Wednesday, May 09, 2018

A radio magnate wants to build cell towers in the California desert. Trump might help.

...Brown Butte Road flattened out, and suddenly there it was at the top of the hill: a cell tower, 196 feet high, looming over the open desert. It emitted a low, electronic hum. Gammon built the tower in 2001. Today it serves customers of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon as they drive past on I-40, letting them make phone calls or read emails or stream videos. Gammon says the tower's reach extends 17 miles to the west and 12 miles to the east. It also serves San Bernardino County emergency responders. "It's a particularly valuable site," Gammon said. Gammon hopes to build dozens more towers like this one in California, Arizona and Nevada, extending high-speed wireless internet access to areas with poor service and bringing cell coverage for the first time to well-known dead spots, like the stretch of Highway 62 north of the Coachella Valley where phone calls are frequently dropped. But in California, Gammon says, an Obama-era conservation plan that protects millions of acres of open desert is making it harder for him to build that critical infrastructure. And the Trump administration seems to share Gammon's concerns. President Trump's Interior Department said in February it would consider changes to the Obama-era conservation plan, which covers more than 10 million acres of public land in the California desert. Department officials said they are looking for ways to increase solar and wind energy development, mining, grazing and off-road vehicle access. But they also suggested the desert plan creates barriers to improving internet access in rural areas — a priority for the president, who signed an executive order in January telling federal agencies to speed the approval of wireless broadband infrastructure. "Americans need access to reliable, affordable broadband internet service to succeed in today's information-driven, global economy. Currently, too many American citizens and businesses still lack access to this basic tool of modern economic connectivity," the executive order stated. "This problem is particularly acute in rural America."...MORE

Was it the intent of those proposing the desert plan to deny equal access to educational opportunities to rural children, and to risk the public safety of these residents by denying first responders adequate resources? Probably not  (although some would argue that hardcore enviros seek to limit human impacts whenever and wherever they can and by whatever  means available). That may not have been their intent but that is exactly the outcome they have caused, and this serves as an illustration of how these land preservation schemes result in negative consequences. No one can accurately predict what technological and other human innovations will occur in the next 15 years and therefor how these land set asides will affect the human condition, especially the rural population. Its hard enough to amend multiple-use plans so they are responsive to human progress, and nigh on to impossible to amend these environmental designations. Apparently the governing statute for this preserve will allow for such adaptation, but you can be assured any proposed changes will result in multiple lawsuits that will drag the process out for years. If this were a Wilderness instead of a preserve, the answer would be no from the get go. It would literally take an act of Congress to allow the construction and maintenance of additional cell towers. 

Most of these environmental designations are done at the behest of urban organizations, but most of the negative consequences are heaped upon the rural residents who live on or near the federal resource being "protected." These policies are anti-diversity in that they discriminate against rural families and their associated communities, who are being exploited by environmental organizations for their supposed philosophical/social gratification and/or the recreational enjoyment of the urban population. The end result is a less diverse population, and one in which one segment is being discriminated against for the exploitative benefit of another segment.

If this is not their intent, they should immediately amend their policy so as to allow the necessary flexibility in federal land use plans already in existence, and to no longer promote environmental designations that are so discriminatory and unable to adapt to human progress. If it is their intent, then they need to come clean and recognize the negative consequences of their proposals.

In the early history of the West, the feds intervened for economic development purposes and wreaked havoc upon the resource and some of the inhabitants in the process. The feds now intervene to prevent economic development and the advancement of the local population. In each instance the feds have harmed the West and its people. It is time the feds "got the hell out of Dodge" and let us pursue our own peaceful solutions. Adios.


Anonymous said...

"...hardcore enviros seek to limit human impacts whenever and wherever they can and by whatever means available"

They enviros have endless 'means' that are endlessly available to them by whatever
"friends of" non-profit that is propped up by the EAJA.

And, yet hardcore enviros don't seem to put any effort into stopping the impact of urban sprawl ...which not only eats up more land, but additional rural land is 'set aside' to 'offset' the land marked for urban development.

... these "friends of" non-profits pop up on every corner many are actually fronts for developers who want rural residents out of their way ?

soapweed said...

Dayum...... Will more communication opportunities make us rubes an endangered species?? We'll be even more subservient to the EPA. Guess we just can't win.......