Quick quiz for you. The number one enemy of solar and wind energy projects in the Mojave desert is a) Big Business b) Dick Cheney c) a Republican "cabal" d) environmentalists, with the political backing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Of course, the answer is d).
But here's, perhaps, the surprising part. The Los Angeles Times has the story (emphasis mine) in its March 25 paper:
Reporting from Washington -- While President Obama has made development of cleaner energy sources a priority, an effort is underway to close off a large swath of the Southern California desert to solar and wind energy projects.
In a move that could pit usual allies -- environmentalists and the solar and wind industries -- against each other, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is preparing legislation that would permanently put hundreds of thousands of acres of desert land off limits to energy projects. The territory would be designated California's newest national monument.
"It's frustrating. We really do have competing national priorities here," said Paul Whitworth, whose San Diego-based LightSource Renewables hopes to put in a solar project on about 6,000 acres near Amboy. "We spent a lot of time researching the desert, and consulting with the BLM to make sure we didn't apply on top of an area of critical environmental concern, or area with other issues. . . . Now, there's uncertainty on whether these projects will go ahead."
"What we all know about Sen. Feinstein is that she's long been a champion for both environmental issues and renewable energy issues," said Shannon Eddy, executive director of the Large-scale Solar Assn. "I'm certainly hoping that there's some pathway that we can find here to meet the mutual goals we all have."
A representative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who has fought congressional actions to close off areas to oil and gas drilling questioned where energy projects would be built, if not in the remote desert.
"If you're going to take the desert away from us, where are you going to allow it -- Los Angeles?," said Bill Kovacs, the chamber's vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs.