November 2, 2015 – Searchlight NV – Last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Miranda Du vacated the federal permits for construction of the Searchlight Wind Project in Southern Nevada. Judge Du found that environmental analyses prepared by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) inadequately evaluated the dangers that the industrial-scale wind project would pose to desert wildlife. She cited data missing from the agency surveys, inadequate assessment of potential threats to golden eagles, desert tortoises, and bats, and the need for additional explanation of the agencies’ conclusions. If the developer, Apex Clean Energy, wants to proceed with the project, the BLM would need to prepare a new Environmental Impact Statement to address the deficiencies she identified. The USFWS would also have to prepare a new Biological Opinion. This important decision will protect eagles nesting near the project site, the highest-density desert tortoise habitat in Nevada, the viewshed from adjacent parks and tribal sacred areas, as well as property values, recreation, and tourism near the town of Searchlight.
Basin & Range Watch, a grass roots group which works for desert protection and renewable energy alternatives such as rooftop solar, and one of the conservationist plaintiffs, called for the Searchlight area to be a solar and wind energy exclusion zone in their comments on the Bureau of Land Management. . . . more at: www.basinandrangewatch.org
GR: BLM and FWS act the way they do because they know that businesses control politicians who in turn control their agency’s budgets and jobs. Protecting resources is less important to them than protecting their itty bitty empires. Click here for more about Basin and Range Watch.