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Oct-20-2010 19:20printcommentsVideo

Film and Petition Raise Awareness of Mojave Desert Ecosystem Collapse

New film Solar Gold: Mojave Desert Facing Ecosystem Collpse, Massive Extinctions, explores the looming crisis.

Ivanpah Spirit Run
Photo and film by Robert Lundahl

(SAN FRANCISCO) - A petition drive is underway to help protect environmentally and culturally sensitive California desert areas from a "fast track" process to develop and build large scale renewable energy projects. The petition is located below along with links for those who want to sign the document.

A new film by Robert Lundahl: Solar Gold: Mojave Desert Facing Ecosystem Collapse, Massive Extinctions, documents the impacts of Large Solar development on the Mojave Desert ecosystems and cultural resources.

The program features an interview with Jim Andre, Director of the Granite Mountains Desert Research Institute, U. C. Berkeley., predicting ecosystem collapse and massive species extinctions.

Solar Gold: Mojave Desert Facing Ecosystem Collapse, Massive Extinctions documents and explains sacred sites at Ivanpah that Brightsource energy says don't exist, and which should be protected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

It also examines the Ivanpah Spirit Run to pray for and save the people, plants and animals of the Ivanpah Valley and of the Mojave, with Native American tribal elders and spiritual leaders.

Here is the petition for the Protection and Preservation of Blythe Geoglyphs:

To:  California Energy Commission, Bureau of Land Management

The Ivanpah Spirit Run. Photo by Robert Lundahl

California Energy Commission
California Office of the Governor
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Indian Affairs
California State Senate Members
California State Assembly Members
California Congressional Representatives of the United States
California Senators of the United States
Secretary of the Interior, Department of the Interior
President of the United States

In late 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar introduced a "fast track" process for large scale renewable energy projects to be located in the California deserts. This fast track process provides energy companies with significant publicly-funded financial incentives from the federal government if they break ground on projects before the end of 2010.

The rush for fast track project approval to obtain these incentives has resulted in hasty and incomplete environmental and cultural assessments of the areas to be impacted. While there are brownfield sites in and around urban areas that could easily be used for these renewable energy projects, and more efficient alternative energy plans available to address renewable energy production concerns, public lands throughout the California deserts are being selected instead, with significant environmental and cultural impacts which cannot be reversed after projects are constructed.

One such site, the Bltyhe Solar Millennium project site, will destroy Native American geoglyphs, trails, and other cultural resources. Questionable methodology has been used to attempt to discredit these cultural resources when there is direct evidence from Native Americans contradicting the assertions reached by those seeking project approval. Native American tribal governments and organizations have also been improperly left out of much of the process, or not given enough time for proper evaluation and consultation due to the fast tracking process, and little has been done by the California Energy Commission or the Bureau of Land Management to ensure the public has had the opportunity to adequately review or comment on this, and other renewable energy projects sited for the California deserts.

Therefore, we the undersigned request that each of these governing bodies listed above take all necessary action to immediately halt the final approval of the Blythe Solar Millennium project, which has already been approved by the California Energy Commission, despite receipt by the CEC of information informing them of some of the matters and concerns listed above. We request the project be relocated; that all relevant tribal governments and organizations be properly consulted with regard to all project siting throughout the California deserts; and that protection for the geoglyphs and cultural resources of the Blythe site be provided so that these cultural resources may be better documented, studied, and their ceremonial and spiritual use may be continued. If other renewable energy projects being fast tracked in the California deserts may likely result in destruction of valuable ecological or cultural resources, we strongly recommend they be halted until adequate reviews and public input may be conducted.


The Undersigned

Solar Gold: Mojave Desert Facing Ecosystem Collapse, Massive Extinctions from Robert Lundahl on Vimeo.

To learn more visit Advocacy Films
www.advocacyfilms.com Write to Robert Lundahl at robert@studio-rla.com

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Rene Leveque October 20, 2010 9:53 pm (Pacific time)

Excellent video, anything that involves the term "fast track" should throw up immediate flags. Use natural energy but proceed with caution, honor Mother Earth.

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