🌞 Controversial Solar Project in the Mojave Desert 🌞

🌞 Controversial Solar Project in the Mojave Desert 🌞

🌞 Controversial Solar Project in the Mojave Desert 🌞

A California-based renewable energy company, Avantus, plans to clear thousands of protected Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert for the Aratina Solar Project, which will power nearly 180,000 coastal homes, not the local communities impacted by the project.

πŸ“ Location: 2,300 acres near Boron and Desert Lake, CA, in Kern County.

🚨 Local Concerns:

  • Residents: Angered by construction dust and the impact on endangered desert tortoises.
  • Ignored: County officials unanimously approved the project despite residents' concerns.
  • Quote: β€œLet’s destroy the environment to save the environment,” says Deric English, a local teacher.

βš–οΈ Environmental Trade-Offs:

  • Solar & Wind Fields: Aim to reduce greenhouse gases but involve destroying undeveloped land and harming wildlife.
  • Joshua Trees: Avantus plans to destroy 3,500 Joshua trees, including over 500 standing 16 feet tall.

🌿 Avantus' Statement:

  • Website: β€œAvantus is working to preserve native Mojave plants like Joshua Trees while also preserving California’s ability to achieve its clean energy goals.”
  • Impact Mitigation: Claims to have a positive track record with wildlife agencies and environmental organizations.

πŸ“œ Project Approval:

  • Kern County Board of Supervisors: Approved in October 2021.
  • Economic Impact: $3 million in sales taxes and $73 million in property taxes.
  • Joshua Tree Protection Fund: $1.4 million set aside to protect Joshua trees elsewhere in the state.

πŸ’‘ Electricity Distribution:

  • Nonprofits: Some electricity will go to Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Central Coast Community Energy.

🌳 Legislation:

  • Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act: Passed in 2023, bans killing trees without a permit. The Aratina project was approved before this act and the Joshua tree’s candidate status for state protection.

#RenewableEnergy #SolarProject #EnvironmentalImpact #JoshuaTrees #MojaveDesert #CleanEnergy #CommunityImpact #ClimateChange #Sustainability 🌍⚑