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Mitelfelt Re: Solar energy projects


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  • Mitelfelt Re: Solar energy projects

    From the Office of
    Brad Mitzelfelt
    Supervisor, First District
    San Bernardino County For information, contact
    David Zook (909) 387-4830
    May 30, 2008

    Mitzelfelt Supports Overview of Solar Energy Projects

    SAN BERNARDINO – With dozens of solar energy projects that would cover hundreds of square
    miles proposed for the Mojave Desert, San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt
    expressed relief that the Federal Government is going to look at the potential impacts of solar energy
    development in the West.

    “In the rush toward development of alternative energy, the impacts on our public lands have been
    overlooked by policymakers in Washington, D.C., who tend to view our precious desert as a
    wasteland ripe for exploitation. This review will give us a chance to look at the total effect of all these
    projects and make some decisions about where they are appropriate and where they should be
    restricted,” said Mitzelfelt, whose district includes much of the Mojave Desert.

    The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Energy announced this week they will
    prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on solar energy development on BLM land
    in six Western states. A Programmatic EIS takes a broad look at the total environmental effects
    across a huge area.

    Most encouraging to Mitzelfelt is the moratorium on new applications for solar projects. The 125
    existing applications that could cover 1 million acres, or more than 1,500 square miles, will continue
    to be processed.

    “I do remain concerned about projects already in the pipeline that will continue to be processed,”
    added Mitzelfelt.

    “At a time when the desert has become smaller because of urban growth, set-asides for habitat and
    wilderness, and expansion of military bases, we cannot surrender huge areas of public land without a
    serious discussion about which resources we can sacrifice and which need to be protected,” said

    The environmental review will not cover wind energy. A similar document on wind was completed in
    2006 but did not address California issues in detail.

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