Skip to comments.($25 Mil To Move 25 Tortoises) 'Million Dollar Tortoises' Shed Light On State's Environmental Laws
Posted on 12/29/2009 11:18:32 AM PST by DogByte6RER
'Million dollar tortoises' shed light on state's environmental laws
James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
They might be the most expensive tortoises to walk the San Bernardino County desert.
A northern California energy company will pay $25 million to relocate and protect 25 threatened desert tortoises before it can start building a massive solar power plant in the northeastern part of the county near the Nevada border.
And while calculating the environmental impact is more complicated than saying "$1 million per tortoise," the case illustrates the tremendous complexity - and high cost - of environmental laws that come into play when building just about anything in California.
Oakland-based BrightSource Energy isn't complaining about the environmental costs and says it is commmitted to good practices.
"We want to set a good environmental precedent for future solar power plants," said BrightSource spokesman Keely Wachs. "We are currently in the middle of the permitting process and will use that formal avenue to communicate our positions on any matters."
The estimate is based on the cost of buying, cleaning and protecting enough land for the relocated tortoises - and the plants and animals already living on that land - to survive.
BrightSource will use about 4,000 acres of land for its power plant, located about five miles southwest of Primm, Nev.
To meet environmental regulations, it will have to pay to acquire, clean and protect about 12,000 acres of additional land.
You can't simply relocate the tortoise population of one 4,000-acre area to a second one, as the second one has its own tortoise population, said John Kessler, a project manager with the California Energy Commission, the state agency that must sign off on the solar project.
Even if you cleaned up and fenced off that second area, he said, you could only make it hospitable for about 33 percent more tortoises than already live there.
That's why, Kessler said, Bright Source has been asked to buy and make habitable three times as much land as they're using for the plant. With three 4,000-acre tracts, each one able to handle one-third more tortoises than the average, new habitat should be available for all of the tortoises the power plant displaces.
Kessler said it's not yet clear where the 12,000 acres of protected land will be.
The biggest cost associated with the land isn't buying it, Kessler said, but protecting it forever.
The $25 million estimate assumes paying about $910 per acre to purchase the land, but about $1,350 per acre to set up an endowment fund. The interest from the endowment will be used to pay to protect the land forever.
Kessler said $25 million is a small sum compared to the overall cost of the project.
"We're talking about $25 million compared to $1.5 billion," he said. "It's something like 2 percent of their overall costs."
Relocated animals almost always die.
California is bankrupt.
I am sure this makes perfect sense in lala land.
Throw them in the back of pick-ups and move them for a grand each, tops.
I’ve got a truck and a horse trailer, I’ll hire a couple of cheap documented workers to run them down and put them in the trailer for $8,000 each.
$10,000? You greedy sob... :)
Desert tortoises are quite adaptable. Unless they are going to pave over 4000 acres, all they would have to do is supplement their food. They wouldn’t have to move them.
Someone offers me $1k each to move some big turtles and there will be an Abathar shaped puff of vapor as I head for my truck...
The California Desert Tortoises have GPS trackers on them, and every Marine performing exercises in the desert is given a pamphlet that explains what to do if they encounter one. You have to stop all exercises and call an 800 number so the EPA can come out and relocate it.
I’ll shoot the turtles, capture the environmentalist, send them to Yemen with explosive underwear on for free and that will solve the states problems for any future environmental issues.
Its like the stimulus money, where is it really going?
Does anyone think $2 million really went to weatherize 7 Texas houses? Where did that money really go?
If Greg Abbott really wants re-elected he should have that investigated.
If not complaining, it's because they are getting some 'green stimulus' money to cover it. So it's not their money they are spending, but yours.
Kessler said it's not yet clear where the 12,000 acres of protected land will be.
Heck, who knows. It might even start with his backyard where he dumped the turtles.
The interest from the endowment will be used to pay to protect the land forever.
Translation: Large enough slush fund we can pilfer it for a long time.
What the hell. It’s only money. Tax payer money.
