Forecast for Solar: Cloudy

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Solar_energy_power_266094_l.jpgNow that the Bureau of Land Management is deferring solar projects on public land, the forecast for solar energy seems a bit cloudy. What happened?

Just over a year ago, the BLM was actively encouraging solar projects to be shuttled through in a “timely manner.” Then it teamed up with the Department of Energy “to assess the environmental, social, and economic impacts associated with solar energy development.”

So what are the potentially negative environmental impacts of solar installations?

For starters, the BLM has identified these three: energy use and accompanying emissions required for manufacturing plants, hazardous materials used in production, and land use disrupting natural habitats and wildlife. But solar tends to come out favorably when pitted against building, say, another coal plant.

And with all this talk of a recession, why is the BLM trying to stunt an industry that’s creating thousands of new jobs across the country? The 2006-2007 solar installation boom generated 6,000 new jobs and injected $2 billion into the U.S. economy.

The BLM flip-flopping wouldn’t have anything to do with an administration hand protecting traditional energy industries, would it?

—Joyce Tang

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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