wind energy

OCOTILLO WIND FALLS SHORT OF CAPACITY FORECAST FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2016 (Ocotillo) – The numbers are in –and for the third straight year, the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility has fallen far short of the 34% capacity factor that Pattern Energy predicted the project would generate in its applications for lucrative federal subsidies.   In 2015, the Ocotillo project generated just 23.06%.  In 2014, it hit 26.4% and in 2013, when it was offline two months for hurling off a multi-ton blade, it produced a scant 15.7%.

We’re not surprised, since our award-winning 2014 investigative article, Was It Fraud? included forecasts by an international wind expert,Nicolas Boccard, who accurately predicted the project’s failure before it was built. He suggested the federal government had grounds for a False Claims Act suit against Pattern Energy.  We again raised questions about the project’s viability last year, in  a second story.

EDISON SIGNS POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENT FOR TULE WIND, CPUC APPROVAL STILL NEEDED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: McCain Valley, site of planned 14,000 acre wind project

Photo, right: Blades being hoisted onto wind turbine in Ocotillo

Updated July 31, 2015 10 p.m. to include comments from SDG&E and from Howard Cook, former Jacumba Sponsor Group Chair.

July 30, 2015 (McCain Valley)—Southern California Edison has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Iberdrola Renewables to buy electricity from the Tule Wind project planned in McCain Valley near Boulevard.

“We are still actively opposing Tule Wind and hope it never gets built,” Donna Tisdale told East County Magazine. Tisdale and the citizens’ group Backcountry Against Dumps have two legal challenges pending. Tisdale also chairs the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which voted against the project but was overruled by the San Diego County Supervisors, with Supervisor Dianne Jacob voting no and four other Supervisors voting for the project.

The agreement covers the first phase of the 14,000-acre project, which includes 67 turbines on federal Bureau of Land Management property at the gateway to the McCain Valley federal recreation area, as well as on privately-owned Rough Acres Ranch.

MINK MISCARRIAGES, BIRTH DEFECTS AND STILLBIRTHS HEIGHTEN CONCERNS OVER WIND TURBINES

 

Photos: Danish wind farmer blames wind turbines (left) on 1,600 stillbirths and 320 miscarriages (right) among mother minks at his farm.

By Jessica Richmond

June 18, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – From Denmark to San Diego’s East County, concerns are growing over the safety of wind turbines near pregnant women, pets and livestock. 

Unlike the chemical or food industries, the wind industry has never had to provide safety data backed by any scientific studies on potential impacts of infrasound, noise or stray voltage from wind turbines on human reproductive health or even animals.  But a growing number of deaths and deformities of baby animals near wind turbines, as well as high sterility rates in some adult animals, is heightening fears among people living near wind turbines about potential impacts on their own health—and the health of their children.

ECM has previously reported on a study that found negative impacts from wind turbines on geese and other instances where health problems among livestock were observed near wind turbines including cattle deaths, high rates of stillbirths and miscarriages among horses, chickens laying eggs with no shells, and birth defects among goats, as ECM  reported.

Most alarming, now Kaj Bank Olesen, a mink farmer in Denmark, reports staggering reproductive problems after a wind turbine was erected 328 meters away.

WAS IT FRAUD? EXPERTS RAISE SERIOUS QUESTIONS AFTER LOW FIRST-YEAR ENERGY PRODUCTION AT OCOTILLO WIND PROJECT

 

Elected officials suppressed key report, failed to halt project or recover taxpayer dollars

“It was heartbreaking to see this project desecrate such a historically and culturally significant landscape, and it’s even worse when you find out that it was built on false claims by the developer, and with the assistance of the BLM. "-- Anthony Pico, Chairman, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians

An East County Magazine special investigation

By Miriam Raftery

April 30, 2014 (Ocotillo) – An international wind energy expert has concluded that Pattern Energy appears to have defrauded the federal government in order to obtain lucrative tax subsidies for a wind energy development in southern California that has failed to live up to the developer’s claims.

“I believe we have a clear case for the False Claims Act,” Nicolas Boccard told East County Magazine, after reviewing full first-year wind production data for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility on U..S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land.  The project produced only about half of the energy that Pattern claimed it would produce—far below levels deemed viable for a wind project, a second expert confirms. 

These dismal results are no surprise to Boccard, who predicted in a report written before construction of the project was  completed that Ocotillo lacks sufficient wind speeds to sustain a viable wind energy project.

So were Pattern's lofty wind speed claims nothing more than spin?

