Lawsuits on the Horizon over Solar Plans

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Oct. 18, 2012 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Letters of protest have been filed by a number of environmental groups over the Department of Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plans to develop solar project on millions of acres of land in 6 western states (California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah).  They claim BLM is violating federal statutes and its own policies and will have severe negative impacts on the environment and wildlife.  This action is expected to forebode future lawsuits.  Among the groups reportedly filing protests were the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club.

Lawsuits cannot be filed until the after DOI Secretary Ken Salazar signs the “record of decision” for the plan, which marks it official finalization.  The signing is expected this month.

In addition, two major solar power organizations (Large-scale Solar Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association) filed a protest letter charging that the plan allows regulators to exclude projects that exceed a certain “insolation” level, referring to the amount of sunlight that is shining on a particular surface, in certain areas.  The industry groups maintain that projects are excluded in many areas, below the insolation level, where solar projects are still economically viable.  Industry group also listed a number of objections in a separate “informal protest letter.”

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