Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Public Encouraged to Comment on Stateline Solar Project

The Department of Interior initiated the environmental review process for First Solar's 3.4 square-mile Stateline solar power project, which would further jeopardize rare plant and wildlife in the beleaguered Ivanpah Valley.  The public is encouraged to attend a meeting on 31 August (details below) or contact the BLM with concerns (POC: Mr. Jeff Childers, jchilders@blm.gov).

Public Meeting to discuss Stateline Solar power project:
Where: Primm Valley Golf Club
1 Yates Well Road
Nipton, CA 92364
When: 31 August, 6-9 pm
POC: Jeff Childers, jchilders@blm.gov
More info: BLM press release, click here.

Some issues of concern to consider:
  • The Ivanpah Valley's habitat supports a robust and healthy desert tortoise population, which is special since the desert tortoise is in decline throughout its range.
  • The Stateline project will put additional stress on a tortoise population already displaced and jeopardized by the construction of BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS).
  • The Ivanpah Valley hosts a number of rare plant species that cannot simply be relocated and are only found in a few other places in the desert.
  • The area provides foraging habitat for Golden Eagles and Bighorn Sheep.
  • First Solar is also proposing to build the 2nd phase of the Silver State Solar power project, also in the Ivanpah Valley.  Silver State would destroy nearly 10 square-miles of desert tortoise habitat.
  • Both the Stateline and Silver State projects would constrain wildlife movement in the area. 
    The Google Earth map above shows the footprints of three solar power projects proposed for the Ivanpah Valley.  The ISEGS project (5.6 square-miles, already under construction), the Stateline project (3.4 square-miles, proposed), and the Silver State Solar power project (approx 10 square-miles, second phase proposed).  The cumulative impacts of all three projects on such pristine wildlands would be immense.

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