Feds Weigh Stateline Solar Impacts

By Published On: March 15, 2013

In another race between the tortoise and the hare and renewables feeding the grid, the Bureau of Land Management is considering 350 pages of comments on the proposed 300 MW Stateline photovoltaic solar project as of March 8. It’s planned for an area that is rife with new developments that all affect wildlife, scarce water resources, and desert solitude. First Solar is developing the photovoltaic project. It’s set for eastern San Bernardino County on 2,000 acres of public land managed by the Bureau. Several environmental groups noted potential alternatives—such as distributed solar—were not considered in the federal agency’s process. Defenders of Wildlife wrote that the solar project would “contribute to increased habitat fragmentation and loss, and further loss of desert tortoises.” The comments also considered that the Stateline project isn’t the only human use affecting, or set to affect, the Ivanpah Valley. Projects also under development for the area include Southern California Edison’s Eldorado-Ivanpah transmission line and substation; the DesertXpress party train between Los Angeles and Las Vegas; and a gas transmission line for the Molycorp Mine. “Due to the extraordinary level of development currently underway or proposed in this region” environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity are calling for suspending approvals for the solar plant and other developments until there’s more intense scrutiny by the Bureau. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in general, appears to support the project. But, it too requested more information and more mitigation measures.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now