Bush’s BLM had put a moratorium on solar energy lease applications for development on public lands wanting to wait for comprehensive environmental analysis before accepting new applications. The moratorium met an uproar of opposition. Now, the moratorium is dead.

Solar application moratorium called offAP

The context of the moratorium had conservationists wondering why BLM would put the red light on solar applications while expediting oil & gas applications. It was a double-standard that made Bush’s resource priorities within agency pretty clear.

“Green” isn’t always green

While the moratorium is called off on applications, there is still no indication that would suggest the proper environmental analysis will not be conducted. Let’s hope it stays that way. Calls to diminish public oversight and revoke important environmental laws in the name of the environment are already underway. It’s as if the sagebrush rebels are wrapping themselves in green cloaks – think wolf in sheep’s clothing (bad analogy) – they’ve got so-called ‘green’ ideas calling for the same butcher-block reforms to environmental laws as have been called by extractive industry for decades.

What’s more, utility size development of renewable energy is little more wildlife friendly than any other activity on public land that fragments and degrades some of the last remnant wildlife habitat already under stress given global warming and other land uses. This habitat is needed for wildlife – especially now.

Democrats and/or Republicans are missing an incredible opportunity

There is plenty of marginal agricultural land in the states proposed for public land development that is not under profitable production and is already worthless to wildlife. Energy initiatives that promote economic incentives on these private lands would give rural communities and farmers much needed stimulus by promoting private lease of private lands for renewable development. Democrats/Republicans pushing this approach would enjoy rural/ag voters’ support by bringing Westerners green projects as alternative to the tired old-Republican approach of bringing home the same extractive industrial bacon.  Unlike subsidized livestock grazing, logging, etc. these solutions provide sustainable economies and ecologies into the future.

Giant solar and wind utilities on public land export wealth out of the communities that harbor them, often to offshore investors – that’s American’s subsidizing foreigners ! And often the energy is wasted over miles and miles in transit. Congress and the next administration ought promote efforts to keep as much of the wealth local as can be kept that way. That means maintaining private property owners’ ability to market their land at a fair price – without depreciating that market by opening public lands to development (which is done at a fraction of market value).

Put the solar panels and wind generators where they belong – on the rooftops and on private lands amidst the communities that use the energy.

 
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Brian Ertz

31 Responses to Solar application moratorium called off

  1. avatar SmokyMtMan says:

    I listened to T. Boone Pickens speak to a congressional panel on C-span the other day. He said that current projections from the Energy Department says that with the sufficient investment and government action, the U.S. could derive 20% of the U.S.’s electrical demand by solar means by 2030.

    Pickens said that he felt we could do it by 2020 if this was fast-tracked and declared an emergency by Congress. Pickens said that a main problem is that new solar projects will all require new transmission corridors to carry the solar-generated electricity to the markets.

    He said that environmental and other groups are so good at delaying and stopping new transmission corridors that it would be a costly and time-consuming impediment to getting those transmission routes approved (and without those approvals, the solar plants will never be constructed in the first place).

    Ironic, no? We all want new sources of solar power developed, but to put solar plants where the sun shines the most (mostly in rural areas without the requisite power transmission corridors) requires many, long new power corridors, many right through scenic public land areas.

    What a dilemma. Solar is a much-needed part of a successful energy solution for the U.S. However, I suppose we all know no energy is cost-free.

  2. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    SmokyMtMan,

    Rocky Barker has a good note on Lovins contribution to this conversation as well.

    It’s gotta be a time thing. There’s a lag time between the promise of a new technology and the public’s awareness of its consequences. Hydro is one example – we’ve had years to understand the harmful effect of hydro to salmon. But hey, let’s revoke a bunch of laws that were passed to help ensure we do it right and prevent hasty decisions that end up sour for us and our environment because we need cheap energy now ( <—- sarcasm). But it ain’t cheap folks – it’s just the wildlife and wild-places pay and we don’t see that on the energy bill.

    And the promise that American’s (primarily American industry) won’t have to change their behavior is another compounding variable w/ renewables. That may be true initially, but it won’t be for future generations – and that is a selfish and immoral thing to heave onto our children’s shoulders because we don’t have the social will or the foresight.

  3. Everyone should listen to Amory Lovins.

    For years he has been preaching and successfully demonstrating that energy conservation is usually less expensive than new production.