HOT TOPIC: U.S. MAYORS REPORT ON PROGRESS TO CUT EMISSIONS THROUGH ENERGY SAVINGS & TECHNOLOGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jessica Richmond

“A majority of cities (53%) – 149 of the 282 cities – have committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the result of a mayoral pledge and/or formal city council action.”

Solar and conservation measures ranked highly by mayors, wind turbines ranked least promising

April 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently  have focused efforts on creating a plan to increase energy efficiency, while reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) and carbon emissions. The nonpartisan organization consists of mayors from 1,398 cit­ies with populations of 30,000 or more.

Under the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, signers have pledged to try and limit their cities carbon emissions, reduce GHG emissions, along with pushing local state and federal actors to “do their part” in order to help reduce environmental air pollution.  Now a new report reveals data on actions pursued in cities across America to reach these goals.

TREASURY INSPECTION FINDS HALF OF BIG WIND AND SOLAR COMPANIES EXAMINED ARE ILLEGALLY DOUBLE-DIPPING TAXPAYER FUNDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

More troubling issues are coming to light regarding renewable energy developers and their projects. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration inspected records for 16 big renewable energy companies--and found that half had been double dipping. 

The IRS says that many more wind and solar development owners may be taking money they are not entitled to, Rewire Magazine reports.   Projects subsidized by the federal stimulus program are not eligible to also pocket wind power tax credits.  The IRS says it doesn’t have way to check – but believes that over half the stimulus grant recipients should have audits to take a closer look.

TWO LAWSUITS OVER LOCAL WIND ENERGY ISSUES HEAD TO COURT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 28, 2014 (San Diego) – Opponents of  the Tule Wind project in McCain Valley will have their day in court on Monday, March 3 in San Diego’s U.S. District Court.  Then on April 25, a separate suit against the County over its wind energy ordinance and general plan amendment will also be heard.

The suits were filed by the Protect Our Communities Foundation and Donna Tisdale. Tisdale informed ECM that it's important to have many East County residents attend these trials.

VIDEO: THE OCOTILLO SUITE

February 28, 2014 (Ocotillo) -- An Ocotillo resident has prepared a poignant video dramatically illustrating the scope of destruction done by Pattern Energy to build its Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility.  The video details the beauty of the desert with closeup images of birds and other wildlife amid the ocotillo forest mowed down on 12,500 acres of public lands, then shows the construction and finished results.

BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS ENDS EIR ON SHU’LUUK WIND, BUT APPROVES EWIIAAPAAYP TRIBE'S LEASE FOR TULE WIND

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 24, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- It’s official:  The Bureau of Indian Affairs has formally terminated the final Environmental Impact Statement for Shu’luuk Wind on the Campo Indian reservation in East County. The move comes after the Campo tribe’s General Council down the project and cancelled the tribe’s contract with Invenergy.

The BIA alo approved the Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indian’s plan to lease Cuyapaipe Reservation lands  for a portion of Iberdrola’s massive Tule Wind project.  The Bureau of Land Management and County of San Diego previously approved portions of the project on federal and county lands.

MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS OPPOSE SOITEC SOLAR PROJECTS, WARN OF PERMANENT ECOLOGICAL HARM

 

Anza Borrego Foundation calls for halt to fast-tracking of all major energy projects;

Cleveland National Forest Foundation says EIR violates CEQA, fails to examine less harmful alternatives such as rooftop solar

By Miriam Raftery

February 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—The Anza Borrego Foundation (ABF) and a law firm representing  the Cleveland National Forest Foundation (CNFF) have submitted comments warning of dire consequences from Soitec Solar’s proposed massive solar projects in the  Boulevard community.  Both urge the County to put the brakes on the proposed projects, which they warn would cause irreparable harm to wildlife and ecosystems not only in rural Boulevard, but in Anza Borrego State Park and Cleveland National Forest.

REVIVING GAIA: NEW ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS SITE FEATURES MANY LOCAL AND NATIONAL ISSUES

Photos courtesy of Boeing, Brad Gibson and Jim Pelley

January 24, 2014 (San Diego)--A new website is dedicated to exploring how lifestyle choices and technologies impact the environment.  Reviving Gaia (www.revivinggaia.com) has considerable San Diego content, including some of Miriam Raftery’s articles reprinted from East County Magazine on regional energy and environmental issues, news stories from Jo Communications and features by San Diego biologist Renee Owens.  

