Skip to comments.Groups Sue Solar Project to Protect Imperiled Wildlife and Wild Lands [so much for solar]
Posted on 03/27/2012 4:28:37 PM PDT by SJackson
Calico Developers Reject Relocation, Choosing Pristine Wild Lands Over Degraded Sites
Sacramento, CA - The proposed California-based Calico solar project fails to meet basic environmental protection requirements and threatens imperiled wildlife, according to Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club. The groups are filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior after failing to reach agreement with the developers and the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to move the project to a location without major environmental conflicts.
Over the course of three years, the environmental groups met 10 times with the Bureau of Land Management and Calico's current and former developers, K-Road Power and Tessera Solar (respectively), to urge the developers and Interior to relocate the project to less environmentally sensitive lands. Some of these options included degraded private agricultural lands near the proposed project that would significantly reduce the project's impacts and bring it more in line with "smart from the start" principles. All these options were rejected.
The Calico project will use single-axis tracker photovoltaic panels similar to this one to capture sunlight. � NERLThe proposed project covers 4,000-plus-acres of vital wildlife habitat in the Mojave Desert's Pisgah Valley - an area four times as large as San Francisco's Golden Gate Park - and is located on key desert tortoise habitat that connects several tortoise recovery areas in the region. Building a solar project here, the groups contend, would threaten at least six other imperiled animals and plants, including golden eagles, burrowing owls and Mojave fringe-toed lizard.
Defenders, NRDC and the Sierra Club have previously supported or reached agreements with developers of five of the seven large-scale solar projects approved in California by Interior since 2009. This consensus building effort resulted in better projects that would create almost 3,670 construction jobs, about 525 permanent jobs and nearly 2,600 megawatts of clean power while minimizing impacts on key species and wild lands.
Collaborative solar development efforts among these conservation groups, solar developers and federal, state and local agencies will continue, including a joint effort to help shape Interior's national solar program that will provide a robust blueprint for successful and responsible solar development on public lands in California and the rest of the West.
Statements from leaders of the conservation groups presenting the lawsuit:
"We drew a line in the sand and the Calico solar project crossed it," said Johanna Wald, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "My colleagues and I tried very hard to avoid litigation and filed this suit as the last resort. We have focused instead on consensus building to improve as many large-scale solar projects as possible to transition our nation to clean energy sources while protecting wild lands and wildlife. The Calico project, however, is an example of a solar project done wrong from the start."
"The Pisgah Valley is just too critical for desert tortoise recovery and for a whole suite of important desert species like golden eagles," said Sierra Club Senior Representative Barbara Boyle. "We need to build renewable energy, but we can find much better places that don't harm important wildlife and habitat."
"What's frustrating about the Calico solar project is that the developer and the Bureau of Land Management can avoid the worst impacts to wildlife by being 'smart from the start' and moving the project to degraded agricultural lands near the proposed site," said Kim Delfino, Defenders of Wildlife's California program director. "If this project moves forward at this location, Calico will irreversibly harm the sensitive Pisgah Valley and the desert tortoise."
Wind and solar mega-projects do way more environmental damage than fracking for oil/gas or putting in a nuke plant. Coal is probably actually cleaner. But watch Obama and his green cronies cling on to the bitter end for their power play.
Without ridiculous subsidies solar electric can never be competitive delivering high quantities of reliable energy. We are now even subsidizing solar panel manufacturers because the Chinese manufacture at lower cost (just the reason the iPod is manufactured in China). The Chinese are building nuclear plants as quickly as they can, but they'll happily take what's left of our money so that we can diminish our economic competitiveness. They will manufacture using nuclear or coal generated electricity, while knowing that the U.S. hasn't a prayer of competing with our vaunted manufacturing efficience if we are constrained to paying ten or more times the price for electricity.
Remember, usable solar energy is available, depending upon the season and latitude, for about six hours each day, averaged over a year. To be competitive, the other 18 hours must be supplied by stored energy. For high value low power applications solar certainly has a role. But its role in this political climate is to fleece the naive, and to create credible rationale for funding companies whose investors can “cash out”, like Solyndra and a hundred like it, while investors wait for the right time to bail out - just before bankruptcy - and the naive are left, like GM investors, having supported the lifestyles of the faux environmentalists, who knew just when to bail.
The 70 eagles and tens of thousands of lesser birds killed each year by wind turbines at Altamont were sacrifices to the tax deductions for savvy investors who made enough to need shelters. Solar is the same, though affecting different animals, including humans. Solyndra's CEO knew what he was doing. He got a $500 million dollar severance package after Solyndra had declared insolvency. Solyndra was a scam from the outset, as anyone with experience manufacturing in California knew. California only admits to eleven percent unemployment. The enormous Solyndra facilities were built by out-of-work union tradesmen. Only the highest value terminology can be built in California, and it is moving out, even Apple, to Texas and elsewhere. Solydra was all about payoffs for people who knew the justice department was bought and paid for.
It is hard to tell which will cause more industrial accidents, maintaining 100,000+ tracking collectors over each solar farm six to ten miles on a side, hundreds of such farms, at night, or maintaining millions and millions of fuel cells, batteries, or enormous artificial lakes for pumped water storage of energy. Large scale solar energy is engineering nonsense depending upon the ignorance of most people for its propagation. Investors don't care. Their objective is to make money and get out - and that is as it should be. But the objective of government investment by this government is to further destroy capitalism. Read the writings of Presidential Science Adviser John Holdren or his associate, Amory Lovins, or Holdren’s co-author Paul Ehrlich (Ecoscience).
The hypocrisy abounds.
Environmentalists hate solar farms. And they hate wind farms. They only promote them if you are building a conventional power plant (and they are suing to stop you). But if you are building solar or wind, they’re going to sue you for that as well.
Thats because the membership are luddites and the leadership are shake-down artists.
But as you can see from the article, there is nothing green about wind and solar. They take up thousands of acres to produce the power a natgas plant could generate on 40 acres.
Still, its hard to imagine how a field of solar panels is going to harm a tortoise. Do they hate shade? I’m familiar with another solar farm where the issue was rats. As if rats can’t abide a little shade.
So you have dishonesty being used to refute dishonesty; we have to build the solar farm so the Bangladeshis don’t drown when the ice caps melt versus we can’t build it because the rats and tortoises can’t abide artificial shade as opposed to natural shade.
How about this: don’t subsidize solar. If they buy the land (which in this case they aren’t) but if they do buy the land, its theirs and they can do as they like. And lets recognize that the greenest form of energy is a natural-gas-driven turbine generator. They emit almost no emissions, and they take up almost no space at all. And, no subsidies required to make a profit.
The term you want is “solar strip mining”.
Seems like the environmentalists won’t be happy until we’re all reduced to using candles.
But, then, that might upset PETA.
Okay, let’s face it - what all these people really want is for the entire human race to die off and leave the planet to the animals, birds, fish, and trees.
Also, we have to be aware of the fact that these solar panels lose effectiveness in about twelve years and have to be replaced.
“-—nothing green about wind——” is more true than most imagine. I’ve written about this beore but what I point out is this: If one thinks we are dependent on petroleum now one should wait until we have wind. At current production levels it takes one supertanker load of oil to make the composites we are using just to make the blades per year. It takes another supertanker load of oil’s worth of energy to process the first tanker load. And the composite blades only last about ten years depending on how many eagles try to take them out with their heads. It therefore takes at least three sets of blades to get to the service life of the generator head——that’s a huge amount of “energy independence”