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Senator Dianne Feinstein<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/f/dianne_feinstein/index.html?inline=nyt-per> introduced legislation in Congress on Monday to protect a million acres of the Mojave Desert in California by scuttling some 13 big solar plants and wind farms<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/w/wind_power/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> planned for the region.  Developers of the projects have already postponed several proposals or abandoned them entirely. The California agency charged with planning a renewable energy transmission grid has rerouted proposed power lines to avoid the monument.  "The very existence of the monument proposal has certainly chilled development within its boundaries," said Karen Douglas, chairwoman of the California Energy Commission.  For Mrs. Feinstein, creation of the Mojave national monuments would make good on a promise by the government a decade ago to protect desert land donated by an environmental group that had acquired the property from the Catellus Development Corporation.  "The Catellus lands were purchased with nearly $45 million in private funds and $18 million in federal funds and donated to the federal government for the purpose of conservation, and that commitment must be upheld. Period," Mrs. Feinstein said in a statement.  "This is arguably the best solar land in the world, and Senator Feinstein shouldn't be allowed to take this land off the table without a proper and scientific environmental review," said Robert F. Kennedy Jr.<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/robert_f_jr_kennedy/index.html?inline=nyt-per>, the environmentalist and a partner with a venture capital<http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/subjects/v/venture_capital/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> firm that invested in a solar developer called BrightSource Energy.  "I strongly believe that conservation, renewable energy development and recreation can and must co-exist in the California desert," Mrs. Feinstein said in a statement. "This legislation strikes a careful balance between these sometimes competing concerns."
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/22/business/energy-environment/22solar.html?ref=science

Dr. Stephen R. Humphrey, Director,
School of Natural Resources and Environment,
Box 116455, 103 Black Hall, University of Florida
Gainesville, FL  32611-6455  USA
Tel. 352-392-9230, Fax 352-392-9748
http://snre.ufl.edu<http://snre.ufl.edu/>