    Furthermore, he says, centralized power generation facilities and the attached powerlines located in remote areas require lots of security, restrictions on freedom and secrecy. These are not compatible with a democratic, free society.

    Would a terrorist group hit a nuclear power plant or a big powerline coming from desert solar farms, or would they hit thousands of homes and business powered by their own or by neighborhood solar panels and windmills?

    I think the answer is clear. The problem is few even know to ask the question.

    Folks can find out more by visiting the Rocky Mountain Institute.

  4. avatar john weis says:

    http://www.nanosolar.com/

    ttp://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_9779899

    I don’t know Firmage but I like what he writes.

    I would gladly trade grazing on BLM lands for solar….

  5. avatar SmokyMtMan says:

    Guys, thanks for the link, I will check it out today.

  6. avatar john weis says:

    I don’t know Firmage but I like what he writes….

    http://www.nanosolar.com/

    http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_9779899

  7. avatar JB says:

    Ralph,

    Sure, conservation and decentralized energy our important to any energy solution. But I believe there will always by some need for large, centralized facilities as well. From what I’ve read, I think large-scale solar facilities–in combination with the use of decentralized renewables–is the best answer.

    Yes, centralized power would be more vulnerable to terrorists attacks, but if we were to switch to solar power and get our grubby hands out of the middle-east, we would greatly reduce the terrorists reasons for attacking. Moreover, several large solar facilities would be no more vulnerable than the current coal-fired power plants and would be much cleaner and efficient, as well as less expensive to maintain. Even if terrorists were able to successfully destroy a large number of panels, they would be easily and relatively cheaply replaced with no danger to human life. The same cannot be said for an attack on a nuclear or even coal-fired plant.

    Yes, there would be environmental costs to centralized solar, but I believe these are greatly outweighed by the benefits: (1) low to no need for coal, oil and natural gas (2) energy independence, (3) clean, renewable source of energy, (4) decreases in costs (driven by high production) will make PV panels more affordable and attractive to individuals, (5) extremely low monetary cost of production.

  8. avatar SmokyMtMan says:

    JB said: “Sure, conservation and decentralized energy our important to any energy solution. But I believe there will always by some need for large, centralized facilities as well.”

    I agree 100%. I was appalled when Cheney said “energy conservation may be a personal virtue, but it’s not part of a sound energy policy.” However, the U.S. is projected to have 420 million residents by 2050, and how is it possible to conserve enough energy in order to provide another 120 million with energy?

    It’s not possible. I love the potential of solar, and we should be doing everything we can at the Federal and state levels possible to facilitate the creation of large solar facilities. However, the truth is simple: as long as we have an ever-growing population, we will need new sources of energy. Conservation is a huge part of the answer to the energy demands facing the U.S., of course, but it is by no means the only answer.

  9. avatar Jon Way says:

    I agree with JB’s points, plus if powerlines are the biggest effect… many studies show that animals actually travel and utilize those areas as corridors esp. in populated areas.
    Of course, this makes too much sense right now so Obama or McCain will have to “force” us to go energy independent….

  10. JB,

    I agree with you, but we are hardly in any danger of overdoing it with decentralized power generation, a.k.a. “micropower generation.”

  11. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    PVs are backlogged for years in Germany for commercial use – this production capacity is somewhat of a zero-sum game with residential production. being careful about the deployment direction for incentives/subsidies is wise. if government subsidy/incentives encourage centralized utilities – we’ve created an artificial demand that has the potential to suck the supply away from residential deployment. supply will catch up, and production capacity of solar will certainly render the technology more competitive – but the question is whether by then we have invested in a solar infrastructure that was wiser than residential/localized deployment from the get-go and whether that same dollar would have been better spent subsidizing investment in residential and localized deployment (industry can put them on their roofs too). i say that investing that dollar in residential would put a shot in the solar industry’s arm just the same.

    also, deployment of solar is not zero sum with oil & gas. we’re going to see increase in production from a variety of sources. that makes it ever more urgent that solar not be put on public lands that hold critical wildlife habitat – because solar deployment will happen to your left, while oil & gas is drilling on the right. this = double whammy on diminishing wildlife habitat if that’s allowed to happen.

    it’s smarter to go solar – you’ll never hear a qualm from me about that. but it’s smarter still have the same government dollar encourage folk and industry to stick it on their own roof – produce it where it’ll be used – rather than make wildlife and public lands pay the difference. we’ve heard ralph talk about localized security (even sovereignty) with that. money in my community is better than in the pockets of the same utility crooks who have been bending America over all along. centralized production of energy vs. decentralized is economically analogous to monarchy versus democracy for many of the same reasons.

    the choice is whether our same dollar leverages the net benefit of an energy infrastructure that makes sense, is more efficient, more secure, puts us in control, and allows us and future generations to enjoy the wildlife and landscapes we ought pass on. design is just as important as technology.

