Environmentalists make plea for desert preservation

A group of environmentalists says renewable energy goal shouldn’t come with destruction of native plant, animal life

Sunset © Ken Cole

In the Ivanpah Solar site lies on public lands in the center of very important desert tortoise habitat so the company proposes to move those tortoise to a new area before construction begins. This is a strategy that has been tried in the past that resulted in utter failure. Even the environmental impact statement acknowledges that one in six will die after being moved.

Renewable energy is important, but where it is placed matters. Is it right to be placing these giant wind and solar power projects and the additional power lines on vast swaths of public lands that are important habitat areas for many imperiled species or would it be better to place the power generation where it will be used? Rooftop solar is a viable alternative with the prices of solar panels dropping. Simply using the heat of the sun to heat homes and water results in significant energy savings. Do we need more power? Do we need to destroy our public lands when a more distributed model of energy production is possible?

Environmentalists make plea for desert preservation
Las Vegas Sun


  1. jdubya Avatar

    Roof top solar is the only thing that makes sense. We have already destroyed the land under the house: hell, use the roof for something useful.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I’m going to be headed down that way. I hope bring back some photos.

    I already have some the the current biggest — Solar One. It is about 10 miles south of Boulder City, NV. I took them last spring.


  3. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    Primm Valley is the result of company lodging for the Primm Bros gambeling enterprise. there are 3 major casinos within walking distance. 5 mile south, is the golf course that consumes at least 640 acres. In the 1990s the was a power plant constructed just NE of the golf course. It did not last long and has been removed. Just north of the golf course is Ivanpah Lake, whose shores are littered with archeological sites. Also, Interstate 15 bisectes the lake. There have been numerous ORV races, both motorcycle and buggies, crisscross the valley since prior to 1965.

    The valley is also a medium to high density desert tortoise habitat. Most of the drainages in the valley have numerous borrows.

    The valley is far from pristine. However the tortoise still persist. The US Army tried relocating tortoise at an expansion of Ft Erwin (near Barstow, CA. That excersize was a complete failure. As the tortoise is listed Threatened (I am not aware of the species being relisted as Endangered), under the ESA, How can the FWS grant the proponants of this project such a large scale “take” permit?


  4. kt Avatar

    These horrid projects are all about making the wealthy backers richer.

    I see another Solar developer area is Coyote Springs (Harvey Whittemore). Some of this solar takes a lot of water, and I believe the water for development there would be mined and piped from Geyser Ranch.

    The leadership of some groups is “bought off” by big energy – but the members and staff are starting to rebel.

  5. kt Avatar

    I understand Schwarzenegger in California is having some big conference to Hype Mojave-destroying solar today.

    A number of panels. With the enviro group leaders shilling for these projects – while the members and chapters are in opposition.


    None that describes what a massive taxpayer boondoggle mega-soar and mega-wind on public lands is. Or who the wealthy backers/bankers are behind devastation of the deserts and sagebrush. Or who all they have bought off.

    These huge public lands projects are all part of another great big bubble that is going to burst.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole