10 May 2012 CA Bill Short Circuits Environmental Review of Controversial Solar Project Posted by: James Navarro | 1 comment | Share: 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.” One Response to “CA Bill Short Circuits Environmental Review of Controversial Solar Project” Michael Callaway July 6th, 2012 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. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in The Votes Are In… You voted, and we listened – now the winners of Defenders’ 2014 Photo Contest are here! See if your favorite won, and take a look at some of the amazing runner-ups. We’ve Got to Protect What’s Left of the Sagebrush Sea New research shows that after a fire, the Sagebrush Sea (home to the imperiled greater sage-grouse) could take up to 20 years to fully recover. With other factors already threatening so much of this habitat, what does that mean for the species that call it home? California prepares to welcome wolves home, but delays on providing state protections Now, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves throughout most of the rest of the country, gray wolves are once again at risk. Delisting would short-circuit wolf recovery in the Pacific West and would effectively mean giving up on one of our country’s most important and iconic species. Fortunately, California has an opportunity to play a meaningful role in helping the gray wolf continue to recover in the coming months and years.