I need to correct the record on this blog. In two previous posts (7 August and 12 August) I updated you on the evidentiary hearings for the Calico Solar power project, in which the company proposing the project--Tessera Solar--sought to bar the testimony of a respected desert botanist named Jim Andre. The company argued that he signed a confidentiality agreement when he helped other experts understand how to spot rare plant life on the proposed Calico solar site.
I had downloaded and reviewed the transcripts for the 4 and 6 August hearings and concluded that he did not testify since he was not among the witnesses in those hearings. I assumed that Tessera Solar had succeeded in buying the silence of the public's natural resources expert. However, the California Energy Commission just posted the transcripts for the 5 August hearing, at which Mr. Andre did in fact testify, despite the objections of Tessera Solar.
This comes as quite a relief since the energy company's attempt to disrupt the public's effort to learn about the solar site's impact on desert plant life was underhanded (you can read about that in my previous posts). The mere fact that Tessera Solar tried to silence a scientific expert in the field is frightening and should serve as a warning to the public of the sorts of tactics that private interests may resort to in order to ram their industrial projects through the State certification process.