Blog Post David Lamfrom Apr 20, 2015

Say No to Soda Mountain Solar

Why say no to Soda Mountain Solar? NPCA has 6 reasons highlighting what's at stake near Mojave National Preserve.

Update, June 5, 2015: Today, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management announced its decision to move forward with a modified version of the Soda Mountain Solar Project, less than a quarter mile from Mojave National Preserve. The decision comes after nearly 19 months of deliberation, during which thousands of recreational users, national park lovers, and scientists and the National Park Service urged denial of the project. NPCA continues to oppose this harmful development. Learn more.

Soda Mountain Solar is a proposed solar energy plant that developers want to build in the shadow of Mojave National Preserve, right in the heart of the California desert. This proposal is the most harmful solar development that the Interior Department is currently considering.

The Soda Mountain facility would be built in one of the most important corridors connecting desert bighorn sheep habitat in the California desert. The area is also home to kit foxes, burrowing owls, and endangered desert tortoises. Nearby, rare desert springs that draw migratory birds and provide habitat for endangered desert fish could also be impacted by the project’s use of precious water resources.

Reason #1 Protect critical desert bighorn sheep habitat and preserve one of the most restorable bighorn connectivity corridors in the Mojave.

Reason #2 Protect the spectacular views and night sky values in neighboring Mojave National Preserve.

Reason #3 Protect iconic and imperiled desert wildlife including the desert tortoise, the desert kit fox, and the burrowing owl.

Reason #4 Protect National Park gateway communities from inappropriate development that they oppose due to its harm to their tourism economy and national parks.

Reason #5 Stick up for the little guy and honor long-term conservation investments in the region.

Reason #6 Leave it better than you found it, and think of the next generation.

Solar power is an important source of renewable energy—but like any major development project, it must be sited wisely. NPCA believes that lands that impact our national parks are not suitable for industrial-scale solar development. Other excellent alternatives exist: using brownfields and other disturbed public lands, continuing to develop rooftop solar resources on the existing built environment, and supporting projects of all sizes on suitable private lands.

On behalf of thousands of supporters, 120 key Bureau of Land Management stakeholders, partners, scientists, and former Interior Department employees joined together to urge the agency to protect the California desert’s Soda Mountains as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern​, a designation that would protect the region from this poorly sited project.

About the author

  • David Lamfrom Director, California Desert and National Wildlife Programs, Pacific

    David, the Director of the California Desert and National Wildlife programs, uses his passion and knowledge of our natural, cultural and historical resources to inspire others to learn about and protect our national parks.