WWP, CBD and 3 Tribes fight Spring Valley Wind Project

Suit Filed to Protect One of Nevada’s Largest Bat Roosts, National Park

For immediate release – January 25, 2011

Contacts: Jon Marvel, Executive Director Western Watersheds Project, 208.788.2290
Rob Mrowka, Center for Biological Diversity, 702.249.5821

LAS VEGAS, Nev – Two conservation groups and three Indian Tribes filed suit today to protect a pristine mountain valley adjacent to Great Basin National Park in Nevada from a poorly-sited 8000 acre industrial wind energy project, approved by the Department of the Interior with minimal environmental review. The valley is home to rare and imperiled wildlife such as the greater sage grouse, and sensitive species including golden eagles and free-tailed bats. The project area is also a sacred site to Western Shoshone Tribes.

“We hope this litigation will lead the federal government to choose less damaging locations for wind power developments,” said Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds Project.

“Renewable energy is nationally and globally important for addressing the growing threats from climate change,” said Rob Mrowka, an ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the parties in the suit. “But, renewable projects must be properly located with careful consideration of the values of not only the site but also of the surrounding area”.

On October 15, 2010 the Bureau of Land Management approved a proposal by Spring Valley Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Pattern Energy of San Francisco, to construct the project on public lands in northeastern Nevada just north of Great Basin National Park. BLM approved the project over the objections of state and federal wildlife officials, nearby tribes, and conservation groups. Rather than carrying out a detailed review involving the preparation of an environmental impact statement, BLM instead prepared only a cursory environmental assessment.

“The best ways to avoid negative impacts of renewable energy projects are to carry out a thorough environmental review and site them carefully. Unfortunately, in this case BLM did neither,” noted Mrowka.

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Energy chief stuns environmentalists with renewable energy approach

Nevada’s energy chief wants to take Federal Lands and hand them over to energy companies.

Jim Groth, an appointee of Governor Jim Gibbons, published a declaration which calls for turning the State of Nevada into an energy colony and he doesn’t think it should be subject to National Environmental Policy Act requirements.

“The greatest thing holding Nevada back from achieving economic success right now is the need to satisfy onerous policies or laws and have the ‘right’ paperwork in order,” Groth writes in his “declaration.”

Nevada has become the latest target of energy producers and transmitters of all stripes. Gigantic solar and wind plants as well as geothermal plants have been proposed on public lands. El Paso Corp’s Ruby Pipeline has received preliminary permission to pass through northern Nevada’s most pristine sage grouse and pygmy rabbit habitat. There are also a number of proposed transmission lines to support these developments.

Public lands are not a renewable resource and the kind of development proposed in Nevada will have devastating impacts on wildlife there. It is time to make a major push towards rooftop solar and conservation rather than these centralized power plants on public lands which require transmission lines that lose power getting the electricity to where it is used.

Energy chief stuns environmentalists with renewable energy approach.
Las Vegas Sun

Oil falls as low as $118 on demand concerns

The price of crude has dropped from $150 to $118 in the last month due to an absence of bad news and reduced demand. Oil falls as low as $118 on demand concerns. By Madlen Read. Washington Post.

Still the campaign to increase the supply of domestic crude on public lands continues in order to reduce the price a penny a gallon 5 to 10 years from now.

Presidential campaigns very often seem to procede off in some alternative universe.

Regarding demand, does anyone recall how Dick Cheney sneered at the notion of conservation of fuel (energy efficiency) back in 2002 after his secret energy task force met?

Time to remember that supply always equals demand except in the very short run or when certain kinds of subsidies are paid, price ceiling or floors are set, or rationing imposed.

Although oil shale method discredited, Bush pushes rules to develop

Bush proposes rules on oil shale development. Though energy retrieval through the process has been largely discredited, optimists remain. By Patty Henetz. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Folks might recall that Bush’s former Secretary of Interior, Gale Norton, the scourge of our public lands, is now a lobbyists for oil shale.

. . . . more . . . . Statement of the Center for Biological Diversity. On the Bureau of Land Management’s Draft Oil Shale Leasing Regulations. BLM Moves Ahead With Efforts to Squeeze Oil From Rock; Will Do Nothing to Lower Gas Prices.

Hmmm, guess I’m not very positive on oil shale. RM

Gateway West transmission project begins scoping

Plans are underway begin developing public lands to accommodate big energy, a move which promises to further fragment already diminishing wildlife habitat :

Feds begin scoping for Gateway West transmission projectCasper Star Tribute

Many of these areas are some of the last best habitat for wildlife such as sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, and a host of other sagebrush dependent species.

The article also alludes to similar projects in wait all across the west.

Posted in energy, public lands, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: . Comments Off on Gateway West transmission project begins scoping

Tight lines: Energized effort to protect wildlife

“The complacency of Utah anglers and hunters has always confounded me. Most organized group reactions to issues concerning wildlife are emotional outbursts that come too late in the game.” Read the rest in Tight lines: Energized effort to protect wildlife. Brett Prettyman. Salt Lake Tribune columnist.

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Then too there are those “sportsmen’s” group organized with the effect, and maybe the intention, of diverting anglers and hunters attention from these basic issues.

Posted in Fish, politics. Tags: , . Comments Off on Tight lines: Energized effort to protect wildlife

Mars Candy billionaire, previously unknown to be owner of ranch, fights energy companies in Montana

Sage grouse decision may have big consequences

The decision could have widespread ramifications for sage grouse habitat, which includes portions of at least eight Western states, including large swaths of Montana and Wyoming and the Powder River Basin, where there’s intense interest in energy development. Brodie Farquhar has an article about the politics of it in Wyoming. ‘Wyoming officials say listing the sage grouse would be a ‘grave concern.’ Casper Star Tribune.

More on 12-7. Birds come home to roost. Federal judge: former U.S. official’s handling of sage grouse decision improper. By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express.

Note that Idaho sage grouse numbers declined further during 2007.