In the spring of 2010, I was minding my own business, directing a small nonprofit whose focus for 15 years has been to fight any and all attempts to privatize public land. From bad land swaps that benefit billionaires and cheat the public to congressional selloff schemes, we thought we'd seen it all. Then along came the Obama administration's push to deal with climate change and energy dependence by turning our Southwest deserts into factories for industrial-scale solar energy.
Cheered on by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and subsidized through the Energy and Treasury departments, what's come to be called "Big Solar" was on track to take over hundreds of thousands of acres of public land. While the developments would be on land leased, not purchased, from the government, it became clear to us that the transformation and permanent industrialization of the land really amounted to privatization.
Joy Hughes, Founder, Solar Gardens Institute http://www.solargardens.org
CEO, Solar Panel Hosting LLC http://www.solarpanelhosting.com