Sierra Club Concerned About Rushed Calico Solar Approval Process

The Sierra Club informed the California Energy Commission's (CEC) that it should not approve the Calico Solar power project given concerns about the impact on desert tortoises on the 7 square mile site.  The Sierra Club objected to the rushed nature of the approval process that did not include adequate opportunities for public input, especially when the revised layout was decided between the CEC and Tessera Solar LLC.

According to comments submitted to the CEC and stated during a 22 October evidentiary hearing, the Sierra Club pointed to the unfinished nature of the desert tortoise translocation plan, which the CEC considered sufficient mitigation despite concerns that receptor sites for relocated tortoises would not be adequate.  Also, the fact that construction at the Calico Solar site will begin beyond late October could reduce the ability of biologists to find and relocate tortoises since the tortoises likely will be hibernating.

Another very significant point made by the Sierra Club, the CEC approved the project without considering the impacts of a 67 mile transmission line that will be necessary in order to bring the project online.  The transmission line will likely cut through more desert tortoise habitat and areas of critical environmental concern.  By approving the project without considering the unavoidable impacts of a transmission line, the CEC was committing itself to the damages the transmission line will bring without considering those consequences.


  1. It's got a shell on its' back. It walks very slowly. They are finding(and killing a few of them at Ivanpah)them in large numbers and they're only building a road so far in Ivanpah.

    This Calico site from my reading of the documents will have many more DT's than thought at Ivanpah, and the CEC and BlmDOI I guarantee will approve it, due to "over-riding concerns that we might not meet the AB32 mandate" or other gobbledygook.

    We already know how this will play out, it's already preordained, now the question is will the Sierra Club or another enviro group come to the desert's rescue with a NEPA suit?

    Or do hundreds more of the desert tortoises have to be sentenced to death by this bureaucratic nightmare process?

  2. I hope the Sierra Club will at least come through on this one. They have pretty much supported Blythe, Imperial, Ivanpah, Lucern Valley and have an entire hit list for the state of Nevada. They have a philosophy of supporting most projects and opposing one or two. In Nevada they will most likely oppose the Spring Valley wind farm, but get behind five others.

    All of our big enviro groups including the "pure" Center for Biodiversity are making deals. Center just supported Ivanpah for the trade off of grazing allotments in Arizona. Pretty useless!


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