Press Release Aug 23, 2016

San Bernardino County Scorches Country’s Most Harmful Solar Project

In a majority vote, the San Bernardino County Supervisors rejected key permits for the industrial-sized Soda Mountain Solar proposal - considered one of the most controversial renewable energy projects in the country.

San Bernardino, CA – Today, with hundreds of community members in attendance, San Bernardino County Supervisors voted by majority to deny key permits for the Soda Mountain Solar project. This move marks a major setback for the industrial-sized solar proposal and a major victory for the broad range of individuals and organizations who have adamantly opposed this project, considered one of the most controversial renewable energy projects in the country.

County review was the last remaining step in the permitting project for the massive solar farm, proposed to be built less than one mile from Mojave National Preserve.

The county, a co-lead agency in charge of permitting for the proposal, rejected the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) certification associated with the industrial-sized project. CEQA certification is necessary to advance or build the project.

The project has been blamed for sowing mistrust of federal managers, who have pushed for the project despite clear scientific evidence about the environmental harm. The Department of the Interior approved the project in March 2016.

Soda Mountain Solar is projected to negatively impact important habitat for desert bighorn sheep, kit foxes, burrowing owls and migratory birds. Such impacts have thus far led to an inability to secure a buyer for the energy that would be produced.

For the threats posed by Soda Mountain Solar to Mojave National Preserve, the park was selected as one of nine #ParksInPeril by National Parks Conservation Association.

Below is a statement by David Lamfrom, Director of California Desert and Wildlife Programs for National Parks Conservation Association

“The beautiful and wildlife-rich Soda Mountain site, located less than one mile from Mojave National Preserve, now lives to fight another day, thanks to the smart decisions by San Bernardino County’s Supervisors. The ever-growing list of opposition includes nearly 5,000 County residents, 50,000 national park lovers, more than 70 scientists, the National Park Service, the three closest communities to the project and chambers of commerce and tourism-related businesses across the county.

“Today, under the leadership of Supervisor Robert Lovingood, San Bernardino County Supervisors did what the Interior Department would not; they denied the nation’s worst renewable energy proposal. The science was clear, as were the impacts identified by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Park Service and Interior Department-appointed advisers. This project is known to be poorly-located and the risks far outweigh the benefits.”

“On behalf of National Parks Conservation Association and the many who have spoken out against this proposal, I am extremely proud that the San Bernardino County Supervisors chose to govern toward a future where our national parks, wildlife and tourism economies remain intact.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.