Environmental groups Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club have filed suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) after failing to reach agreement with K-Road Power, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the location of K-Road Power's Calico solar project.
According to the groups, the project – in its current proposed location – fails to meet basic environmental protection requirements and threatens imperiled wildlife. Over the course of three years, the environmental groups met 10 times with the Bureau of Land Management, K-Road Power and former Calico developer Tessera Solar to urge the companiesÂ and DOI to relocate the project to less environmentally sensitive lands.
Suggested location options included degraded private agricultural lands near the proposed project that would reduce the project's impacts. These and other proposed options were rejected, the groups state.
The Calico solar farm is under development in the Mojave Desert's Pisgah Valley, where wildlife such as desert tortoises, golden eagles, burrowing owls and Mojave fringe-toed lizards live, according to Defenders of Wildlife, the NRDC and the Sierra Club.
‘The Pisgah Valley is just too critical for desert tortoise recovery and for a whole suite of important desert species like golden eagles,’ says Sierra Club Senior Representative Barbara Boyle. ‘We need to build renewable energy, but we can find much better places that don't harm important wildlife and habitat.’
Two previous lawsuits related to the Calico project were dismissed in April 2011.