In the Bright Sun of the Desert, a Difficult Compromise is Exposed

Julie Cart writes about the solar power compromises being forged in the deserts of the American Southwest, where the landscape is being sacrificed on the altar of alternative energy.
February 7, 2012, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Following deals negotiated between solar developers, federal regulators and leaders of some of the nation's top environmental organizations, industrial scale solar development is moving forward on an immense scale. And although the contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions may be substantial, the damage to native wildlife and scenic vistas may be irreversible.

"'I have spent my entire career thinking of myself as an advocate on behalf of public lands and acting for their protection,' said Johanna Wald, a veteran environmental attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. 'I am now helping facilitate an activity on public lands that will have very significant environmental impacts. We are doing it because of the threat of climate change. It's not an accommodation; it's a change I had to make to respond to climate.'"

The most vociferous opposition is coming from the federal government. The Department of Defense, National Park Service, and Federal Aviation Administration have all raised concerns.

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Published on Sunday, February 5, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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