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December 18, 2008

Green Path North Meeting

I was at the first public meeting of the Coachella Valley Coaliton at the Carl May Center tonight in Desert Hot Springs. The meeting was run by Russ Betts, DHS city counil member, and most of the movers and shakers were there, including four members of the city council (Karl Baker was at home packing his bags) and Joan Taylor of the Sierra Club. Jim Caldwell from the LADWP showed up as their representative. He was a bit late due to a traffic accident at the 10 and 605. Here's a site that says Jim Caldwell is an assistant general manager at LADWP. On this Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce page he's described as "Environmental Affairs, LADWP." So, maybe he's the assistant general manager of environmental affairs, but a Google search of the LADWP website turns up no Caldwells.

After a short video, most of the meeting was questions and answers. Judy Shea had an interesting suggestion that Mr. Caldwell did not answer: has LADWP considered running a new powerline in the air space above the Southern Pacific lines that parallel I-10? Does anyone know if something like that's been done before?

A speaker from the high desert announced the idea of including Big Morongo Canyon Preserve in Joshua Tree National Park. This idea has the support of the people at Big Morongo, and would make sense in terms of the migratory nature of the animals that move from Joshua Tree into Big Morongo for water and to get to the San Bernardino National Forest. For our environmental purposes, extending the national park like that would block Green Path North as well as any future proposals to run something up those hills.

The speaker said the process of including new land in a national park can take something like five years. If you support the idea, the thing you can do now is to contact Congressman Jerry Lewis who has already expressed his opposition to Green Path North and let him know you support the expansion of Joshua Tree National Park to include Big Morongo Preserve.

One member of the audience asked if this was the same proposal she thought she had heard about in October to include BLM land in Joshua Tree National Park. It is not. I believe she was referring to an announcement by DHS City Manager Rick Daniels in August that Senator Feinstein's Wilderness Bill would take BLM land that lies between the city and the boundary of the national park and add it into the park, guaranteeing that nothing but wilderness would abutt the city.

Mr. Caldwell said that the NOI/NOP, indicating the official beginning of the environmental assessment phase, would be in the spring.

The next meeting of the Coachella Valley Coalition will be on January 22, at the Carl May Center again.

Here's a nice postcard that was being given away. On the back is pre-printed text that you can sign and send away to Mayor Villaraigosa. Click the photo if you want to read the text.
Green Path Invasion postcard

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Green Path North | permalink | December 18, 2008 at 10:09 PM


The CADesertCo.org website could use a little enhancement to their navigation. But I did manage to find the page where you can send letters to Rep. Jerry Lewis and the San Bernardino County Supervisors. I'll tell you, though, that elected officials pay more attention to individually composed letters or actual phone calls than they do to form letters.

Here's the text that California Desert Coalition suggests. You can take it and craft it for your own message.

Dear Congressman Lewis,

I would like to thank you for your leadership in opposing Green Path North and urge you to support the growing grassroots proposal to permanently protect areas of the desert that would be impacted by this and other such projects. Permanently protecting areas that would be impacted by these projects would enhance the quality of life and recreational opportunities for desert residents.

As a desert region resident, I feel that Green Path North and other large-scale renewable developments adversely impact people living in rural areas. I also feel these types of projects are unnecessary and that there are better, more effective ways of producing truly renewable energy, like investing in photovoltaic technologies and micro wind turbines installed on residential and commercial buildings.

The proposed Green Path North power line and many proposed large-scale renewable projects would impact several special wild places in your district, including:

The Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is a unique desert oasis and one of the 10 largest cottonwood and willow riparian habitats in all of California. It also boasts the second highest concentration of nesting birds in the United States and serves as a home and a critical wildlife corridor for animals like the California black bear, bobcats, desert bighorn sheep, and mountain lions. This area is a local favorite hiking and picnicking spot.

The Cady Mountains are an island of wildlife and rugged topography, as well as one of the few places where the Mojave River flows above ground. Nearly 200 species of birds and wildlife are drawn to the steady water supply. Native Americans utilized the water source, and Jedediah Smith and Kit Carson traveled through the area in the early 1800s on a route that is preserved here as the historic Old Mojave Road. Today, urban adventurers frequent the area for a chance to experience solitude and tranquility.

The Castle Mountains represent a critical linkage between the Piute Mountains and the New York Mountains for plant life, wildlife, scenic viewshed and watershed. The Castle Mountains are surrounded on three sides by the Mojave National Preserve, and vegetation consists of Joshua tree woodland, blackbrush scrub at a higher elevation, and pinyon-juniper forest at the highest elevations. This area of desert was recognized as a “unique plant assemblage” in 1980 by the BLM. The remote nature of this site protects the ability to enjoy increasingly rare natural quiet.

Protecting Big Morongo Canyon Preserve as part of Joshua Tree National Park, the Castle Mountains as part of the Mojave National Preserve, and designating these and other sensitive areas as wilderness will ensure that current and future generations will be able to enjoy these places as they are today. I appreciate your willingness to work with local communities toward true renewable energy solutions that allow us to preserve our quality of life and our nation's wild heritage.

You can go here to send an email to Congressman Lewis.

His phone number in D.C.: (202) 225-5861

His mailing address (old fashioned paper mail can be very impressive):
2112 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Posted by: Ron's Log at Dec 19, 2008 12:53:35 PM

The proposal to incorporate Big Morongo Canyon Preserve into JT National Park is critical to STOP Green Path North power lines and designation of a 2- to 5-mile-wide energy corridor through the preserve. In addition to personnaly writing Congressman Lewis, form letters to Lewis are being collected by the California Desert Coalition and other supporting organizations. I urge all to go to CaDesertCo.org to send this message to Lewis electronically and to print letters for acquaintances to sign.
The Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is a unique desert oasis and one of the 10 largest cottonwood and willow riparian habitats in all of California. It also boasts the second highest concentration of nesting birds in the United States and serves as a home and a critical wildlife corridor for animals like the California black bear, bobcats, desert bighorn sheep, and mountain lions.

Posted by: Donna at Dec 19, 2008 12:03:06 PM

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