Desert Protective Council

ASSEMBLYMAN JONES ISSUES STATEMENT SUPPORTING “OPEN RIDING” IN OCOTILLO WELLS STATE VEHICULAR RECREATION AREA

By Miriam Raftery

June 16, 2013 (Ocotillo Wells)-- Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) has sent  a letter to the State Parks Department encouraging open riding in Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) in response to legal action filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Desert Protective Council (DPC).  Plaintiffs contend that riding off trails has caused extensive environmental damage in the park, which has over 1,200 historic and archaeological sites, as ECM previously reported.

“Many of my constituents enjoy recreating in the Ocotillo Wells SVRA, which is why this lawsuit is very troubling," said Jones.  "This area has been used for OHV recreation for over 50 years and has always been designated as an open riding area, meaning that users in the park are not required to stay on designated trails."

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS FILE LEGAL ACTION SEEKING TO BAN OFF-ROAD OPEN RIDING AT OCOTILLO WELLS

 

By Sholeh Sisson

June 5, 2013 (Ocotillo Wells) -- Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Desert Protective Council (DPC) filed a legal action May 21, 2013 to stop open riding in the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). If successful this action would end ORV "open riding" beyond designated trails and require the state park to implement strategies to protect the park's habitats and archaeological resources.

The park, located in east San Diego county, allows off-road driving on all 85,000 acres except for a few fenced and protected areas.

JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND PATTERN ENERGY IN TWO LAWSUITS OVER OCOTILLO WIND

By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2013 (San Diego) -- U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel this week dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Quechan Indians over cultural resource impacts of the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility.   In addition, the federal judge denied  motion sought by the Desert Protective Council to protect raptors at the site.  

"It is discouraging that our democratic system of checks and balances has broken down in relation to the administration's determination to usurp our public lands for industrial energy development,” said . Terry Weiner, Imperial County Projects and Conservation Coordinator at the Desert Protective Council. “  If we can no longer count on the courts to force our federal agencies to adhere to their own laws, how  are the American citizens supposed to protect our national natural and cultural heritage for future generations?"

COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS IN DESERT PROTECTIVE COUNCIL’S CASE OVER WILDLIFE THREATS POSED BY OCOTILLO WIND PROJECT

UPDATE: February 28, 2013 -- Judge Curiel has denied the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.  Plaintiff's have not yet announced whether they will file an appeal.  View decision here

 

The codes are quite clear …You can’t take a Swainson’s hawk. Not even one…There is also no take for Peregrine falcons and owls. If turbine curtailment  is good enough for golden eagles, it should be good enough for these species, too.” ----Laurens Silver, attorney for plaintiffs

It is not the BLM’s role to enforce state law…All through downtown there are glass buildings that could cause a take.” – Marissa Piropato, attorney for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management

By Miriam Raftery

Maris Brancheau also contributed to this report

February 27, 2013 (San Diego) – Is the federal government turning a blind eye to violations of state laws intended to protect raptors (birds of prey) and other wildlife at the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility?   That’s the contention of a lawsuit filed by the Desert Protective Council, an environmental group, and others against the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Pattern Energy and others.

PUBLIC LAND ACTIVISTS SUE INTERIOR DEPT ON PLAN TO KEEP MILLIONS OF ACRES OPEN FOR INDUSTRIAL SOLAR DEVELOPMENT

The Administration is opting to needlessly turn multiple-use public lands into permanent industrial zones. Solar development belongs on rooftops, parking lots, already-developed areas, and on degraded sites, not our public lands."- Janine Blaeloch, Western Lands Project

February 12, 2013 -- Three public-interest environmental organizations have filed a legal challenge against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to keep millions of acres of public land available to industry for siting of destructive utility-scale solar plants.

In the complaint filed Tuesday, the Desert Protective Council based in San Diego, Western Lands Project in Seattle, and the Western Watersheds Project cited the government’s failure to consider alternatives that would focus solar development on degraded lands and in the already-built environment.  The government’s analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ignored alternative approaches that would be less damaging to the environment, more efficient, and less costly to taxpayers and ratepayers.

SDG&E COMPLETES DESERT SOLAR POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

By Miriam Raftery



Environmentalists voice concerns over impacts on desert views and habitat

December 20, 2012 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced on Monday the completion of two new long-term power purchase agreements in Imperial Valley totaling 40 megawatts (MW) of solar energy. The power is to be produced in Brawley and Calipatria with diverse business enterprise (DBE) participation. 

“SDG&E has made a concerted effort to increase the number of diverse-owned suppliers we do business with in electric procurement,” said Matt Burkhart, SDG&E’s vice president of electric and fuel procurement. “

READER’S EDITORIAL: TELL CONGRESS-- DON’T RENEW TAX CREDITS FOR INDUSTRIAL WIND PROJECTS

By Terry Weiner, Desert Protective Council

November 23, 2012 (San Diego)—There is a real danger that Production Tax Credits (PTCs) for industrial wind projects will be extended. They are due to expire at year’s end, but Congress may vote soon on a proposal to extend those credits. Extension of PTCs could be surreptitiously attached as a rider to the upcoming congressional budget bill. 

If you want to protect our mountains, deserts, scenic and rural areas, wildlife and Native American cultural sites, please join me immediately in asking your members of Congress not to renew tax credits for these large-scale projects remote from places where the energy will be used.

There are much cleaner, less destructive, more efficient ways to meet our nation’s energy needs!

PROTEST PLANNED MARCH 14 AT RENEWABLE ENERGY CONFERENCE THAT EXCLUDED ADVOCATES OF ROOFTOP SOLAR

March 12, 2012 (Holtville) – “Why are billions of our tax dollars going to fund large-scale energy development on our public lands instead of to home and business owners for developing rooftop solar?” asks Terry Weiner with the Desert Protective Council and Solar Done Right. Massive solar and wind developments are planned for San Diego and Imperial County, many on public lands, others on prime agricultural croplands.

On Wednesday, March 14 from 7:30 to 11 a.m., activists from throughout California plan to stage a demonstration outside the Barbara Worth Resort in Holtville (Imperial County), where the “Renewable Energy Summit and Expo” is being held.

DESERT PROTECTIVE COUNCIL ISSUES “SOLAR DONE RIGHT” GUIDELINES

June 1, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)--The Desert Protective Council has established guidelines for solar energy installations. Policy makers and solar developers are encouraged to follow five principles for developing renewable energy to protect the environment from potential damage by massive solar farms. The DPC also suggests contacting Congressional officials to ask them to embrace the following “Solar Done Right” principles.