Protection and Preservation of Blythe Geoglyphs

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    California Energy Commission, Bureau of Land Management
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California Energy Commission
California Office of the Governor
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Indian Affairs
California State Senate Members
California State Assembly Members
California Congressional Representatives of the United States
California Senators of the United States
Secretary of the Interior, Department of the Interior
President of the United States

In late 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar introduced a "fast track" process for large scale renewable energy projects to be located in the California deserts. This fast track process provides energy companies with significant publicly-funded financial incentives from the federal government if they break ground on projects before the end of 2010.
The rush for fast track project approval to obtain these incentives has resulted in hasty and incomplete environmental and cultural assessments of the areas to be impacted. While there are brownfield sites in and around urban areas that could easily be used for these renewable energy projects, and more efficient alternative energy plans available to address renewable energy production concerns, public lands throughout the California deserts are being selected instead, with significant environmental and cultural impacts which cannot be reversed after projects are constructed.
One such site, the Bltyhe Solar Millennium project site, will destroy Native American geoglyphs, trails, and other cultural resources. Questionable methodology has been used to attempt to discredit these cultural resources when there is direct evidence from Native Americans contradicting the assertions reached by those seeking project approval. Native American tribal governments and organizations have also been improperly left out of much of the process, or not given enough time for proper evaluation and consultation due to the fast tracking process, and little has been done by the California Energy Commission or the Bureau of Land Management to ensure the public has had the opportunity to adequately review or comment on this, and other renewable energy projects sited for the California deserts.
Therefore, we the undersigned request that each of these governing bodies listed above take all necessary action to immediately halt the final approval of the Blythe Solar Millennium project, which has already been approved by the California Energy Commission, despite receipt by the CEC of information informing them of some of the matters and concerns listed above. We request the project be relocated; that all relevant tribal governments and organizations be properly consulted with regard to all project siting throughout the California deserts; and that protection for the geoglyphs and cultural resources of the Blythe site be provided so that these cultural resources may be better documented, studied, and their ceremonial and spiritual use may be continued. If other renewable energy projects being fast tracked in the California deserts may likely result in destruction of valuable ecological or cultural resources, we strongly recommend they be halted until adequate reviews and public input may be conducted.