Coles English Q W1 Essay

Submitted By ColeD5s
Words: 891
Pages: 4

On the weekend of January 7-9, more than 30 peaceful protestors from throughout California joined forces in the California desert’s Chuckwalla Valley at the Corn Springs Road exit/overpass along Interstate 10, east of Desert Center, to register their opposition to the 46,000-acres of public desert lands, including a large area of Chuckwalla Valley, approved for construction on public California desert lands under the Obama Administration’s federal “fast-track” renewable energy program, as well as to the hundreds of thousands of acres pending approval for similar projects. Included among the protestors were representatives from La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle; Citizens for the Chuckwalla Valley; Mojave Desert Watch; the Sierra Club; Desert Survivors; and Basin and Range Watch, which sponsored the protest. The protest featured desert residents and visitors from afar, and offered educational materials to the many people who visited the protest. In addition, a colorful assemblage of Aztec Dancers from Needles, along with Native American singers and drummers from the Chemehuevi Nation performed for several hours atop the Corn Springs Road overpass. Concerns registered by the sponsors and participants in the protest included: the impending destruction of 17,000 known archaeological sites in the California desert; threats to endangered wildlife species, such as the California Desert Tortoise - large numbers of which have been “re-located” at Ivanpah, where construction has already begun - and widespread disturbance of desert topsoil, a major CO2 generator. Protestors also voiced concerns over threats to air quality, a severe strain on already-limited water supplies, and irreversible threats to the fragile desert ecosystem. “What the fast-track energy program threatens to do to the remaining pristine areas of the California desert is the equivalent of clear-cutting old-growth redwood trees in the Pacific Northwest,” says Ruth Nolan, desert author/scholar and Professor at College of the Desert. “Those of us at the protest were registering our concerns and hoping to forestall imminent plans to turn the California desert into a massive industrial zone, leading to an inevitable ecological collapse.” Protestors emphasized that they are not opposed to renewable energy, but to the environmentally, culturally, and archaeologically threatening potentials of the massive-scale wind and solar approved or pending approval on the fast-track program. Laura Cunningham, one of the protest organizers, noted that an important focus in the Chuckwalla Valley gathering was to raise awareness of the opportunities for smaller-scale renewable energy programs. “When people are educated with the facts to the alternatives that are truly green instead of raping the desert, they agree,” she says. “We reached a lot of people this weekend with our protest, and education is so important in forming an opinion.” Alfredo Acosta Figueroa, founder of La Cuna de Atzlan, which recently filed a lawsuit against the federal government - along with CARE (Californians for Renewable Energy) and six individual Native Americans - was also at the protest. “We have a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the BLM for the protection of sacred sites, including geoglyphs that are threatened by Big Solar. We had to sue the government to halt construction of the Blythe proposal.” A separate lawsuit has also been filed by the Quechan Indian Tribe against the U.S. government on behalf of a renewable energy project proposed in the Imperial Valley. Other already-approved renewable energy sites spread across a large area of public California desert lands, primarily in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, include the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Project, the…