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BLM'S Solar Expansion in the West Would Be Disastrous

The BLM has just released a draft of its “Utility-Scale Solar Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement,” also known as the 2023/2024 Solar Programmatic EIS. It’s an updated version of the 2012 Western Solar Plan, which was the agency’s guide to “responsible solar energy development on public lands” in the West.

 

The 2012 plan established a fast-tracked permitting process for utility scale (> 20 MW) solar energy projects on BLM lands in six southwestern states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah – by creating Solar Energy Zones (SEZs), Development Focus Areas (DFAs), and Renewable Energy Development Area (REDAs).

 

BLM now wants to expand the original plan to include five additional states: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

 

Doing so would be disastrous.

 

As is becoming increasingly clear, solar panels, high-tech wind turbines, hydrogen cells, nuclear, large-scale hydropower, and every other you-name-it technology that will supposedly save the day:

 

  • Are impossible to build and maintain without fossil energy.

  • Require other non-renewable resources in addition to FF that have been vastly depleted and whose extraction entails significant ecological destruction and social injustices.

  • Have short life spans, necessitating continual replacement – generating tons of waste in the process (that cannot be waved away by the mythical wand of the industrial circular economy).

  • Generate only electricity, leaving a massive, unaccounted-for problem since only one-fifth of global energy consumption is in the form of electricity and no viable alternatives exist to electrify the rest.

  • Barely generate surplus energy beyond what it takes to build, distribute, and decommission them.

 

In other words, these technologies aren’t renewable or sustainable. They’re just as harmful as, if not more so than, fossil fuels.

 

To be clear, solar and other faux renewables are a non-answer anywhere, in any context – pristine undeveloped land or otherwise. You’ll hear nearly every environmental organization say that we need a buildout of “renewable energy” on rooftops and other infrastructure, just not on open lands.

 

It’s a no-brainer that putting solar and wind farms on undeveloped land – and opening new mines to supply their raw materials – is antithetical to any land management agency’s purported mission. But it’s important to stress that it’s no more of a solution to put them on already developed infrastructure. Non-renewable and unsustainable is non-renewable and unsustainable, whether in a desert or on a rooftop.

 

It’s high time for these drums to start beating louder and reaching more people. The environmental sector has been missing in action when it comes to the emergent issues of our time, with politicians and political pundits faring little better. They’ve swallowed the propaganda and been afraid to appear ‘too fringey,’ failing to speak out on the glaring holes in the Green New Deal, let alone on the massive problem of overpopulation, on government-led geoengineering, or the second silent spring (term coinage credit to Katie Singer) that’s irradiating the world to death in harmful electromagnetic frequencies.

 

The answer to our unsustainable state of affairs lies not in easy, destructive tweaks to an already destructive way of life, but in radical, fundamental change guided by high-mindedness and a reintegration of the heart and all that’s sacred: dramatically reducing our population using the perfectly humane tools at our disposal while completely transforming society to exist more harmoniously with the natural world. This is obviously not an easy or politically expedient path, but it’s nonetheless the one that will allow us to survive and thrive. As people in quiet pockets around the globe are ushering in the new, it’s equally as important to stop as much destruction as possible.

 

Some of those involved in pushing Green New Deal/faux renewable narratives are certainly ill-intentioned, but others have simply been led astray. I believe the vast majority fall under the latter category. And that they know, deep in their bones and in their heart of hearts – like so many people who are waking up to the lies and deceit everywhere – that something is wrong with the narrative we’re being fed. Surely they can come to see that solar, wind, and the mining that supports them, are anything but clean and green – that we can’t save the planet by destroying it.

 

Stopping this destructive endeavor now, with a wide net, is far better than trying to fight individual projects one-by-one once they’ve been approved. Whether you feel compelled to write a public comment or draw attention in bigger and more direct ways, this is a ripe opportunity to send a message and try to stop the government’s further assault on the precious open lands of the American West.

 

Ways to submit public comments though April 18:

 

Website:

Click on the "Participate Now" tab on the left

 

Email:

Mail:

BLM

Attn: Draft Solar EIS

1849 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20240

 

For a boiler plate public comment letter, see the “High Level Federal Plan” section here: https://www.realgnd.org/oppose-the-harmful.

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