  12. avatar Salle says:

    Brian,

    I agree with you on the “cleaning up the landscape” idea by removing the centralized gridwerks. I am a sworn advocate of the personal power generation concept and hope to put something into practice in the near future. I think that Congressional Act ~ can’t remember the name of ~ that required the grid to be constructed and that everyone had to be on it. The rural power something or other (sorry Ralph) I think. Yikes.

    I think that there should be a smaller impact of the environment by putting props and panels on the place it is used. It doesn’t go too well with the capitalist model of late though.

  13. avatar Wyo Native says:

    I looked into Solar for my house when I built two years ago. After doing a bunch of research and having the local electric company help me size the type of PV system my modest 2000sf house it was determined I would need a 8kw system that had approximatly 600sf of panels on the roof.

    I also looked at reverse metering compared to battery backup power because of the shortened winter days and the amount of power I would need in the winter, just did not make batteries an ecinomical choice.

    Once I had all the info I started pricing everything I would need + installation for my house. The amount was astounding, I was looking at $60,000 dollars to install solar. The local utility did offer incentives of $10,000 to help with the cost solar, but simple ecinomics prevented me from going for solar.

    After all the math is done I would never even come close to paying off a solar system in my lifetime even if my electric bill went up an average of 10% a year. If Solar ever becomes ecinomical I may reconsider but untill then there is not any chance of my house ever having it, especially with the abundance of wind and hydorelectric we have in my area.

  14. avatar Salle says:

    Solar isn’t the appropriate energy source for all locations. There needs to be a shift in thinking on this. The standardization model isn’t going to work for something that, by nature, is natural and acquirable only by using a locational approach to solving each localized concern. So solar was not the answer to your house plans based on cost, so I wonder why other possibilities weren’t mentioned, like wind power. Is that because it wasn’t what you wanted or because of some other factors?

    I have some plans I drew out years ago where my ideal off-grid home/business would have two powers sources, like wind AND solar, with storage capacity. I don’t intend to be on the grid in any way so the power siphon gridwerks can’t get at my personally generated power stored on my property.

  15. avatar vicki says:

    Sometimes we are left with having to make choices about the lesser of two evils.
    If we stopped pumping billions of dollars into the middle east, and started to mass produce solar panels and make some sort of income based sliding scale to aid in purchase of panels, etc…. we’d be better off.
    Wyo Native,
    I don’t know how old you are, but if you were me, and I am almost 39, it’d be worth while.

    Even at 60,000 dollars, if you had government assisted financing (maybe it there should be some sort of program like HUD or Student Loan Guarantees) for 30 years…since that is the length of most mortgages.
    That is like the cost of buying a new vehicle. My average electric and gas bill runs about 310 per month. So If you eliminate that bill, and add in financing for 60k, you’d have about the same payment. At 30 years, 7% interest, the payment would be 350.00 dollars per month.
    Consider then what you save if you are in your early twenties buying your first home. Or, what you would save if you the USA paid for 10,000 of the price, or gave you a 2000 dollar a year incentive/tax credit to repay the loan?
    If you are a senior, or your home is paid for, you may not benefit as much…. but the environment and economy certainly would. If you are a young adult, you’d be daft not to do it.
    The basic fact remains, the government will need to step in, mandate and promote, and support efforts to convert the country to eco-enviro savvy fuels.

  16. avatar vicki says:

    p.s. think of how much easier making ends meet would be if you lived off of social security and did not have utilities bills every month…

  17. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Salle,
    Wind power was considered but local building codes do not allow wind turbines in city limits.

    Vicki,
    I am 33 and even considering my age I would have never come close paying off a Solar system. Especially if you take into account compounded interest since I was going to include the cost of the system in with my mortgage.

    My current electric bill is $55 dollars a month and gas bill $60 dollars, but gas wasn’t going to go away. Even if I would not have taken the gas bill out of the equation I would not even come close to even breaking even on a monthly basis or ever paid off the original $60,000 without some major tax incentives.

