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PNS Daily Newscast - September 30, 2020 

Trump and Biden square off in a debate marked by interruptions; COVID-19 highlights neglect of undocumented residents.

2020Talks - September 30, 2020 

Last night was filled with interruptions at the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Report: BLMs Smart Solar Approach Good for the West, with Two CA Exceptions

October 21, 2011

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - With a few exceptions, conservation groups are applauding the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for planning ahead and identifying appropriate locations for building large solar plants.

While the solar projects can power hundreds of thousands of homes with clean energy, a new report from The Wilderness Society (TWS) says they also leave a very large footprint for decades to come.

In order to get good projects online while also protecting wildlife habitat and wild lands, TWS Renewable Energy Coordinator Alex Daue says the BLM's program should focus on low-conflict zones. The California locations his group opposes are Pisgah and Iron Mountain in the Mojave Desert, along with one site in Arizona, says Daue.

"Two of the zones in California contain important habitat for desert tortoise. The zone that we have opposed in Arizona has an amazing, diverse plant community of Joshua trees and saguaros."

Desert photographer and conservationist Michael Gordon has spent time in both Pisgah and Iron Mountain. He agrees that neither area is appropriate for a large solar plant and believes the BLM should take another look.

"We don't really know how old much of this creosote is, but this is what many of us would call 'old-growth Mojave Desert.' And it's in its native state and it's a beautiful place - both of them are."

The BLM has outlined 24 zones on public lands in six Western states. Daue says overall, the zones are a good fit for solar development. They are generally flat, have great solar resources, and are close to roads and power lines to decrease construction costs.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA