Solar Millennium withdrew its permit application for the 250 MW Ridgecrest solar project in Kern County. The California Energy Commission staff\u2019s ongoing concern about the solar thermal project\u2019s impact on the Mohave ground squirrel, as well as desert tortoise, was said to be the impetus for dropping the project. \u201cA review of the record strongly suggests California agency\u2019s staff is unlikely to be open to a recommendation of approval (assuming the results of the [ground squirrel] study are favorable). In light of these circumstances, it would not be economically viable to continue to pursue either the study or the project,\u201d Jim Abbott, Bureau of Land Management California director, wrote in a Feb. 7 letter to the Energy Commission. The BLM and commission joined permitting forces to advance larger renewable projects on public land. Certifying Solar Millennium\u2019s 3,920 acre project on public desert land was previously delayed to 2013 after the Energy Commission urged the company to undertake a $1.5 million, two-year study of the project\u2019s impacts on the threatened squirrel.