The site’s owner/editor, Roy L Hales, was the editor of San Diego Loves Green last year and frequently wrote about net-metering, the biofuel industry and the industrialization of East County. (Some of these articles were reprinted by East County magazine.) He continues to cover these topics in Reviving Gaia.

DEADLY FLIGHT IN OCOTILLO HIGHLIGHTS DANGERS TO BIRDS OF PREY FROM WIND TURBINES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2013 (Ocotilo) – ECM photographer Parke Ewing photographed a troubling series of images on November 22 showing a large raptor winging its way through Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express Wind Facility, dangerously close to the blades. 

The next day, photographer Jim Pelley found a dead raptor lying on the ground at the site, one leg sliced off, apparently a victim of the turbines. It is unclear whether it is the same raptor photographed on the wing by Ewing.

A news article just published in Rewire Magazine that the new, large wind turbines such as those at Ocotillo are likely responsible for 100,000 bird deaths a year in California.  Moreover, California is the deadliest state in the nation when it comes to bird deaths from wind projects, including many that are protected under the Migratory Species Treaty or the Endangered Species Act.

WINDS OF CHANGE: THREE COURTS HOLD WIND INDUSTRY RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – For years, wind developers operated with impunity, not held responsible for harm to people, wildlife or communities. But a trio of landmark court rulings this month indicate a shift, with judges holding wind developers liable for the first time for impacts on human health, protected birds, and rural character. 

In a landmark ruling today, a judge in Falmouth, Massachusetts ordered the town's three wind turbines shut off at night, on Sundays and on holidays to protect the health of residents.  ‘‘This is believed to be the first time that a court in the U.S. has ruled that there is sufficient evidence that wind turbines near residential areas are a health hazard to families living nearby,’’ said Virginia Irvine, president of Wind Wise Massachusetts..  The judge ruled that  operation of the turbines nonstop put residents at risk of ‘‘irreparable physical and psychological harm.”  Neighbors had complained of negative health impacts since the turbines were built.

Also this week, in the first-ever criminal prosecution of a wind company for illegal bird kills under the Migratory Treat Act,  Duke Energy Reneawbles Inc. pled guilty and was ordered to pay a million dollars. Duke's wind projects in Wyoming slaughtered 14 golden eagles and  149 other protected birds. See Department of Justice release on the fine.

 

OCOTILLO RESIDENTS’ WOES CONTINUE AS NEW DUST STORM, FLOODING, WHITE SLUDGE FLOW STRIKES COMMUNITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2013 (Ocotillo) – A new dust storm, flooding and more white foam flowed through Ocotillo today, heightening residents’ concerns about impacts of Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Facility on this desert community. 

At 4:40 p.m. a storm hit, sending massive amounts of dust into the air, this time coming directly from project access dirt roads created by Pattern Energy, according to Jim Pelley, who shot this video. Soon after, a storm brought flash flooding, which residents claim is worsened by drainage changes made by the wind developer.  The flood brought a repeat of an unknown white sludgy substance washing across the desert floor and into the town. 

“The white foam is back moving across the project. It was a bit eerie,” said Pelly, who took video of today’s white foam flood as well.

WHAT’S POLLUTING WATERWAYS IN OCOTILLO?

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 30, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- Thursday’s storm brought an unwanted surprise to residents of Ocotillo, where floodwaters swept through the desert town carrying a white,  foamy sludge. You can see a video of the sludge flood on our website at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqtr8mKDbEo&feature=youtu.be

East County Magazine photographer Jim Pelley lives in Ocotillo.  He and other residents say that they have never seen the white foamy sludge before the Ocotillo Wind Energy facility was built.

“What is it?” he asked.  “What effect will it have on our sole source aquifer?” The underground aquifer provides the town’s only source of drinking water.  Pelley also wants to know if the contaminated water will be harmful to animals.  “It has been so dry out here, I’m sure all of the wildlife is very thirsty and will be drinking this water.”

SOURCE: CAMPO TRIBE VOTES DOWN SHU’LUUK WIND

By Miriam Raftery

June 20, 2013 (Campo) – By a 34-44 margin, the Campo tribe’s General Council has voted against the Shu’luuk Wind project, a proposal to lease reservation land to Invenergy, according to  Donna Tisdale, Chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group.  Tisdale indicated she has multiple sources on the vote outcome.

ECM  has contacted the Campo Band of Mission Indians to request comment on the outcome.

The project may not be  dead, however, as proponents hope to have another vote in the future.

