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Western Lands and friends file protest against massive solar development plan

BLM wants to keep 19 million acres open to industry

Western Lands Project, Basin and Range Watch, and Solar Done Right have filed a formal protest against the Obama administration's plan for massive industrial-scale solar developments on public lands in the Southwest. 
We believe that solar development belongs on rooftops, parking lots, already-developed areas, and degraded sites.
Instead, the government is converting sensitive habitat into massive energy factories and turning public lands into permanent industrial zones.  To put salt in the wound, taxpayers are being forced to fund the destruction of our own public lands through multi-billion dollar loan guarantees and grants.
Western Lands and our colleagues have been advocating distributed generation (DG)-the localized, efficient, democratic, and cost-effective alternative to desert destruction. DG puts solar generation at the point of use. Germany has proven that massive installations of distributed solar photovoltaics can be achieved rapidly when it is a policy priority. 
The Administration's "preferred alternative" for solar development is to keep 19 million acres of public land open to industrial solar applications.
In the protest, we assert that the BLM must examine two additional alternatives: a distributed generation (DG) alternative, and an alternative siting solar energy facilities on previously degraded or damaged lands. Our organizations, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, called for analysis of these alternatives  in previous comment letters, but BLM ignored them.
Massive solar power plants will have irreversible, essentially permanent, impacts. The BLM admits that ecological recovery after public lands solar plants are decommissioned, if even possible, could take 3,000 years. 
 Thank you for your interest in our public lands.
-Janine, Chris, and Emily  
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