After a weeklong confrontation between protesters and armed agents of the Bureau of Land Management, events at the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., came to an abrupt end Saturday when the BLM suddenly threw in the towel and left.
Speaking to a local TV news program Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada declared: “This isn’t over.” And he is certainly correct. The showdown between BLM and Cliven Bundy – the last rancher in Clark County, Nev. – was but the latest battle in a long-running conflict.
Supposedly at issue was the desert tortoise, a reptile on the endangered species list that purportedly could not coexist on the land with Bundy’s cattle. But why, many asked, would the turtle suddenly be threatened by animals it had cohabited with for the 100-plus years the Bundy ranch has been in operation?
A BLM document unearthed last week discusses mitigation strategies for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone, just southwest of the Bundy ranch. The “mitigation strategy” proposed to use the grazing lands near the Bundy ranch as a kind of sanctuary for the desert tortoise, because the entire region is slated for a large number of solar, wind and geothermal energy generation facilities.
The solar projects will obliterate most of the turtle’s natural habitat.
Bloggers quickly made a connection between the effort to remove Bundy’s cattle and a solar energy project in Southern Nevada financed by the communist Chinese energy firm ENN. It was to be the largest solar farm in the U.S.
Reid had lobbied heavily for the company’s business, even traveling to China. Reid’s son, Rory Reid, formerly a Clark County commissioner, became a lobbyist for ENN, and the Senate majority leader’s former senior adviser, Neil Kornze, now leads the BLM.
But the solar energy complex financed by the communist Chinese was not at the heart of the Bundy Ranch fiasco after all. The project died last year.
However, the BLM’s library of renewable energy projects revealed it was only one of more than 50 solar, wind and geothermal projects planned for Nevada, California, Arizona and other Western states. Reid was focused on at least one, and maybe more, of the projects, much closer to the Bundy ranch.
He was at the work site on March 21 to help break ground on the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. A close inspection of the project reveals why there is so much interest in the area and why the BLM, presumably at Reid’s urging through his former aide, Kornze, is so intent on getting Bundy off the land.
The leaseholder for the project is K Road Power, LLC, a New York City-based energy company. An examination of its website finds the business development manager to be none other than Jonathan Magaziner.
Magaziner was formerly an associate at the Clinton Climate Initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation. He is also the son of Ira Magaziner, former senior policy adviser for President Bill Clinton. The elder Magaziner now works for the Clinton Foundation on health and environment issues. There are likely other connections to Democratic insiders.
But that is not all. A company called First Solar is listed on a BLM renewable energy project map of southern Nevada, one of 11 sited in Clark County. Additionally, the map shows six wind projects in Clark County and also lists the K Road Moapa project under “transmission projects.” In other words, there is a lot more going on than media have reported.
First Solar investors comprise a who’s who of Democratic insiders, including major Obama campaign bundlers, billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones, Al Gore, Ted Turner and Goldman Sachs. First Solar’s CEO is Michael Ahearn, former fundraiser for both Obama and Harry Reid.
First Solar has at least three other solar projects in California. So it becomes apparent why the BLM, Reid and many other interested parties have such an intense interest in the desert tortoise.