Protection of ‘Iconic’ Desert Site Supports Responsible Solar Development
By denying permission for a large-scale solar project in the Mojave Desert, near Death Valley National Park, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is striking the right balance between conservation and clean energy development, NRDC states in a post this week on The Energy Collective.
The ruling “aids in the protection of thousands of acres of desert lands that conservationists, local residents and community leaders have been focused on for years,” O’Shea writes. NRDC and local partners have spent decades working to protect the section of the Silurian Valley that “supports iconic desert wildlife including bighorn sheep and desert tortoise, an important piece of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, and outstanding recreational and scenic values.”
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The project was the first to be reviewed under the variance process of the Interior Department solar program, and BLM’s “diligent application of the variance criteria” sets an important precedent, O’Shea writes. “The denial of the Silurian Valley Solar project actually enhances the ability to achieve both goals in the desert.”