Solar dish, © NREL

CA Bill Short Circuits Environmental Review of Controversial Solar Project

BREAKING: The California State Legislature passed a highly controversial bill (AB 1073) today allowing a single massive solar-energy project to bypass mandatory environmental reviews by state and local regulatory agencies.

Despite concerns raised by local citizens, conservation groups and American Indian tribes, the California Energy Commission approved in 2011 an earlier iteration of the Calico solar project, but the project has since changed ownership from Tesserra to K-Road Power and change in content and scope.

Revamping the project would normally require additional local and state environmental studies to evaluate the impact of the new technology, but AB 1073 would send the project straight back to the California Energy Commission (CEC), who is expected to rubberstamp its permit.

Defenders’ California program director, Kim Delfino, criticized the legislature’s vote.

“The legislature’s action is a serious setback in the effort to plan for the best renewable energy future for our nation and California,” Delfino said. “The Calico solar project poses such a significant threat to the sensitive Pisgah Valley that it comes as no surprise that K-Road Power would push for legislation that short circuits any environmental review that would bring to light the project’s true impacts.”

DESERT TORTOISE, (C) Jeff Aardahl/Defenders of Wildlife

The Calico solar project is slated to be built on some 4,000 acres of environmentally sensitive public lands in Pisgah Valley, which provides vital habitat for threatened desert tortoise, golden eagles, desert big horn sheep and other imperiled wildlife.

A number of the nation’s leading conservation groups, including Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, recently filed federal lawsuits against the project due to incomplete, insufficient environmental review of the project’s potential to harm imperiled wildlife and protected species..

“Unfortunately, California’s lawmakers allowed a single developer to bypass environmental laws designed to protect the public’s interest,” Delfino added. “This move is purely for the benefit of one company, does nothing to speed up our transition to clean energy, and will only lead to more controversy, costly delays and destruction of environmentally sensitive lands.”

 

2 Responses to “CA Bill Short Circuits Environmental Review of Controversial Solar Project”

  1. Michael Callaway

    Why dose every potential step forward have to be corrupted by greedy politicians. A group of developers see a chance to make millions and have paid off the state of CA for special access to public land with out competition or any common sense.

    unfortunately before alternative energy is pursued it has to be a big long term cash cow< humanity and the environment damned.

    Until we stop focusing of how much we can acquire in our individual life time, let the next group figure out how to fix the mess we are doomed as a species by our own near sightedness.

    Reply
    • Angelo

      From what I understand, Bermuda has done a lot of work using new and old towdras sustainability on a resource limited island. You might want to look into what they do and then scratch the surface.Have you ever visited care2.com? It has a lot of info, numerous links, and then links to links. Don’t forget to consider solar-thermal energy assistance and use; you pre-heat water or other materials stragetically placed and/or plumbed to reduce the solar power load. A lot of folks currently reducing thier grid use and/or going off the grid are returning to 12 volt systems or sub-systems. (It is my understanding that back in the day, obviously before my day, that 12 volt electricty arrived at homes long before the current 110/220.) Also, have you ever been to cityfarmer.org? It is out of Vancouver, BC and its goal is to promote city farming in the Vancouver area and world wide. Certainly at one time, it had a board for the posting of urban farming research, papers, and the more. It also had a posting of a guy who did a paper (thesis/thesis related I think) about establishing farming capabilities in poor, urban areas with limited water access and use. His area was some place in Africa. Posted were some dimensions and drawings of some raised beds using found scrap materials for the growing of lettuces and I think it was tomatoes. The beds included different levels and a slucing system that were arrived at. Included in the discussion were alternative material suggestions, critical technical aspects about the bed dimentions and slucing system, yield discussion, and future and alternative design considerations one could/should make. I’m not sure if this board or posting still exist but, the administrator can probably get you information from the archives. Certainly in the past, this was a good site for connecting to others doing urban and other food production exploration under different conditions.

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