A Special Report from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Photo by www.dusansmetana.com.
Energy and electricity are fundamental to America’s way of life. Increasing demands mean that we must expand our capacity to move energy from one place to another. With our nation’s growing reliance on renewable energy sources – solar, wind, geothermal and wave – to address climate change, coupled with the fact that we are straining our existing capacity from traditional energy-producing sources, such as oil, coal and gas, the need for additional capacity and new transmission lines is irrefutable.
As the country moves toward a greener energy future, renewable and alternative energy production will be increasingly promoted and subsidized, and the use of natural gas and clean coal will be expanded. All of these activities require new transmission capability. Ten-thousand to 30,000 miles of new, high-capacity transmission lines could be needed in the next 20 years to meet federal and state renewable-energy mandates.
Sportsmen and conservation groups recognize the need for cleaner energy and a more reliable power grid and transmission infrastructure. Solar, wind, wave, geothermal, biomass and even nuclear energy production are potentially cleaner alternatives to traditional power production. All have advocates who promote them as a means of addressing changing climatic conditions and other impacts to natural resources.
Technological advances place these cleaner sources of energy within our grasp. Yet they are abundant mostly in wild areas – deserts, mountain ranges, river valleys and plains – that are important to fish, wildlife and sportsmen. Wildlife do not respect ownership boundaries and use a mix of public and private lands depending on habitat conditions and seasonal needs. Proper stewardship of both private- and public-lands habitats is critical to sustaining healthy populations of fish and wildlife.
The potential impacts of transmission on the nation’s public lands has lately drawn much attention – and rightfully so. But private lands also could be adversely affected by transmission siting related to either renewable energy projects or new traditional power plants.
For more information on “Hunting and Angling on the Line” contact TRCP Center for Responsible Energy Development Director Steve Belinda.
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Western Outreach Director