Candidates for public office often talk about an all-of-the-above energy policy. Environmentalists, it turns out, are proponents of a none-of-the-above policy, which apparently includes protesting and suing to stop solar panel projects from being implemented on public lands in six Western states.
A number of environmental groups have filed formal protests of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States (PEIS), prepared by the departments of Interior and Energy as a roadmap for public lands solar development. The protests, received by the Obama administration late last week, object to omissions and weaknesses in the PEIS and position the groups for further challenges, possibly including lawsuits.
The PEIS sets out a basic framework for solar development on public lands in California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. It designates 17 areas across the west as Solar Energy Zones (SEZs), totaling about 285,000 acres, and deems another 1.9 million acres of public lands "variance areas" on which solar development can proceed, albeit without the assessment and permitting shortcuts the SEZs offer.
What problems did these left wing environmental groups have with the projects? According to the article they felt the solar panels failed to "exclude important desert tortoise connectivity habitat from variance zones" and didn't take into account the habitat for sage grouse, among other complaints.
Gas is double what it was four years ago, electricity rates continue to rise faster than inflation, but environmentalists want to focus on the habitats of the desert tortoise and sage grouse?
Now you understand why conservatives often charge that environmentalists seem to care more about furry animals than actual human beings.