National Parks Group Weighs in on the Future of Desert Solar Development

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   July 25, 2012
Contact:   David Lamfrom, California Desert Senior Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association: 760-219-4916
Kati Schmidt, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association. Office: 415.728.0840; Mobile: 415.847.1767


National Parks Group Weighs in on the Future of Desert Solar Development

Statement by David Lamfrom, California Desert Senior Program Manager

Background:
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Department of Energy (DOE), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Department of the Interior’s (DOI)  Final Solar Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) was announced to the public this week, after months of refinements and years of input, public voice and process, and extensive review of natural and cultural resources in these poorly studied and biologically rich landscapes.

“Today represents a step-forward in our national dialogue about where we can and cannot responsibly develop renewable energy on public lands. The administration has accomplished many of its goals in developing renewable energy, and has shown increased leadership by reducing conflicts on many sensitive public lands. Positive movements include recognizing the values in and restricting further development of the tortoise-rich Ivanpah Valley; the rocky volcanic lava flows of the Pisgah Valley; the Catellus lands previously donated to conservation; the southern Death Valley gateway communities; and already designated areas of critical environmental concern, among others.”

“We encourage the administration to further refine their improved preferred alternative, to further remove sensitive variance lands from the 19 million acres currently proposed, including those surrounding Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and Mojave National Preserve. We also urge smart decision making when it comes to siting current and future applications on lands with sensitive natural and cultural resources and those rich in historic values.This process has been modified due to the recognition that there are right and wrong places for renewable energy development. We encourage continued refinements and incentives for siting projects in designated zones.”

“Our public lands and national parks in particular are a source of great pride, identity, and income. This process helps protect many important conservation lands in the California desert and throughout the Southwest. While refinements are needed, this is an important step toward energy independence. This process and future decisions must protect our most sensitive resources and most beautiful places for our generation, our children, and grandchildren.  We have entrusted these decisions to the Bureau of Land Management, and require that they act in our shared interest.”  

 

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