    The biggest problem with Solar is at this time the technology is not there to mass produce panels to make it ecinomical for the general public. Hopefully that day comes because I still want it on my house. But untill then I think it is just important to be fiscally sound as well as environmentally sound, so I purchase all of my electricity from wind power that is produced here locally.

    One last thing if a person my age is depending on Social Security as part of their income when they become of retirement age I think they may be very disapointed.

  18. avatar vicki says:

    Wyo Native,
    I did figure all of that based on compounded interest, but your utilities are really not bad compared to most. I live in Greeley, CO. So, appearantly you have better rates than we do-lucky you!
    No one should be depending on SSI. I certainly won’t be. However, that places us in the educated minoirty, as more and more Americans are opting not to save for retirement., or spend their savings on feul right now.
    Perhaps they need to revitalize our economy by creating jobs in solar production…instead of giving us money that gets us no where in the form of an incentive check. If they could use closed auto assembly plants in Michigan, they could certainly use those monies to create assembly lines for solar components, etc.

  19. avatar Monty says:

    Question: Since Las Vegas, LA & Phoenix are majority consumers of electricity why couldn’t the “solar plants” be located relatively close to these large cities thus elminating the need for long transmission lines? With the excception of LA, there are both private & public lands that are still undeveloped adjacent to these cities. I can’t imagine there is much good wildlife habitat remaining that is close to these cities.

  20. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Monty,

    I presume your question is rhetorical but it cuts into the fundamentals. – ultimately its the convoluted financial mish-mash made up of likely local resistance/competitive local tax incentives, zoning issues, externalized costs that local governments are willing to pick up, wind/sun, labor force, likelihood of legal resistance, etc. etc. etc. — all of these things and many more (i’m learning) feed into an equation which determines economic viability.

    unfortunately – for whatever reason, that short sighted equation says that it’s cheaper (more profit will result) to develop miles removed, and smack dab in the middle of imperiled habitat than it would be to develop in the places that you mention (the common sense places).

    unfortunately – that equation is far removed from the ecological costs that a development will have – unless activists that have been on the ground for years and years and understand that these costs deserve to be considered pipe up – and cast a wrench into the shortsighted financial equation machinery. this is the only way that industry listens (rational self-interest in this case) – it is the only way that we can internalize these actual costs of the consequences that we know about (it’s in our back yard) but that they don’t care about that are otherwise forgotten/externalized – and that cost at the end of that equation is the only thing these folk listen to.

    by casting the wrench into that equation – we promote moving in the common sense direction by altering the equation to make localized, private, wildlife friendly placement more economically competitive.

    just my thoughts

  21. avatar JB says:

    Brian,

    Personally, don’t care whether the government provides subsidies for big, centralized facilities or for individuals. High production will eventually drive the cost down, which should help people like Wyo Native to be able to afford the switch. My preference would be to to off the grid, but I doubt that will be possible where I’m located (I live in one of the most overcast areas in the nation, and wind isn’t really a viable option either).

    My point: There will always be places that will need to be served by centralized power; from my perspective, I would rather have that power derived from renewable sources than fossil fuels. I understand your concern that the env. costs of solar could be incurred on top of mining/drilling, but would submit that if a substantial portion of our power generation was converted to solar it would drive down the price of power, make future mining less profitable, and ultimately lead to decreases in production. It would also make fighting battles against drilling/mining and changing the General Mining Act of 1872 much easier, politically speaking.

  22. The demand for energy and the supply for energy are both inelastic in the short run — they do not respond very much to price changes, up or down.

    As time passes both become more elastic because substitutes emerge. For example, people junk the SUV and buy an energy efficient vehicle. Businesses make design changes (see this about WalMart). If prices fall and stay down, the opposite happens.

    The result of high prices will be a drop in price and in cost of alternatives (as JB says), but we don’t need a drop in price for some energy commodities such as gasoline.

    We went though crude oil scarcity in the 1970s. It was very painful, but energy efficiency and some increased production was making a difference. Then OPEC started squabbling amongst itself and new President Ronald Reagan prominently removed the solar panels from the White House and dropped research into new energy efficiency and alternatives to fossil fuels.

    Most of the gains were lost. For over 25 years the residential infrastructure became less and less efficient (although the individual new homes incorporated efficiency gains from the 1970s). Driven by advertising, many people flocked to huge and heavy vehicles.

