Dear Readers and Friends of the California Desert, I urge your action against the proposed Soda Mountain Solar Project, south of Death Valley National Park and proposed for development immediately adjacent to the Mojave National Preserve. Renewable energy projects should be smart from the start, but the proposed Soda Mountain Solar Project is the poster child for inappropriately sited renewable energy projects and threatens the Mojave National Preserve, bighorn sheep migration corridors, desert tortoise habitat, the endangered tui chub pup fish, and scenic view-sheds. With your help we can force the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to understand the full range of impacts this project proposes for wildlife, viewshed, the Mojave National Preserve and adjacent Wilderness Study Areas. Together we can ensure that the BLM does not blindly approve this harmful project (what’s wrong with “green” energy?).
The Soda Mountain Solar Project is a 350-megawatt photo-voltaic electric power generating plant proposed on 4,397 acres of public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) some six miles southwest of Baker, California and immediately adjacent to the Mojave National Preserve (yes, immediately adjacent to a
National Park). The application by Soda Mountain Solar, LLC requests a right-of-way authorization to construct a solar field on 2,691 acres, a project substation, an access road, operations and maintenance buildings, and to realign approximately 3.3 miles of Rasor Road. The Sierra Club’s Desert Report recently featured a piece on this proposal which outlines this tragedy in the making. Author Sid Silliman explains that “[t]he consequences for the Mojave National Preserve are of special concern because the project threatens not only the particular resources and landscape that Congress mandated to be protected by the California Desert Protection Act of 1994, but the very integrity of this treasured unit of the National Park System.”
Public meetings for the proposed project will be held on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday, January 9, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Comfort Suites, 2571 Fisher Blvd., in Barstow, California. There will also be a public meeting on Saturday, January 11 from 1-4pm at the Travel Lodge in Yucca Valley, California (54850 29 Palms Hwy). Please consider attending the National Parks Conservation Association’s Soda Mountains Solar Workshop on Friday, January 10 from 4-6pm at the Joshua Tree Art Gallery. This workshop will be hosted by my friends and desert saviors Chris Clarke, David Lamfrom, and Seth Shteir who will discuss this project, its proposed impacts, and what can be done about it. Please attend one of these meetings (join me at Wednesday’s meeting in Barstow) to speak against or submit comments opposing this destructive project. If you cannot attend, I urge you to please submit comments by March 3, 2014 to:
or by fax:
Meetings schedule recap:
- Wednesday Jan 8 in Barstow 6pm-9pm Comfort Inn and Suites (join me at this one)
- Thursday Jan 9 in Barstow 1pm-4pm Comfort Inn and Suites
- Friday Jan 10 at the Joshua Tree Art Gallery on Hwy 62 in Joshua Tree, CA 4pm-6pm. (Pre-Meeting) Speakers Chris Clarke, David Lamfrom (NPCA), and Seth Shteir (NPCA) will discuss this project, its proposed impacts, and what you can do about it.
- Saturday Jan 11 in Yucca Valley 1pm-4pm Travelodge
Please share this post widely with others who care about our National Parks, protecting desert wildlife and views, and with those who care about holding renewable energy developers responsible for not harming our world-famous deserts (tourists travel from around the world to take in our vast and timeless desert views). Together we will kill this proposal. PLEASE HELP STOP the Soda Mountain Solar Project!
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