We are hearing from Pipes Canyon residents that on Wednesday, March 13, crews were removing meteorological towers from Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa – two volcanic mesas east of Big Bear and northeast of Yucca Valley.
The wind testing was done by Desert Mesa Power, a subsidiary of Element Power, of Portland, Ore. The company had applied to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to develop a wind energy farm on top of the mesa and butte.
Proponents said the project would have helped reduce global warning and boost California’s progress toward clean energy goals.
Area residents and environmental groups opposed the wind development, contending the 400-foot-high turbines would damage the unique landscape of flat-top mesas rising from a boulder-strewn valley, as well as impair wildlife habitat and destroy Native American cultural sites.
In January, BLM officials announced that the Portland company had withdrawn its application, saying the wind was inadequate to support a commercial energy operation.
Now, with helicopters ferrying the tower components to the canyon below, the plateaus should be once again the domain of wild animals and occasional hikers.