Sierra Club Steadfast Against Destructive Calico Solar
The Sierra Club asked the California Energy Commission (CEC) to halt its review of K Road Sun's revised proposal to build the Calico Solar power project, but the CEC dismissed the Club's challenge. The project will destroy nearly 7 square miles of pristine desert on public land, and displace or kill many rare plant and wildlife species. As I mentioned in a previous post, the CEC permitted the Calico Solar power project under a different owner last year, even though that company did not even have the financial or technical ability to build the project. The new company, K Road Sun, is also of dubious pedigree, and is rushing the CEC for approval so that it can receive loans and grants from the taxpayer.
Why should California electricity customers and American taxpayers pay for K Road Sun's plans to destroy pristine desert habitat on public land? We need to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and increase renewable energy generation, but companies like K Road should not be given a free pass to destroy our natural resources when there are better places to put solar panels, such as rooftops and parking lots. In fact, a CEC working group studying options to increase distributed generation reported in May that California's infrastructure is capable of more rooftop installations with relatively minimal hassle, which would spare our wildlands for future generations.
The Sierra Club is not alone in opposing the destructive solar project. Defenders of Wildlife filed a brief in support of the Sierra Club's opposition. Also, BNSF Railroad opposes the project and filed a complaint with the CEC on Wednesday, according to the Daily Press. The company operates a rail line through the site and is concerned that glint and glare from the solar panels could blind its train engineers.The Sierra Club told the The Sun newspaper:
"The Sierra Club is very much in favor of renewable energy but this is a bad location ...," adding that the area is "important habitat for the desert tortoise and the big horn sheep."
|Prickly poppy and desert dandelions bloom on the site of the proposed Calico Solar power project in the central Mojave Desert.|