CAMPO TRIBE TO VOTE JUNE 9 ON SHU’LUUK WIND PROJECT

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 6, 2013 (Campo) – On Sunday,  June 9, the Campo Band of Mission Indians’ general council ( tribal members age 18 and over) will be asked to vote on whether to approve or reject  Invenergy’s Shu’luuk Wind Energy project proposed to be built on the reservation, according to a meeting notice and agenda obtained by ECM.   

ECM has also obtained a letter sent by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Robert Eben, Superintendent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Riverside. The EPA letter raises serious concerns over the project’s Draft Enviornmental Impact Statement (DEIR), concluding that there is “Insufficient information” on impacts of three project versions and that health impacts of noise and low-frequency sound on nearby residents have been ignored.

WIND TURBINE COMPANY SUES WOMAN OVER PARODY

 

 

Activist who filmed removal of bald eagle nest by wind developer faces multi-million lawsuit

By Miriam Raftery and Sholeh Sisson

June 5, 2013 (Ontario, Canada) -- Esther Wrightman, the Canadian activist who documented Nextera Energy's removal of a bald eagle nest to make way for wind turbines, now faces a multi-million dollar lawsuit by the multi-national corporation.  Why?  Because she created a parody version of the company's logo which read "NexTerror" and "NextError." 

The company makes the bizarre claim that Wrightman's logo on a wind resistance blog could somehow confuse its corporate customers.  But supporters of Wrightman contend the suit's real motivation is to silence a strong voice of dissent.  Nextera also pressured Wordpress to remove the logos, but Wordpress has put the logos back up, finding that no law was broken.

View a video report from the Sun News Network in Canada with many details on this story:  http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/2434478593001

READER’S EDITORIAL: SILENCE IN OCOTILLO

 

By Jim Pelley

Photos:  Red Tail Hawk at Ocotillo. Thank God the turbines were not spinning! – Jim Pelley

May 22, 2013 (Ocotillo)--It’s been (1) week now since the blade throw at the Ocotillo Wind overseen by Pattern Energy. Wow! What a difference, we forgot what it was like without these wind turbines turning; it’s a breath of fresh air. Not seeing/hearing the turbines turning weather they are generating power or not is a huge difference and now that they are not turning it reminds of some of main reasons we moved to Ocotillo.

BLADELESS TURBINE MAKERS CLAIM TURBINES COULD PRODUCE MORE POWER WITH LESS PROBLEMS

 

By Sierra Robinson

May 16, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – A new generation of bladeless wind turbines now in testing offers promise for designs that could reduce risk to birds, reduce noise, require smaller footprints and lower heights, thus less view disturbance.

For example, the slogan on the SheerWind website is “Changing the Course of Power Generation” and with the company’s new wind turbine design, it just might. Sheerwind began creation of a new energy technology three years ago, when founded by Dr. Daryoush Allaei. Since then, SheerWind has created a bladeless, funnel-shaped wind turbine that  it claims is a ‘revolution.’

READER’S EDITORIAL: STOP POISONING OUR COMMUNITY! HERBICIDE SPRAYING IS WIND INDUSTRY’S TOXIC SECRET

 

 

“Pattern Energy is going to pollute what it couldn't destroy… Monsanto’s Roundup is an herbicde cousin  to Agent Orange--the defoliant sprayed in Viet Nam that harmed a generation of veterans and their children… This herbicide—a neurotoxin--is going to get carried downwind. Did Pattern fail to notice that there is still a community with children here in spite of its industrialization of the area with 112 turbines and a substation?”

By Linda Ewing, Ocotillo resident

Photo: Sahara mustard, a “weed” the BLM wants to eradicate with toxic herbicides

May 14, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- Herbicide Mitigation? What is that? I heard these two disturbing words and felt panic.

I knew instinctively that it was going to have something to do with this Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility because nothing good has come from this controversial project since the day Pattern Energy uttered its first words of deception to the town of Ocotillo. Since the day the company first tried to convince us that its massive 438 foot-tall industrial-sized wind turbines were good for the economy.  And yes, the very same day we realized that human lives were disposable and irrelevant in the statistical world of giant wind turbine developers.

AFTER TURBULENT HEARING, SUPERVISORS POSTPONE ACTION ON WIND ORDINANCE TO MAY 15

 

 

“The Boulevard Marathon is like the Boston Marathon...[Residents opposed to the wind ordinance] are “like people with a pressure cooker and ball bearings with a bomb, trying to stop the projects…This is economic terrorism.” – John Gibson, Hamann Companies

“You should choose to save our communities, not destroy them—and I was not paid to come and talk today.” – Wendy Shannon, Boulevard resident and neighbor of Hamann’s proposed project

 

 

By Sierra Robinson; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

May 10, 2013 (San Diego)—After more than three hours of heated testimony on Tuesday, San Diego Supervisors opted to delay a decision on a controversial wind ordinance and changes to plans for two backcountry communities until May 15. The postponement came after a lawyer representing rural residents sent a last-minute letter claiming that approval of the project would be illegal.

EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS ASK COUNTY’S TOP HEALTH OFFICIAL TO REVISE REPORT, RECOGNIZE SERIOUS HEALTH IMPACTS FROM WIND TURBINES

 

By Nadin Abbott and Sierra Robinson;  Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

“This is an epidemic and we need help.” – Rowena Elliott, Manzanita tribal member

(photos left, David and Rowena Elliott)

May 6, 2013 (San Diego) –At a press conference outside the county administration building today, backcountry residents living near wind turbines told the media of serious health conditions they are suffering.  With Wednesday’s vote on a county wind ordinance looming, residents called on the county’s top health official, Wilma Wooten, to revise her report and recognize health concerns linked to wind turbines.

According to Donna Tisdale, President of the Boulevard Planning Group and founder of two community nonprofits, the vote is critical. Supervisors will “either sell us out, remove our human and property rights, or the Board (of Supervisors) will vote to protect the community.” 

If that doesn't happen, residents are prepared to file suit, they said.

VALLEY FEVER EPIDEMIC LINKED TO DESERT SOLAR CONSTRUCTION; HEIGHTENS CONCERNS OVER RISKS FROM LARGE-SCALE WIND AND SOLAR PROJECTS

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

“The threat of acquiring the respiratory illness extends to residents living near expansive construction sites. That risk is rising given the scope of the renewable energy boom centered in the state.” – Los Angeles Times

May 6, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Valley Fever has sickened 28 workers at two large-scale solar facilities under construction in San Luis Obispo County, the Los Angeles Times reported on April 30.  The disease is contracted by breathing in fungal spores released when desert soils are disturbed.

The finding is the latest in a series of disturbing reports on epidemic Valley Fever conditions in California and across the Southwest.  With numerous large-scale solar projects and wind projects proposed for East County that would scrape bare thousands of acres of high desert terrain, public health concerns over the prospect of exposing residents to Valley Fever are growing.  Since wind-blown spores can carry 75 miles or more, residents across San Diego County could be at risk of the potentially deadly disease.

BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE DOWNTOWN MONDAY TO OPPOSE WIND ORDINANCE AND BOULEVARD PLAN AMENDMENT

 

 

May 3, 2013 (San Diego)—On Monday, May 6 at 1 p.m., East County residents opposed to the proposed County Wind ordinance and Boulevard Plan amendment will hold a press conference outside the County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway (by the fountain on the west side.) 

“On May 8th, the Board of Supervisors will make a life-altering choice for rural East County residents and valued resources,” a press release sent by the Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps. Supervisors must choose to either “sell out to the taxpayer-subsidized wind industry and developers and turn the ruggedly beautiful Boulevard/Jacumba area into an unnecessary industrial energy sacrifice zone and fire trap," the rural residents say,  or"protect and defend the ratepayers and real people and resources in the predominantly low-income fire-prone area from expensive, unreliable, and dangerous industrial wind turbine projects and related web of electrical infrastructure.”

Speakers will include rural residents and a fire official speaking out on dangers posed by industrial wind projects in our region.

EDITORIAL: AN ILL WIND BLOWING: SUPERVISORS SHOULD JUST SAY “NO” TO INDUSTRIAL WIND AT WEDNESDAY’S WIND ORDINANCE VOTE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

May 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) Updated May 7, 2013 – On Wednesday, May 8, San Diego County Supervisors will vote on legislation that could have devastating impacts across East County and the entire San Diego region. 

At stake is a proposed wind ordinance that could open wide vast tracts of East County for industrial wind development, putting residents across our County at risk of a catastrophic wildfire or deadly Valley Fever spores that can blow 70 miles or more.   There are many more reasons to oppose this ordinance, as well as the proposed gutting of Boulevard’s community plan, but these are two of the most compelling.  These and other disturbing facts are detailed below.

