By Tim "Land-Use Lumpy" Tolleson

Before I became an editor for then 3&4-Wheel ATV Action in September, 1985, I was a mud logger for five years. Job One was to prevent blow-outs and environmental degradation during oil/gas drilling operations, and I never lost a well. The science has progressed a lot in the going-on 40 years since I left the oilfield, so drilling is safer than ever. As I’ve written before, oil
and natural gas are billions of years of the Sun’s energy stored in Mother Earth, and only nuclear is a more powerful and efficient form of energy. The Swamp’s current war on fossil fuels and push for the Green New Deal is not only wrecking our economy and driving up energy costs, it’s going to utterly destroy the desert southwest’s habitat for endangered species like the
Desert Tortoise, Kangaroo Rat, California Condor, and many others.

Huge swaths of the Antelope Valley have been consumed by monsters and fence lines, sort of a reverse Jurassic Park. Why hasn’t the ESA been used to stop these and future Condor Cuisinart forests?

Let’s look at the facts, the biggest being that every product we buy is either mined or grown or a combination of both – the clothes we wear, food we and our pets eat, the UTVs we drive and maintain, everything. Levis can’t be made without petroleum products. Ending fossil fuels will throw us back into the Stone Age, and we’ll wear animal skins and eat their flesh, until
there are no more animals to hunt and eat.

According the, you have to mine a half-million pounds of Mother Earth to build one EV battery. And the minerals that make those EV batteries make a lap around Earth by diesel-powered ships during the battery-building process. To get the diesel to fuel those ships – and the 18-wheelers that deliver everything we consume to market – you have to drill a hole in the ground. Oil exploration temporarily impacts a handful of acres; bulldoze a pad and create settling ponds, and bring in the drilling rig, pipe, casing, cement, drilling mud, water, and portable buildings. Drilling takes a few months, but now fracking (hydraulic fracturing of shale) involves drilling several directional holes using the same hole at the surface – think of a tree’s root system deep underground. Once operations are finished, the site is rehabilitated. Compared to even farming, oil/gas exploration is environmentally a very small footprint on the Earth’s surface, and many wells are off-shore where no crops can be grown.

Welcome to the forests of the future. So-called protected oaks will be cut down for power transmission lines. Protected Joshua trees (foreground) will be protected no more.

When I was in college studying forestry, Congress passed the California Desert Conservation Act of 1976 after years of study and 40,000 public comments, and Greens immediately mobilized to force the California Desert Protection Act upon us and create up to 11- million acres of defacto Wilderness. They used the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to shut down
the Barstow to Vegas Desert Classic and other long-time OHV races. I read about Dirt Bike Editor Rick Sieman and Louis McKey, the Phantom Duck of the Desert, fighting to revive B2V, and I decided I wanted to join the fight as a magazine editor.

I was there when the BLM arrested Rick and Louis, and I teamed up with AMA District 37’s Dana Bell to fight the Greens and Swamp. I wrote an op-ed titled “Democracy is more endangered than the Desert Tortoise,” which the Greens were using as an ESA pawn to shut down B2V. Not one newspaper would publish it, because it chronicled how Greens where
wielding the ESA as a weapon. Raven populations were exploding, and ravens were preying on juvenile tortoises. The BLM found one raven nest with 273 dead tortoises around it, so they scheduled a raven hunt for the worst predators. You guessed it – the Sierra Club sued the BLM
to stop the hunt! Preserve the problem, avoid the solution at all costs!

High-tension power lines for solar and wind farms will consume more land if the Green New Deal becomes law. Anyone remember all the lawsuits concerning cancer clusters under power lines?

Rick and McKey won in court and brought back B2V, but only temporarily. The California Desert Protection Act eventually passed, and “motorized” was changed to “mechanized” in the final form to kick mountain bikers off millions of acres of public lands, along with OHV enthusiasts. I truly believe that the Government foisted this monstrous bill on California so we
wouldn’t be able to see what is happening to the beloved desert I learned to ride in, along with millions of others. I live near a power station in Acton, and all of the solar and wind projects have tripled the size of the plant. Dozens of “protected” oaks were cut down, and trails that families used for weekend picnics and kids learning to ride were destroyed.

The desert southwest will soon have its own Dead Sea, complete with incinerated ducks and other migrating waterfowl. So much for the ESA stopping environmental degradation of endangered species habitat!

Last Friday, we rode to Bean Canyon’s “The Saddle,” and the view of Antelope Valley was deeply disturbing. Thousands of acres of habitat have been totally and permanently denuded and fenced off for solar-panel farms and wind-mill forests. High-tension power lines connect these “smart-grid” projects to cities, and one local wildfire was caused by a red-tailed
hawk exploding into flames and falling to the ground from these power lines. Primm, Nevada, has a particularly deadly solar project with garage-door sized panels directing beams at three towers, and any bird flying through those beams spontaneously combusts. Desert windmills are
known as “Condor Cuisinarts.” So, what happened to the Endangered Species Act? Why are our supposed elected representatives not fighting against the Green New Deal using the very ESA that has been used so often against us? If we don’t use the ESA to stop the GND, our desert will be completely consumed with solar and wind projects paving over our OHV areas. The only trails left will be boring, straight and graded ones under high-tension power lines.

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