Posted February 12, 2013 by Indy Quillen. Categories:
Public Land Activists Sue Interior Department on Plan to Keep Millions of Acres Open for Industrial Solar Development.
February 12, 2013 - Three public-interest environmental organizations have filed a legal challenge against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to keep millions of acres of public land available to industry for siting of destructive utility-scale solar plants. In the complaint filed Tuesday, Western Lands Project, Desert Protective Council,and Western Watersheds Project cited the government’s failure to consider alternatives that would focus solar development on degraded lands and in the already-built environment. The government’s analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ignored alternative approaches that would be less damaging to the environment, more efficient, and less costly to taxpayers and ratepayers.
“The Administration is opting to needlessly turn multiple-use public lands into permanent industrial zones.” said Janine Blaeloch of the Seattle-based Western Lands Project. “Solar development belongs on rooftops, parking lots, already-developed areas, and on degraded sites, not our public lands. “
“The public lands of our southwestern deserts provide habitat for many special status species of wildlife and rare plants,” said Michael Connor, California Director for Western Watersheds Project. “If these species are to survive in the face of climate change, we need to protect their habitat, not convert it into an industrial wasteland.”
“Our desert species and ecological communities are already severely stressed by urbanization, roads, transmission lines, mining, military uses, recreation, grazing, and other impacts,” said Terry Weiner of the Desert Protective Council. “Interior’s plan intensifies the potential for permanent loss of all the things people cherish about the desert—uncluttered vistas, dark night skies, and deep peace and quiet.”
Janine Blaeloch, Western Lands Project, Seattle
(206)325-3503; cell 206-498-6695
Christopher Krupp, Western Lands Project, Seattle
(206)325-3503; cell 206-417-6363
Terry Weiner, Desert Protective Council, San Diego
Michael Connor, Western Watersheds Project, Reseda