US

Federal authorities approve California tortoise removal

  • FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2008, file photo, an endangered desert tortoise, sits in the middle of a road at the proposed location of three BrightSource Energy solar-energy generation complexes in the eastern Mojave Desert near Ivanpah, Calif. Federal authorities have approved a plan to move nearly 1,500 desert tortoises from a Southern California Marine base. The removal could begin at the end of March or in April 2017, after the reptiles emerge from their underground winter hibernation. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2008, file photo, an endangered desert tortoise, sits in the middle of a road at the proposed location of three BrightSource Energy solar-energy generation complexes in the eastern Mojave Desert near Ivanpah, Calif. Federal authorities have approved a plan to move nearly 1,500 desert tortoises from a Southern California Marine base. The removal could begin at the end of March or in April 2017, after the reptiles emerge from their underground winter hibernation. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this April 4, 2008, file photo, U.S. Marines wait for a desert tortoise, endangered and protected from harm or harassment by federal law, to move off the road during an operation by Military Police to stop trespassers from stealing metal ordnance on the grounds of the U.S. Marine Corps' Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif. Federal authorities have approved a plan to move nearly 1,500 desert tortoises from a Southern California Marine base. The removal could begin at the end of March or in April 2017, after the reptiles emerge from their underground winter hibernation. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

    FILE - In this April 4, 2008, file photo, U.S. Marines wait for a desert tortoise, endangered and protected from harm or harassment by federal law, to move off the road during an operation by Military Police to stop trespassers from stealing metal ordnance on the grounds of the U.S. Marine Corps' Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif. Federal authorities have approved a plan to move nearly 1,500 desert tortoises from a Southern California Marine base. The removal could begin at the end of March or in April 2017, after the reptiles emerge from their underground winter hibernation. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sept., 30, 2015 file photo released by the U.S. Marines Corps, Combat Center Chief of Staff, Col. James F. Harp releases a tortoise during the Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs-hosted ceremony for the first release of tortoises from the Combat Center's Desert Tortoise Headstart Program, near Twentynine Palms, Cailf. Federal authorities have approved a plan to move nearly 1,500 desert tortoises from a Southern California Marine base. The removal could begin at the end of March or in April 2017, after the reptiles emerge from their underground winter hibernation.  (Lauren Kurkimilis/U.S. Marines Corps via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Sept., 30, 2015 file photo released by the U.S. Marines Corps, Combat Center Chief of Staff, Col. James F. Harp releases a tortoise during the Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs-hosted ceremony for the first release of tortoises from the Combat Center's Desert Tortoise Headstart Program, near Twentynine Palms, Cailf. Federal authorities have approved a plan to move nearly 1,500 desert tortoises from a Southern California Marine base. The removal could begin at the end of March or in April 2017, after the reptiles emerge from their underground winter hibernation. (Lauren Kurkimilis/U.S. Marines Corps via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Federal authorities have approved a plan to move nearly 1,500 desert tortoises from a California Marine base.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/2mnGrVs ) says the Navy and the Bureau of Land Management have signed off on the proposal.

The Marine Corps wants to remove the tortoises from about 88,000 acres of land at the Twentynine Palms base in the Mojave Desert so it can use the area for training.

Exercises with tanks and live ammunition are scheduled to begin in August.

The removal could begin at the end of this month or in April after the reptiles emerge from their underground winter hibernation.

The tortoises would be flown by helicopter to BLM land near Barstow.

Critics say the move will devastate the threatened species.

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Information from: The Press-Enterprise, http://www.pe.com