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Letters to the Editor: We can preserve precious desert habitat and have green energy

The Desert Sunlight solar farm in Riverside County.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: A provocative but misleading trope is that expanding renewable energy production conflicts with the conservation of our public lands, another cherished environmental priority. The truth is that with proper planning, compromise and a commitment to both goals, a vision of a greener future that protects our treasured outdoor spaces is possible. (“Two Biden priorities, climate and conservation, collide in the California desert,” Jan. 21)

Environmental groups raised the alarm when the Trump administration made an 11th-hour attempt to dismantle the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, known as DRECP. The plan was crafted through years of compromise and public engagement. It protects essential habitat while making room for solar and wind-powered energy.

The real story here is not that President Biden has to choose between competing priorities, but rather that the DRECP is a model that makes both conservation and green energy possible. Moreover, land conservation is a critical measure to combat climate change.

Thus, it’s imperative that the new administration recommit to the DRECP’s promise.

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Cecilia V. Estolano, Altadena

The writer is chief executive of Better World Group, an environmental policy firm.

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To the editor: This article does a good job showing how difficult it will be to reach Biden’s goal of increasing wind and solar energy production while also preserving open space. My problem is that it only very briefly touches on some topics that I feel are very important to this issue.

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For one thing, the article mentions a few times that the renewable energy industry was annoyed by the added environmental laws, as well as the fact that renewable energy uses metals mined in a somewhat unclean way.

It would be interesting to see what environmental impacts would be worse, the destruction of the land in order to build renewable energy plants, or not having access to the cleaner energy.

Additionally, the article mentions rooftop solar and very flippantly says that it would only contribute 1,500 gigawatts toward the 3,000 total of solar and wind energy needed to ahieve net-zero carbon emissions. But that literally accounts for half of the energy needed.

There needs to be more talk of combining several strategies such as rooftop solar and wind farms in the desert. Being mostly paralyzed by indecision is not going to help anyone.

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Leo Belman, Menlo Park


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