Articles filed under Impact on Wildlife from Nevada
Across the U.S., more than 800 utility-scale solar projects are under contract to generate nearly 70,000 megawatts of new capacity ...More than half this capacity is being planned for the American Southwest, with its abundance of sunshine and open land. These large projects are increasingly drawing opposition from environmental activists and local residents who say they are ardent supporters of clean energy. Their objections range from a desire to keep the land unspoiled to protection for endangered species to concerns that their views would no longer be as beautiful.
A fleet of consulting desert tortoise biologists have been sweeping the 3,000-acre Yellow Pine Solar Project site near Pahrump with shovels to move as many protected desert tortoises out of harm’s way as possible before the site is converted to millions of solar panels, according to the press release by Basin and Range Watch, a nonprofit working to conserve the deserts of Nevada and California.
A land battle is brewing at the site of what could be Nevada's newest national monument, Avi Kwa Ame.
In the case of Yellow Pine Solar, Emmerich said the land where it is likely going to be built is home to Mojave yucca and desert tortoise, which is a threatened species. “The Yellow Pine area is on some really pristine public lands that contain a lot of the traditional, what I like to call, old-growth Mojave Desert areas,” he said. Emmerich described the area as an "unbroken desert landscape." In addition, it is along the Tecopa Road, which is a road that tourists use to travel between Death Valley and Las Vegas.
Want to know why renewable energy remains controversial, despite widespread agreement that it is vital for our future? The answer is location, location, location.
Opposition to a new “clean” energy project near Searchlight is coming from an unlikely source — environmentalists.
According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Las Vegas Field Office, the agency is now in the process of closing the application for the project, 18 months after a federal judge voided the federal approvals for the project because of the likely harm to desert tortoises and golden eagles.
On February 3, 2015, Judge Du had ordered BLM to prepare a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on eagles due to inadequate surveys. In 2011, surveys funded by BLM found twenty-eight golden eagle nests within 10 miles of the project site, many more than the three nests the developer reported in its flawed avian surveys.
In April, attorneys filed in U.S. District Court of Nevada a lawsuit (Searchlight suit) accusing former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of acting in “a manner that is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law” when he granted permission for construction of an 87-turbine wind farm east of Searchlight on 19,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land. The suit alleges the Final Environmental Impact Statement, on which Salazar based his approval, was written by consultants for Searchlight Wind Energy, which is owned by Duke Energy. The suit says the FEIS is a one-sided and an incomplete portrait of the project’s adverse environmental impacts.
Earlier this month, attorneys filed in U.S. District Court of Nevada what we will call for the sake of brevity Bundorf v. Salazar. (Searchlight wind suit) The suit accuses former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of acting in "a manner that is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law" when he granted permission for construction of an 87-turbine wind farm east of Searchlight on 19,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land.
Plaintiffs charge that the project, to be built by Duke Energy, would (in the words of the suit) "pose significant adverse harm to a wide array of sensitive and protected species ... including desert tortoise, golden eagles, bald eagles, and residential and migratory birds and bats... through direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts" which weren't adequately addressed.
The 30-page complaint says that the environmental impact statement (EIS) "presents a one-sided and incomplete portrait of the proposed project and its likely adverse environmental impacts." "The Project would pose significant adverse harm to a wide array of sensitive and protected species -- including desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, golden eagles, bald eagles, and resident and migratory birds and bats -- through direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts."
Environmentalists and three Nevada residents are suing the Interior Department over its approval of the Searchlight Wind Energy Project, arguing the wind farm would sit in an area of the Mojave Desert that would cause widespread damage to sensitive wildlife habitat.
The wind farm and its transmission lines "will dominate the Searchlight desert and mountains," and the turbines, "with spinning blades that reach as high as the top of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas," will ruin the area for visitors, residents and businesses, the complaint stated, as well as cause "significant harm" to an array of animals through "direct, indirect and cumulative impacts."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting an investigation after a golden eagle was killed in late February at the Spring Valley Wind Farm, about 300 miles north of Las Vegas. ...the wind farm could face a fine of up to $200,000 because it does not hold a federal "take" permit that would allow the incidental death of a golden or bald eagle. Stafford said the matter is under investigation by the service's Office of Law Enforcement.
Already a dead Golden eagle was found on February 25 at a wind turbine generator in the Spring Valley, a place with a dense population of eagles. Those who knew thae area had predicted eagle mortality was likely, but no one thought it would be so soon after the project was completed.
Conservation, labor and American Indian groups are challenging the projects on environmental grounds. The lawsuits, coupled with a broad plunge in prices for energy from competing power sources, threaten the ability of developers to secure expiring federal loan guarantees and private financing to establish the projects.
"Despite very significant and unknown environmental and cultural impacts, and against the advice of several sister agencies and its own personnel, BLM refused to conduct the full environmental analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act. Instead, under pressure from high-level BLM officials and the industry proponent, BLM rushed through a short-cut analysis."
Some environmentalists are breaking ranks and fighting the solar industry. The problem, as they see it, is that tens of thousands of acres of mostly pristine desert is slated for bulldozing to accommodate utility-scale solar power plants in Nevada and across the Southwest. ...Renewable energy developers have long been the darlings of environmental groups, but Saturday's event highlights a growing rift within those groups.
Silver City residents expressed mixed reactions after learning recently of a proposed wind turbine project for the nearby ridge lines. Residents weighed the greenness of wind power with the amount of visual pollution that the tall towering structures could bring to the popular 1860s-era tourist destination communities in the Comstock Historic District, which is also designated a National Historic District. The proposed project would also affect the views of people living in Washoe Valley. Great Basin Wind, LLC's new Comstock project was discussed during the September Silver City Town Board meeting's public comment segment.