‘Tis the season for giving thanks, spreading cheer, and reflecting on the past year. In that spirit, one of our favorite traditions in The Wilderness Society’s BLM Action Center is compiling a year-end list of the greatest achievements in conservation for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The result is our CAPE Awards – with winners earning between 1 and 5 CAPEs (5 being on the high end of the scale), and a couple “honorable mentions” for those that just missed the cut.
Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in Wilderness Magazine, our annual publication that features in-depth coverage and features about the day’s most pressing conservation issues. Become a member and receive a free copy!
Just before Thanksgiving, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Deputy Secretary David Hayes each talked about "wise” and “smart” planning for development of our nation’s renewable energy resources. Their comments were about a new program for off-shore wind in the Atlantic, but they could have just as easily been talking about on-shore wind and solar development.
Those of us who love wildlands want to protect them from the damages of oil and gas drilling, industrial development and inappropriate exploitation, but in our excitement to combat climate change and move toward renewable energy development we cannot forget that large renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar, can have negative impacts on the land as well.
In a major speech last week, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu declared that the United States is in the midst of a “Sputnik moment for clean energy development,” and that now is the time to win the clean tech race with China. He cited accelerating innovation as one of the key ways to ensure that we meet our country’s energy goals and be the world’s leader in clean energy.
For 50 years the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been a place of untrammeled beauty, an untouched Eden in the last frontier. But that tranquility is again under attack from short-sighted politicians in Washington that want to spoil the crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System with roads and oil drills.
The Arctic Refuge has been under constant threat from oil drilling, threatening the caribou, polar bears, and native Gwich’in people that call the Refuge their home.
The Obama Administration's Dec. 1 announcement to rescind its Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling plans for the Atlantic seaboard and the eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico near Florida was a bittersweet pill for those of us working to protect the Arctic Ocean and its coastline from oil spills and development.
The Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Study Areas (SESAs) are almost always quiet, with few signs of life other than windblown plants sparsely distributed across flat and largely featureless lands, and no sound except for the wind rustling brittle branches. During daylight hours, the sun beats down relentlessly. An occasional lizard is seen racing across the desert floor. Droppings from coyotes, rabbits and other small mammals are sometimes visible, and red-tailed hawks or turkey vultures circle infrequently overhead, searching the stark, sparse terrain for prey or carrion.
What’s going on with public lands and solar energy? From reading the newspaper, you’d think it was all project-by-project decisions, but a far bigger story is brewing, one with huge implications for the future of both solar energy and our public lands.
Like many students, I often put projects off until the last minute. This was a great source of aggravation to my parents, who would be besieged by requests for rides to the library at 8 pm the night before research papers were due. This lack of foresight on my part led to several sub-par efforts, and many teachers cited a “hurried” feel to the papers or projects in question.