If you share these concerns, it's important to contact all five Supervisors.  It's especially important for San Diego residents to tell their Supervisors that you care about what happens to East County, since some Supervisors have shown an arrogant disregard for public health and safety outside of their own districts. Of course, a wildfire that originates in East County and burns into San Diego, or deadly Valley Fever spores that blow into urban areas, should clearly be of concern to all County residents and their representatives. You can contact Supervisors here and scroll down to learn more.  It's also important to show up and speak out at Wednesday morning's meeting at 9 a.m. at 1600 Pacific Coast Highway, Room 402.

OUTCRY ARISES OVER NATIVE PEOPLES LOSING LANDS AND WAY OF LIFE

 

 

Pollution of earth and water is driving indigenous peoples from their homelands

By Miriam Raftery

April 27, 2013 (San Diego)--Around the world, including here in the U.S.,  native people are losing lands they have occupied for countless generations.  The earth and water that sustained life in their communities is being destroyed –once-mighty rivers and wetlands reduced to barren, parched or even contaminated land.  The story is the same from tribes along the Colorado River to those deep in the Amazon, from the deserts of Southern California to the jungles of Mexico, from the coal fields of Appalachia to the copper mining pits of Arizona to indigenous people’s lands in Canada threatened by the Keystone Pipeline.

The culprit?  Growing demand for energy and water. 

Now, native people are speaking out.  They hope to educate the public to conserve precious resources, sharing knowledge of the heart-breaking price being paid by people who have been given no choice—and whose very cultural identity centers around the lands and waters being lost.

NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION DECLARES OCOTILLO WIND A SACRED SITE, ASKS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO WEIGH LEGAL ACTION

 

“I really want to say `Dismantle it and give the land back to the tribes…I’d like to ask the Attorney General to…give this commission more teeth so we could say `Tear that wall down.”  -- Commissioner Marshall McKay

View video highlights by Paul Kruze: http://youtu.be/nS93BfT6juI

  (For full unedited videos, scroll to bottom of this story)

By Miriam Raftery

April 26, 2013 (San Diego) – At a hearing in San Diego on Monday, members of the state Native American Heritage Commission heard several hours of emotional testimony from Native Americans who contend that the  U.S. Bureau of Land Management ignored their  concerns and its duty to protect a clearly documented sacred site and cemetery in the fast-tracked approval process for the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility.

By a 4-0 vote, with the remaining commissioners absent, the NAHC voted to grant requests by Viejas and Quechan tribes to declare the 12,400 acre Ocotillo wind project site a sanctified Native American  sacred site.  Further, the commissioners voted unanimously to ask California Attorney General Kamala Harris to research if legal action can be taken.

EAGLE EXPERT HIRED BY WIND INDUSTRY LOCALLY PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGAL GOLDEN EAGLE TAKE AND FAILING TO FILE REPORTS ON BIRDS HE TRACKED

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 19, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) –  David Bittner, eagle expert with Wildlife Research Institute, pled guilty to federal charges of unlawful taking of a Golden Eagle without a permit and failing to file any data reports for a four-year period on birds that he had banded. 

Bittner conducted studies on Golden Eagles for Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project in East County, which was approved by the federal government on public lands as well as by the county on private properties. Portions of the project on state and tribal lands, where several Golden Eagle nests were reported, are pending approvals by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and State Lands Commission.

“Can those agencies rely on Bittner’s Golden Eagle work for Tule wind that was apparently unpermitted and unlawful?” asks Donna Tisdale, chair of Boulevard Planning Group and a founder of two citizens groups, Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps, that has filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the project.  “What other breaches of law or professional ethics might be involved?”

EAST COUNTY LEADERS AMONG THOSE SPEAKING OUT APRIL 15 AT SAN DIEGO EVENT ON ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ISSUES

 

April 13, 2013 (San Diego) – A growing movement seeks to build awareness of social and environmental justice issues related to energy production. While the world has jumped on the “green bandwagon” in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use of fossil fuels and nuclear, how much difference are alternatives such as wind and solar power really making?  What are the unforeseen consequences on communities, public health and the environment? Why isn’t the media reporting on these issues?

On April 15, prominent environmentalists and community leaders will speak on local experiences and on growing national/international movements seeking social and environmental justice.  Speakers at the event titiled “Energy Projects, Fracking, and Rights of Mother Earth” include Donna Tisdale, chair of Boulevard Planning Group and co-founder of two nonprofits battling big energy projects in East County,  Terry Weiner with the Desert Protective Council and Solar Done Right, attorney Bill Pate who handled a legal challenge to the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility, Peg Mitchell with SanDiego350.org and Citizens Climate Lobby, and Carlos Pelayo, Asociación de Jornaleros y Trabajadores de Casa.

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