Whether or not the Department of Interior approves the project will be a test for its supposed commitment to more judicious siting of large renewable energy projects on public lands. Three groups -- Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and the NRDC -- sent a notice to Interior in August warning against approving the project and pointing out deficiencies in last year's environmental review. The groups argue that the project could be sited on lands nearby that are already-disturbed for agricultural or industrial uses. Another environmental group-- the Wilderness Society -- recently touted Interior's reported commitment to develop a smarter energy policy that avoids destroying ecologically intact lands for solar facilities, although Interior's actions up until this point suggest it will continue to permit proposals on some of the most critical desert habitat.
|The creosote scrub habitat above is where K Road Solar is building its Calico Solar power project. The 7 square mile facility that would stretch almost to the Cady Mountains in the distance. Dozens of desert tortoises would be displaced or killed.|
|A cactus in bloom on the site of the proposed Calico Solar power project.|
|Prickly poppies, surrounded by bright yellow desert dandelions in bloom this spring near a sandy wash that cuts across the lower part of the Calico Solar site.|