Element Power is the applicant for the Black Lava Butte Project, a wind energy project that is already underway on Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa, two buttes in the Pipes Canyon/Pioneertown area of California's high desert.
If not stopped, the Black Lava Butte Project would cover the tops of both buttes with turbines surmounted with warning lights and approached by access roads crossing the beautiful mixed-use lands of the canyons below.
A few years ago, desert citizens united to protect our desert and our way of life when we defeated the Green Path North transmission lines planned by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.
Now we need to stop the equally inappropriate Black Lava Butte Project from devastating our area. Element Power has already been approved by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to do wind testing on Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa.
We cannot allow this project to move into the development stage, when massive wind turbines, visible for miles, would be constructed atop these buttes, destroying the scenic vistas that we now enjoy and that tourists value as part of their experience of Joshua Tree National Park and its surrounding area.
These pristine buttes are home to federally threatened fauna, sensitive flora, and significant Native American cultural artifacts, in addition to being important to the local viewshed. Certainly the buttes are an inappropriate place for a utility-scale energy project, especially when there is no lack of disturbed land available on which to build renewable energy projects.
Ironically, the buttes lie along the path of the now defeated Green Path North transmission project, which would have gone up and over these same buttes. There is no transmission here now, thanks to citizen efforts, but if the Black Lava Butte Project is allowed to go forward, we will have another major fight on our hands, i.e., to once again fight transmission lines and designation of a massive, miles-long utility corridor.
The time is now to protect our heritage and that of future generations. Please join with Save Our Desert and the California Desert Coalition by signing our petition to Element Power demanding that Element Power withdraw its Black Lava Butte Project.
Save Our Desert - www.saveourdesert.com
California Desert Coalition - www.cadesertco.org
Sensitive plants, federally threatened wildlife, extensive historic and cultural resources, and an important viewshed render this land, situated in close proximity to two designated “wilderness” areas, unsuitable for development, and on that basis I question the success of any project application on these lands.
I am therefore baffled why Element Power is investing in this project when you must be aware of these issues, many of which came to light when the local community defeated LADWP’s Green Path North project, which threatened our community with transmission lines.
I suggest it might be in your interest to go beyond the availability of wind resource and examine the feasibility of ever completing this project. Restoration alone, for which you will be held responsible, has historically proven very damaging to public and shareholder relations, profits and overhead. Instead of continuing this inappropriate project, you might wish to look at more appropriate locations, on transmission lines with capacity and on land and in communities ready to embrace these kinds of projects.
I also suggest the “field studies” you conducted on 52 acres before erecting the test towers be appropriately described as “side-stepped and fast-tracked.” The real “field studies” you will be required to conduct as part of the project application will be very expensive and definitely fatal to any project proposal.