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Showing posts with the label Western Watersheds Project

Governor Brown Misses the Point on Ivanpah

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California Governor Jerry Brown's office filed a legal brief supporting the destructive Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System in the northeastern Mojave Desert.  The legal brief was filed in response to a lawsuit from Western Watersheds Project seeking to halt construction of the Ivanpah project on the grounds that the Federal government conducted a faulty and hasty environmental review.  Since construction began, it has become clear that the earlier environmental review conducted by California and the Feds vastly underestimated the number of endangered desert tortoises on the project site.

Although the Governor is also seeking to increase distributed generation (e.g. rooftop solar), his support for one of the most environmentally destructive solar projects suggests his office does not understand the poor precedent set by the Ivanpah project in destroying pristine desert instead of siting such projects on already-disturbed lands

According to the Governor's legal brief, "…

BrightSource Energy Mitigation Plan Falls Short

Basin and Range Watch posted a review of the proposed desert tortoise habitat mitigation plan being considered by BrightSource Energy LLC.  The company's Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System is being built on 5.6 square miles of public land, and has already displaced as many as 50 endangered desert tortoises.   As part of it's agreement allowing the company to bulldoze and operate on public land, the company must purchase several thousand acres of privately held desert as mitigation -- the land must serve as good quality desert tortoise habitat and habitat for other special status species affected by the massive solar project.

The mitigation land under consideration near the Castle Peaks in the northeastern Mojave Desert is mostly at an elevation higher than 4,000 feet, which is above the average range of the desert tortoise.  The proposed site also does not host many of the rare plants that will be destroyed by the Ivanpah solar project

Desert experts have raised serious do…

Green vs. Greed: More Citizens Take a Stand Against Dirty Solar

Over the past two weeks, a coalition of concerned citizens who live and recreate in California's deserts have filed two legal challenges, one against the US Forest Service's approval of the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, and the other against the Department of the Interior's approval of the Imperial Valley solar power project.  These two new lawsuits included, there are a total of 6 challenges against State and Federal approval of destructive projects.  In sum, these legal challenges represent a maturing of America's view of renewable energy policy, recognizing that not all renewable energy is "green," especially when large utility-scale projects deprive future generations of America's natural and cultural heritage.   Distributed generation (rooftop solar) is a more cost-efficient and democratic way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

California's deserts were under siege last year by energy companies seeking to build several massive solar e…

Western Watersheds Project Stands Up Against Ivanpah Project

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The non-profit Western Watersheds Project (WWP) filed a legal challenge against the Department of Interior's approval of the Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System.  The challenge is the second lawsuit to be filed against Interior's approval of Ivanpah, a project currently under construction by BrightSource Energy on over 5 square miles of public land and pristine Mojave Desert habitat.  According to WWP's Michael Connor: “No project can be considered clean or green when it involves destruction of habitat for a species listed under Endangered Species Act on this scale.  The Department of Interior is tasked with siting energy projects in an environmentally sound manner. Instead it is allowing thousands of acres of important desert tortoise habitat to be bulldozed when there are alternative ways of generating power.”

Western Watersheds Project points out that the Department of the Interior's "fast-track" approval of the Ivanpah Solar project resulted in s…