    It is impolitic to say so, although now I read even conservative writers saying it, but going back to $2.80/gal gasoline for a couple years would be a disaster.

    OPEC would like to see the price of crude drop. New energy technologies are a threat to their dominance, and high prices bring huge profits only in the short run until these substitutes emerge.

  23. avatar JB says:

    I should have prefaced my comments by saying that I believe that we are at or near the peak production of oil, and with increases in population and increased industrialization in the world’s two most populous countries we are in for increases in oil and natural gas (at least in the short term) no matter what course of action we take. My primary concern is switching our power production from fossil fuels to renewable sources as quickly as possible. I think this is an essential step in beginning to address global warming. Moreover, I think it is in our national security interests to stop relying so heavily on the Middle East for our energy.

  24. avatar vicki says:

    Ralph,
    My husband actually works for a Walmart Distribution Center. Walmart is becoming increasingly green, and he loves being able to say he works there. He comes home pretty frequently boasting about eco-friendly policies that Walmart implements.
    They have stores fueled entirely by using cooking oil and solar energy, som with walls created out of used tires and plastics. They have a land purchase program that buys equal amounts of land for conservation for every parcel they use…an acre for acre commitment.
    My question would be, since the Walmart Effect has actually been confirmed to have impact on markets, why not make these changes legally required>? Why not give Walmart incentives to mass produce solar products? It would force others to fall in line.
    I know a lot of our local energy companies are owned, in part, by employees of said companies. That will be a source of hesitation, but what if they become leaders in their own conversion?
    The problem is not finding renewable or sustainable resources, it is finding a way to impliment them and make them affordabley available. SO then what?

  25. avatar vicki says:

    p.s.
    I am really loving the new Green channel on t.v. It is a straight forward look at environmental issues. They just keep ripping away at the cattle industry. However I did just watch a show that gave recognition to a dairy farm that converts manure into renewable gasses and uses them for the company that was featured in Erin Brochovitch(sp?) Ironic that they pay this dairy farm for the gas they convert…yet they have had a history of grave environmental distruction.
    Anyhow, I hope this channel catches on, it could really raise awareness.

  26. avatar kt says:

    I’m reminded of Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine. High gas. Food skyrocketing – in part “fueled” by the stupidity of the ethanol boom.

    What are seeing right now is Energy Shock. With, I’m sure, (just like the Bushco torturing) the knowledge and/or complicity of the Harry Reid’s and other high-level Dems, as well.

    The Plan is – cause as much uncertainty, chaos, and financial worry – so that the Next Energy Wave is firmly in the hands of large, largely foreign corporations and give them control of the western public lands for their Profit. Make sure that Big Energy can gouge the public to the max with continued centralized control of Energy – a la Enron.

    What do we need to make sure as much gets built as quickly as possible in the hands of a FEW? Unshackle those mega-corporations from those nasty environmental laws … Pave vast swaths of the Mojave and desert tortoise habitat for Reid’s buddies – so that power can be generated remotely from the place it will be used – maximizing loss of kilowatts in transmission lines.

    Stick foreign-owned wind farms on top of every remote windy plateau – so whatever sage grouse haven’t been done in by public lands grazing and Oil and Gas in Wyoming – can now be done in by wind farms.

    How much energy IS lost in the huge energy lines? How is that calculated? Does anyone know?

    Also the Utility Corridors ARE being planned – everybody is getting in the mix. Not only the Westwide DOE corridors, but all kinds of others billed as electricity lines. Plus there are several new natural gas lines – all cutting across remote public wild lands in a crazy quilt pattern. But – once – say – El Paso gas gets its new gas pipeline from authorization from BLM – what is to stop THAT “commodity” of a sort – a utility corridor – from being converted to an electrical line? Will the Corridors themselves be “commodities”? Are they already?

    What is going on right now is a scramble for control and profiteering from continued centralized control of Energy .

    Vicki – I think it was called something like the Rural Electrification Act – that brought a powerline to just about every ranch – handsomely subsidized by taxpayers.

    Jon Way – One of the big problems for sage-grouse is that utility corridors are straight-line areas used as travel corridors for sage-grouse predators. Plus electrical corridors provide elevated perches for raptors that prey on grouse.