Senators Push to Extend Direct Cash Grants Until 2012
One of the most popular funding program that has come out of the Obama stimulus is the $3 billion direct cash grant program administered by the Treasury Department. So far some $1 billion have been distributed, largely to support wind projects and mostly going to European developers.
The program was set to expire next year, however Senators Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.), and Jeff Merkley, (D-Ore.) recently introduced a measure that would, among other things, extend the grant program two years passed its 2010 expiration to 2012 see full press release below the fold.
The grant extension provision was largely under-reported yet, it is a crucial development, considering how popular this funding stream has been with renewable energy developer.
The move is not surprising. From the start the Treasury Department had opted not to cap the grant funding, a clear indication that depending on its success, it would eventually be extended.
The new Feinstein Merkley legislation would also make grants available to public power utilities...
If our enemies were smart, they'd establish endangered/protected species refuges on their beaches.....
Is this one of the RFK Jr. connected sites?
Save the Kennedys. Relocate them all to Massachusetts!
If solar can't exist in the same place as turtles, it's not “green”
It's all a way to foolishly spend money and further bankrupt the country.
Like Pelosi's rat's nest, where she got $30 million from the stimulus porkulus boondoggle
I won’t snark; I DO care about the tortoises. But PRIORITIES are what we need here. The state is bankrupt and cannot afford this use of funds. If private aid cannot fill the gap, then sadly the tortoises are on their own.
I think what they mean by “green” is dollars. Going green means grabbing tax dollars. Our deserts are going to be littered with the results of going green gone bust for decades.
This kinda cr@p is makin’ my head hurt!
I had one as a pet when I was a kid. My aunt found it on her property, and gave it to me.
And they’re going to want me to come and pay for CA with my taxes—when they can’t even manage their budget and they have citizens out of work and starving. But by all means, spend $25 million on a frickin’ handful of turtles!
Relocated animals almost always die.”
As I write this, the BLM, under orders from Ken Salazar is rounding up over 2500 wild horses in Northern Nevada and planning to relocate them to “holding pens” in the Midwest.
We have Gopher Tortoise here in Florida. That’ll cost you a minimum of $800 just to pay for the spot to relocate them to. That doesn’t include the permitting to get permission to move them off your own private property. Forget that they dig large burrows that can swallow a zero-turn mower rear tire if one isn’t paying close enough attention. Forget that any animal that you place in pasture with Gopher burrows could easily step in one and break a leg.
Even the monetary/energy “genius” T. Bone(sic) Pickins-after pushing windmills-earlier this year started trying to sell his stockpile of them.
I think he is eating them.
It seems the greens love windmills, but hate having the infrastructure installed to get the juice in use.
Might disturb spotted owls, turtles and Pelosi’s rats.
Check you wallet for some real pain...that's where they are aiming.
These would be the same tortoises that were purtnear extinct and we had to stop running the Barstow to Vegas race, now they have a population density that is at saturation?
Did you read the article?
Whoops. But I don’t see how this still doesn’t show a tremendous waste of money due to government regulation. Agreed?
Compounding that problem is that our superiors in Washington shut down all the horse slaughterhouses in the country because we can't treat horses like livestock, after all.
Near where I live there is a well-to-do area of large estates and large herds of whitetail deer. The locals went insane at the idea of controlled bow hunting by bloodthirsty Bambi killers. They passed and ordinance and started trapping the deer and moving them to "rural" areas that had their own deer overpopulation problems.
Bottom line, the conservation department tracked some of the deer, and as far as they know not a single one ever survived.
It would be sort of like somebody trapping you in a box, transporting you five hundred miles from home, and releasing you in a remote location.
The important thing is the locals got to feel good about never letting the deer be harvested humanely and put to good use as human food. They can be proud of the fact that they trapped them in a little box, put them through the terrifying ordeal of being transported hundreds of miles and being released in a territory where they did not know how or where to find little things like food and water.
It doesn't matter how they suffered. The important thing is they weren't murdered.