The U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, has issued an order granting preliminary injunction to delay the start of construction on Imperial Valley Solar, a 709 MW concentrating solar power plant to be located near El Centro, Calif.
The injunction was issued at the request of the Quechan Tribe, which had sued the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), alleging insufficient consultation during the permitting process. Imperial Valley Solar, which is being developed by Tessera Solar, was the first project to receive BLM approval to be built on public lands.
‘Tessera Solar is deeply disappointed with the federal court's ruling last night,’ says Robert Lukefahr, CEO of Tessera Solar. ‘It is especially troubling given the very lengthy and comprehensive permitting and consultation process that Tessera Solar and the BLM have undertaken to ensure that Imperial Valley Solar would meet or exceed all federal and state guidelines to minimize impact on the desert land where this is located.’
During the course of the project's environmental impact analysis and consultations with the Quechan tribe, other Native American tribes and interested members of the public, Tessera Solar says it reduced the amount of land to be used by the project by approximately 30% from its original BLM application in order to avoid potentially sensitive areas, even when not specifically required by federal or state law. These changes included avoiding nearly all of the sensitive cultural resources located on the project site and incorporating substantial mitigation measures.
The company adds that it expects this injunction will be only a ‘short-term delay’ and that it will ultimately be allowed to proceed with construction.
SOURCE: Tessera Solar