harmful to national parks in the desert and beyond.
An interactive map depicting proposed solar development areas and lands including national parks and monuments, can be found at: http://solarmapper.anl.gov/solarmapper/
The Solar PEIS can be found at http://solareis.anl.gov/documents/dpeis/index.cfm. Comments on the PEIS are encouraged, and must be submitted by January 27, 2012.