Big Energy companies with criminal records given billions in stimulus funds to wreak havoc on our public lands and wildlife.
The Center for Public Integrity has issued a stinging report on how the Obama Administration has bypassed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when issuing permits for energy and other projects which involve federal lands or funds. Over and over we have seen that projects are rushed through without any public oversight and in areas where they have severe environmental impacts. Wind farms on public lands without analysis of their impacts on bats, sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, and other wildlife; solar plants on public lands without sufficient analysis on endangered desert tortoise and other imperiled wildlife; power lines and other utilities permitted outside of established corridors without analysis of impacts on wildlife; offshore oil rigs in deep water without proper understanding of how to deal with catastrophic failures. All of these uses are being given a pass under NEPA.
What is the problem with this you might ask. Well, I’m sure you remember what happened in the Gulf of Mexico this summer. The Deepwater Horizon was permitted under a categorical exclusion.
In contrast livestock grazing permits are not even renewed under categorical exclusions, they require at least an Environmental Assessment that must undergo public review and can be appealed, in fact I do it all of the time.
These projects also only benefit those with existing power and money while projects, such as rooftop solar and energy efficiency improvements on existing structures which would benefit real people and not come at the expense of irreplaceable wildlife and land resources, are being forgone. It’s all about keeping the wealthy in control of our resources at the public expense.
What is next? Well in Nevada, the scourge of ranchers and water mining entities like the Southern Nevada Water Authority, ancient forests made up of old growth pinyon pine and junipers are being eyed by the energy companies as a source of biomass to fuel turbines. More on that later.
Big Polluters Freed from Environmental Oversight by Stimulus
The Center for Public Integrity