Thursday, October 23, 2008

Public lands: energy farms or open space habitat?

Industrial-scale geothermal development on western public lands.

TUCSON -- The Bush-Cheney Interior Department wants to open vast stretches of public land in the West to industrial-scale geothermal energy development under a plan released Wednesday, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The plan identifies 190 million acres — nearly twice the size of California — that would be available for geothermal leasing in 12 Western states.

Potential industrial geothermal sites in AZ (click to enlarge).

Although geothermal facilities can have a smaller footprint than solar or wind fields, they would leave their mark on the land much like oil and gas development — with roads, pipelines, power plants and transmission lines.

Daniel Patterson, ecologist and Southwest director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said geothermal energy holds potential. "But we still have to consider, are our public lands there to be turned into energy farms? Or should we be investing in rooftop solar?"

- adapted from LAT


Jeneiene Schaffer, Campaign Coordinator said...

Roof top solar is the way to go. If you support lessening the grip of the corporate energy complex, you'll support protecting open spaces and go for roof tops. Smart growth means infill growth.

Anonymous said...

Senator Harry Reid, a democrat, is also a big player in this action. If Obama wins this election, this problem will not go away. We need to make sure the democrats do not run these industrial energy farms through with little or no NEPA. If Reid gets his way, the Mojave Desert will be a lagre freeway of wind mill on the mountains, solar mirrors on the basin floor and powerlines destroying our view in all directions. This will probably be the biggest environmental threat from a democratic administration. We need to be ready for this battle.