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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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

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