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View Diary: CO-Sen: Mark Udall (D) Pushes For Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act (18 comments)

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  •  Can we stop enacting hatred of wilderness (5+ / 0-)

    out via policy?  I don't want our remaining grasslands and prairies turned into solar arrays any more than I want them to be mining developments.

    Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change -- George Monbiot.

    by Nulwee on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:01:10 PM PST

    •  I agree... What I want is a vertical windmill (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, Mark Mywurtz, Leftcandid

      at my house. Paying one company over another to trample all over protected forest and range land is not my idea of progress.

      The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

      by MeToo on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:06:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Udall is a *huge* champion of wilderness (7+ / 0-)

      He has cosponsored innumerable wilderness protection bills, both when he was in the House and now the Senate. In particular, he's sponsored America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, which would protect over 9 million acres of public land in Utah. He's also been a cosponsor of bills to protect as wilderness the Arctic Refuge coastal plain, among other places.

      I fully agree with you that we need to be concerned about industrializing the landscape with energy projects, whether renewable or fossil fuel or nuclear. But there are some places where properly sited renewable energy projects are, in my mind, acceptable, but only if there is strict oversight.

      What is not acceptable are energy projects in wilderness quality lands, and this includes renewable energy and fossil fuels. There are millions of acres of non-wilderness public land that could be used for this purpose. But we need to save the true wilderness and other landscapes and treasures. This certainly includes grasslands and prairies.

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

      by willyr on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 04:01:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was tempted to title this diary, CO-Sen: (0+ / 0-)

        Mark Udall (D), A.K.A. Captain Planet but I thought it would've been cheesy.  

        Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

        by poopdogcomedy on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 04:06:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am also concerned that this opens the lands (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        willyr

        up to additional fossil fuel development. If the RE folks can have land for their projects, why shouldn't we be able to drill the shit out of Canyons of the Ancients? [not that they're not doing so already].

        I know Udall's heart is in the right place on this, but how do we avoid the next 'logical' escalations?

        "I can't do it by myself. No president can. Remember: Change doesn't happen from the top. It happens because of you." B Obama, 2008

        by nzanne on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 04:13:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How? Eternal vigilance (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FarWestGirl, 6412093

          Well, eternal vigilance and the enactment of laws permanently protecting our natural resources and wild lands. And then enforcing the laws.

          Tough job. And it's not being done now in most places, that's for sure.

          Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

          by willyr on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 04:21:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Renewables are non-destructive, nothing is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          6412093

          removed, no waste or refuse. Just requiring all those things would let out extractive industries from the git go.

          Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
          ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

          by FarWestGirl on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:32:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MGross, willyr

            renewable energy developers still tear the heck out of the lands where they're building, especially with lax federal oversight. Every site I snuck onto, I found  they ripped up lands outside their lease area, didn't reclaim bulldozed areas,  didn't try to follow the natural drainages, didn't install erosion control measures, didn't replant, left construction wastes, and so on.

            when I took the pictures to the federal lands managers they threatened to have me arrested for trespassing on public lands.

            Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

            by 6412093 on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 07:48:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Much of the eastern, windy CO Plains is rangeland (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willyr, FarWestGirl, 6412093

      interspersed with farmland that is not really a candidate for pristine preservation.

      IMO windmills are one of the few forms of existing technology that can coexist well with an otherwise largely natural state of land.  Yeah, there needs to be installation, & a service road, but then the impact is minimal.  Compared to mining/logging impacts--tailings, deforestation, water pollution, etc.--wind is fairly friendly.  

      On solar arrays, I'm with you; those take up horizontal space & are more impactful.  Solar is more ideally distributed in private urban settings--an environment in which wind is more hit & miss--than in large arrays.

    •  Most of the large solar (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MGross

      plants on public lands are not arrays of acres of solar panels, they are smaller facilities with mirrors that concentate the sun's rays. That said, they are still large industrial structures.  

      I favor this proposed legislation partly because our public lands in the West couldn't be managed much worse.

      Cogentrix, a coal fired power company, squatted on tens of thousands of acres of land leases for years, thwarting solar development in Nevada.

      Wind and solar plant approvals dragged on for years, even after Cogentrix got run off.

      Taxpayers deserve some revenue from these projects, since the developers are raking in Dept. of Energy loans, and alternative energy tax breaks.  Meanwhile billion-dollar gold mining operations still get federal land for free and don't pay any royalties.

      I treasure the grasslands and prairies on public lands too, but Nevada is a very big place, cut apart by a series of
      mountain ranges running kind of northeast-  southwest.

      If just one or two of those valleys between the ranges contained lots of wind and solar, and had industrial strength transmission lines, it could probably power most of the Southwest.  Then we could close some of those coal mines and their power plants on public land and reopen those areas to the public domain.

      I've visited many renewable planst and mining sites  on public lands throughout the West.  As other commentors said, there are millions of acres of well, prosaic, lands available that isn't wilderness or forest.

      Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

      by 6412093 on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 07:43:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Renewable energy siting bill -public lands (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        This is what I find curious, why all the emphasis on public lands siting for energy projects? We have been told repeatedly that the private sector is always smarter, better, more efficient.  Private lands in the west tend to be much closer to point-of-use. That is an important consideration for electricity which has such high line loss. It seems obvious that brownfields redevelopment and other private development is probably better for society as a whole.
         Another thing to consider. Both FS and BLM are ridiculously underfunded. A bill that has them re-doing all their forest plans and RMP's to conform to these big projects in two years or less is going to take money and staff. Any bets that our congress is going to fund 'big government'? And if you say 'we can contract it out." I would say that contracting NEPA, FLPMA, NFMA ESA compliance will definitely jack up the price to astronomical levels.

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