Even Sustainable Construction Projects May Have A Negative Environmental Impact

Apr 27, 2017

Environmentalists question the impact of a hydropower project on Joshua Tree National Forest.

California leads the country in aggressively pursuing the use of renewable sources to generate power. This is an admirable and necessary goal but renewable energy projects, like all construction projects, have some impact upon the environment.

Devin Henry, in an article in THE HILL, reports on the “proposed Eagle Mountain hydroelectric plant near the southern California park…” (Joshua Tree National Park)

The plant, which will pump water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir to create a water reserve, is surrounded on three sides by the park.

It is one component in California’s plan to generate “50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has completed an environmental impact study begun during the Obama administration that finds the proposed hydroelectric plant will have “no significant impact” on the environment.

This is good news for supporters of the project which include Governor Jerry Brown (D), U.S. Representative Paul Cook (R), and several Democrats in the California State Assembly.

“The National Hydropower Association called the Eagle Mountain proposal a ‘prime example of hydropower’s untapped growth potential to create jobs and provide more energy.’”

Environmentalists have reservations. They are concerned the project may harm the nearby National Park. The park’s superintendent has asked the BLM to conduct further environmental impact studies.

Mr. Henry believes that “lawsuits against the project, which is awaiting final approval, are also likely.”


Feds: Hydropower project by Joshua Tree National Park won’t hurt environment, Devin Henry, THE HILL, April 21, 2107.