photo: Lin via flickr
With the Department of the Interior making a loud and public commitment to developing renewable energy on public lands, some conflict over what land was too ecologically important was bound to happen sooner or later. In this case, sooner. California's Senator Dianne Feinstein has indicated that she will push legislation to make some 500,000 acres of the Mojave Desert into a national monument, preserving it from wind or solar power development:Solar Power Plants Could Destroy Desert's Ecosystem
The land in question is referred to as the former Catellus lands, and is located in the southeast corner of the state, in between the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park. The push for the federal purchase of the land was led by The Wildlands Conservancy from 1999-2004, which says that solar power projects planned for the land (currently 14) would harm the area's desert tortoise population and "destroy the entire Mojave Desert ecosystem."
So what do TreeHugger readers think? Keeping in mind that we know all of you value protecting wild spaces, what's the best way to balance the imperative to develop large amounts of renewable energy as quickly as possible and preserving intact ecosystems?
BrightSource to Build 500 Megawatts of Solar-Thermal Power in Mojave Desert
1,300 Megawatts of Solar Thermal Power to be Developed in Mojave Desert by BrightSource Energy
850 MW Solar Thermal Power Plant Seeks California State Approval