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BLM GIves Public Ocotillo Desert Land To Developers: National Public Lands Day

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There is to be a funeral procession mourning the loss of the Ocotillo Desert in Imperial County, California, on Saturday, September 29, 2012 - National Public Lands Day. The public are invited.

Funeral procession organizers say the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was established to protect and preserve precious public lands. The stated mission of the BLM is to sustain the health of public lands for current and future generations by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

Energy Farms Trump Heritage

It seems that solar and wind farms are now more important than heritage and public lands, because recently, the BLM began a nationwide initiative to give away public land to developers of massive, industrial-scale wind and solar farms.

"The BLM has been given the profound responsibility to be the stewards of more than 245 million acres of public land, but instead, the BLM has effectively become the development arm of the U.S. Department of Interior by agreeing to sacrifice tens of thousands of acres of the public's land for industrial energy development. Taxpayers are subsidizing large corporations with hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds, production tax credits and low-cost loans."
- Terry Weiner, Desert Protective Council.

Although the BLM seems to have changed from being a steward of the nation's natural and cultural resources to a land office for energy developers, the BLM is participating in National Public Lands Day (NPLD). National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer event to celebrate the nation's public lands heritage. This year's NPLD is Saturday, September 29.

To bring attention to the irony of celebrating public lands while BLM hands over tens of thousands of acres for destruction by corporate developers, the public is invited to a "funeral procession" to mourn the loss of the Ocotillo Desert in Imperial County, a biologically and culturally sensitive gem that has been, until this year, protected and preserved for current and future generations.

Earlier this year, the BLM gave Pattern Energy a right-of-way on 10,400 acres of the Ocotillo Desert to develop a huge industrial-scale wind farm. The Ocotillo Wind Energy Project consists of 112 wind turbines, each standing 450 feet tall, with a blade sweep that is longer than a football field. The project is located in the Ocotillo Desert east of San Diego, in Imperial County.

Funeral Procession details for the public

Meet at 6 a.m. Saturday, September 29 at the northwest corner of Interstate 8 and Imperial Highway (take the Ocotillo/Imperial Highway/Desert Parks exit, 90 miles east of San Diego). Funeral Procession will continue toward Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on Highway S2.

The mission of the Desert Protective Council is to safeguard for sustainable use by this and succeeding generations those desert areas of Southern California that are of unique or significant scenic, scientific, historical, spiritual, and recreational value, and to educate both children and adults to a better understanding of the desert.

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