Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors

1. long detailed stories on blogspot (here!)
2. short messages on Twitter
3. automated news feeds from CA enviro websites in the right-hand column which change frequently and are not archived by our website (that's why we now have a twitter account to permanently capture the memorable feeds)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

California Desert News:

--Should Solar Power Plants Escape Environmental Impact Review?
--More Mining near Calico, north of Barstow
--Two Military base expansions threaten endangered plants and public use

"The Sun King" (Wall Street Journal, 9/14/08)
Opinion page: "Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, thinks he has a partial solution to America's dependence on high-priced foreign oil. But he says liberals and environmentalists are rejecting it. Mr. Rohrabacher -- who notes 130 pending applications for solar power projects on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management -- has introduced a bill to allow the building of such plants without environmental-impact studies."

"Mining company renegotiates purchase of Langtry property" (San Bernardino County Sun, 9/14/08)
"Langtry comprises about 400 acres, and it's estimated to have 72 million ounces of silver and almost 3 million tons of barite. The company also wants to start drilling by year's end on the Laviathan Property, a 1,300-acre piece of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management and also located in the Calico Mining District ... Barite is a heavy material used in manufacturing oil drills."

"Wildlife service believes Fort Irwin plant not endangered" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 9/16/08)
"After completing a five-year review of 16 endangered species in California, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended Sept. 10 that the status of the Lane Mountain milk-vetch be changed from endangered to threatened." The plant "is found only in an approximately 20-mile strip of land north of Barstow, with about half the habitat on Fort Irwin and half on Bureau of Land Management lands. The milk-vetch improves the quality of desert soil by converting nitrogen from the air into a natural fertilizer."

Lane Mountain Milk-vetch to Be Dishonorably Demoted

After calling a truce in July over protecting habitat for California's Lane Mountain milk-vetch, last Wednesday the Bush administration renewed its assault on the unique, pea-like plant when it announced it would downgrade the milk-vetch's Endangered Species Act protections. The Lane Mountain milk-vetch, found only in the central Mojave Desert -- mostly within the recently expanded boundaries of the Fort Irwin Army base -- is threatened with destruction by off-road vehicles, tank training, mining, and suburban development. On July 24, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledged the plant's danger when it settled a lawsuit with the Center over a flawed 2005 decision not to protect any habitat for the species; the agency agreed to propose new habitat protections by 2010. Yet less than two months after the settlement, the Service did a sudden about-face and recommended that the plant be reduced to threatened rather than endangered status under the Endangered Species Act -- despite the fact that the milk-vetch exists in only four populations on the planet. Check out our press release at and get more on the Lane Mountain milk-vetch on our Web page.

"Public meetings planned for Twentynine Palms Marine Corps withdrawal application" (BLM-California news release, 9/15/08)
The Bureau of Land Management and the Marine Corps will host public meetings on October 23 and 24 to present the proposal for possible expansion of the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base and to discuss the legislative withdrawal process of the public lands in San Bernardino County. The locations, times, and formats for the meetings will be announced in the near future.

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