    Not to mention that corridors serve as conduits for weed invasion in arid lands. Plus, it’s not just the linear gash with the corridor – it is also that there are a gazillion new cut-off roads from pre-existing road infrastructure that just seem to get driven into the landscape to connect with the utility line.

    Anyway, I believe that the way forward is not to panic and run around saying build anything that you want – as long as it is ‘renewable”. Look at the complete environmental footprint of ANY kind of energy. Look at who stands to profit/control.
    Then make decisions with eyes wide open …

  27. Just one remark among many I should make, KT, corn derived ethanol should not be called a “biofuel.” It is much more accurate to call it “food-to-fuel.”

  28. avatar JB says:

    “Anyway, I believe that the way forward is not to panic and run around saying build anything that you want – as long as it is ‘renewable”. Look at the complete environmental footprint of ANY kind of energy. Look at who stands to profit/control.”

    Great! I’m all in favor of looking at the “complete environmental footprint!” Seriously. I am reasonably confident that if you do so, you will see that renewables (in nearly any form; ethanol excluded) will do less damage than our current methods of power production. Meanwhile, as we drag our feet we get more of the same. More fossil fuels burned, more mountain tops cut off, more drilling, more pipelines, etc. And if we don’t bring some reasonable large-scale production of renewable energy online soon, that will only increase pressure to drill and mine in the places you and I hold so dear. When gas hits $5 it will be interesting to see if there’s a shift in Congress regarding drilling in ANWR…

  29. avatar kt says:

    So JB – Are we to give up what is left of the public lands to any and all forms of “renewable” energy to RES UK, Shell and other giant corporations? With no questions asked, and no environmental controls? Gut NEPA, gut the ESA – get out the dynamite and the bulldozers and rip roads in to build those turbines. When there are already vast areas of trashed private lands closer to the grid and population centers that are windy enough to power turbines? Authorize dozens of new utility corridors across the western landscape (public and private lands) to facilitate remote siting of giant corporate wind farms or solar arrays?

    WHAT, pray tell, happens to the value of the public lands as watersheds, for carbon sequestration, wolves, rabbits, etc. in the process? Yep. We are Shocked into saying Yes to any shiny bauble stamped renewable. Without looking at something that might be a bit less shiny, but that will stand the world better in the long run.

  30. avatar vicki says:

    KT,
    actually, the dairy rancher did it voluntarily and now gets paid by the electric company for the gas that he strains from the manure. It was a huge process, but atleast it was a start. It is better to find a good use for the gas then just leave the manure sitting around to pollute evrything.
    Like I said, it is something-better than nothing.

    We could argue against this enegry or that energy because it may have an adverse effect on something. The fact remains that what we currently have inplace is hugely damaging. SO you have to weigh the options and choose the lesser of two evils.

    I hear so many people saying don’t use wind, don’t use soil, don’t drill more….well I agree that thesethings all need to be looked at and weighed….but what then?

    We have to find solutions that society can live with, Telling people to use less energy is pointless, unless you are going to apply some monetary consequence to overuse. (Gas prices are a self-imposed consequence-we’re getting what we asked for.)
    Those who care enough not to over use energy, because it is the right thing to do, are already on board. Those who don’t , likely never will, and telling them to do the right thing ain’t gonna cut it.
    So, what do you propose then? We could always say “not in my back yard”, but that isn’t a solution. That is why we fight abroad, which is just as costly-the costs are just different. We need ideas, answers, options and solutions…not just oposition to change. Change will have to happen, how do you make it happen so it has the least adverse impact?

  31. avatar JB says:

    Yes Kt. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Everything will be fine once we give up on NEPA the ESA and hand over all public land to the oil companies [yes, that’s sarcasm]. I’m not sure how you got from my post suggesting that the time to invest in renewables is now, to the idea that we should give up on all environmental legislation? If this is really what you believe needs to happen in order to have some movement on renewables then I’m afraid I disagree.

    We want the same thing–at least I presume we do. My point is that we (the U.S.) need to move now in order to get alternative energy sources online ASAP. That doesn’t mean exempting these projects from environmental review, nor does it mean handing over ANY public lands to private companies (though I suspect it would involve leasing some public lands). It means lighting a fire under the asses of politicians to get things started so these technologies are ready sooner rather than later. Dragging our feet and preaching doomsday scenarios about renewables will only encourage more of the same policies–you know, the same policies that are responsible for the mess we’re in right now?

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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