While construction of a massive new solar energy plant in the Mojave Desert is good news for Southern Californians, it is bad news for the desert tortoises that are being relocated as their natural habitat is destroyed.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the track record for tortoise relocation is "dismal" since the reptiles tend to wander back to their original homes. Stressed out from being in unfamiliar terrain, they are more vulnerable to predators, respiratory disease, dehydration and getting run over by off-road vehicles.
The federally protected tortoises, which can live to 100, don't need to be uprooted. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, along with many wildlife and conservation groups, say there are other suitable areas for solar plants to be built.
Sen. Feinstein has introduced the California Desert Protection Act(CDPA), a bill to establish two national monuments in the Mojave Desert that would protect 1 million acres of land that's home to the tortoises, bighorn sheep and other wildlife. It
Please help save these endangered animals -- and preserve this beautiful natural environment and its resources -- by asking the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to approve this legislation.
I urge you to approve the California Desert Protection Act (S.2921) to save the lives of federally protected desert tortoises and other wildlife.
In the Mojave Desert, tortoises are being uprooted from their natural habitat to make way for the new BrightSource Energy Ivanpah Solar Electric Generation System plant. Unfortunately, desert tortoises have a tendency to wander back to their homes. The stress of being in unfamiliar terrain makes these tortoises more vulnerable to predators, disease and dehydration. They also face the danger of being hit by off-road vehicles.
Senator Feinstein has said there are other places in the California desert "essential and appropriate" for building solar energy plants, but there are also areas “that future generations will thank us for setting aside.”
Please approve the California Desert Protection Act not only to preserve these beautiful natural areas and their resources, but also to help ensure that tortoises and other endangered wildlife will survive for future generations to appreciate.
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