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Letters to the Editor: Destroying California’s iconic Joshua trees to build solar farms makes no sense

Joshua trees
Climate change threatens the survival of Joshua trees, which grow within a narrow elevation range primarily in California’s high deserts.
(Mark Boster / For The Times)

To the editor: My heartfelt thanks to the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board for speaking in defense of the endangered Joshua tree, iconic marker of California’s high desert region.

Hopefully, the California Fish and Game Commission will do its duty under the California Endangered Species Act and designate the Joshua as a candidate for listing as “threatened.” The sad fact is that this should not even be an issue.

Renewable energy companies are well aware there are vast tracts of desert lands at lower elevations where Joshuas do not grow that are suitable for their projects. For example, Bristol Lake near Amboy, a dry lake bed, is nude of vegetation because of the halite in the soil.

Huge expanses of Ward Valley, Fenner Valley and Chemehuevi Valley are populated primarily by creosote and white bursage. The same is true of thousands of acres south and west of Baker and west of Blythe.

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There are those who see the desert as so desiccated that the hand of man can hardly do it harm. They are wrong. Greed and avarice can denigrate even the bleakest of realms. Take your projects to places the threatened Joshua trees do not live.

Gary J. George, Cherry Valley, Calif.

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To the editor: It is unfortunate and short-sighted for energy firms to block protection for Joshua trees. There is plenty of land in California, including rooftops, parking lots and land that is less important for biological diversity, to support all of the solar and wind energy we need.

California does not need to choose between renewable energy and protecting endangered species. The state Fish and Game Commission should accept the petition to protect Joshua trees.

David Bendall, Aliso Viejo


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