A model for planning

 

For over a century, energy development on public lands has put coal, oil and gas extraction at odds with stewardship of wildlife, wildlands and recreational opportunities. As noted in your Oct. 26 piece “Clean Energy’s Dirty Secret,” the growth of clean energy development has similarly presented challenges for the West. Recognizing the lessons learned and pitfalls of early renewable energy projects built on public lands is important so future efforts can help remedy these problems. For example, the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan and other similar efforts are shifting renewable energy development from a scattered, project-by-project approach that has historically been rife with conflict, to a smarter, landscape-level analysis that facilitates development in more suitable places. This will better protect wildlife and wildlands, not rubber-stamp projects in sensitive habitats, as your article asserts. Renewable energy development on public lands is an important part of the energy future, and we must remain focused on collecting solid data and using science to further improve development decisions.


Dan Smuts
Senior regional director, California
The Wilderness Society
San Francisco, California