DOI News

A Business Response to America's New Energy Frontier


by Jim Shipley, President of the Blythe Area Chamber of Commerce

As a business owner and the head of the Blythe Area Chamber of Commerce, I am excited about the new jobs and economic opportunities that will come with the Blythe Solar Power Project, which will be the largest of its kind when completed.

I am also appreciative of the effort that Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is currently leading to ensure that these new jobs and future clean energy projects in the region don’t come at the expense of our beautiful national parks, like Joshua Tree and Death Valley, and the tourism industry that they help to support.  

Every year, thousands of tourists flock to the Southern California Desert region to take in its natural beauty, unique wildlife, and recreation opportunities. In fact, Blythe’s population has been known to triple during the winter months with the arrival of new visitors seeking relief from their colder home states.  

Through his continued leadership of the ongoing federal solar energy siting plan, Secretary Salazar can ensure that new clean energy projects are sited in appropriate zones on our public lands, protecting the water, wildlife habitat, and breathtaking desert landscapes that our visitors come to see and enjoy.  

Breaking ground on the Blythe Solar Project is truly historic, and we welcome the opportunity to lead in this exciting new field. Secretary Salazar has an equally historic opportunity to lead the nation in creating a long-term plan for clean energy that creates jobs and protects our water, wildlife, and natural heritage.  

I, for one, am happy that Secretary Salazar clearly understands how to balance energy development with the preservation of the national parks and other public lands that help to sustain our local economy.