APPROVAL OF HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT NEAR JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK CLOSER

APPROVAL OF HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT NEAR JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK CLOSER

A controversial hydroelectric power project on the southern border of Joshua Tree National Park is another step closer to reality after the Bureau of Land Management said Thursday that pumping billions of gallons of water from the aquifer, and building power transmission lines would have “no significant impact” on the environment. Eagle Crest Energy Company intends to build a 1,300-megawatt hydroelectric power plant that would pump nine billion gallons of water from the aquifer into a hydroelectric dam at the site while energy from solar farms and windmills is meeting or exceeding demand, and then release the water to generate power when demand for electricity is high. Supporters, who include Governor Jerry Brown, say it will help the state reach its mandate of producing 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy. Critics, including Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith, say the project will have several negative impacts on the environment, including depleting the aquifer and harming the environment and threatened species. A 30-day protest period on the proposed plan opened yesterday. More information can be found at https://www.blm.gov/press-release/blm-announces-next-steps-eagle-crest-hydroelectric-project-riverside-county

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