I hope at least one of the projects will canceled altogether or at least substantially trimmed down. First Solar's reputation as a steward of the environment is at stake, and the company has no reason to ignore Fish and Wildlife Service concerns; the company has successfully built large projects on already-disturbed lands with minimized environmental impacts. These Ivanpah projects will be a mistake, but it is not clear the company recognizes the damage they may cause.
According to public comments made available by the BLM, a coalition of environmental groups (Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, NRDC, and the Sierra Club) asked First Solar to consider modifying the layout of the Stateline solar project site to avoid high quality tortoise habitat further from the dry lake bed. It is not clear if First Solar or the BLM will consider another alternative for the project, but Stateline could put some tortoises displaced by the BrightSource Energy project in double jeopardy.
|The map below was submitted by the coalition of environmental groups to the BLM. The red outline is the proposed slimmer project footprint that is assessed to avoid the higher quality tortoise habitat.|
|This photo was taken from Metamorphic Hill in the Ivanpah Valley, and shows much of the creosote scrub habitat that would be destroyed for the Stateline Solar project in California.|
|A cluster of Mojave yucca on the site of the proposed Silver State South project site in Nevada.|