Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Third Lawsuit Filed to Stop Solar Farm

Three local groups and a back-country activist filed suit Thursday against federal officials, asking a judge to stop an already troubled 10-square-mile solar farm.

They claim officials violated federal environmental laws in approving it and other projects.

"In an ill-conceived rush to accommodate massive renewable energy projects vying for multi-billion dollar federal tax credits ... the federal defendants precipitously approved unnecessarily destructive energy development," they said in the suit.

The lawsuit in the third in San Diego federal court seeking to block construction of the Imperial Valley Solar Project.

Lawyers for the federal government and the developers say the project was approved properly, and point out that it was changed to deal with possible harm to wildlife and cultural sites.

In one of the earlier suits, a San Diego judge ordered developers and federal officials a month ago not to begin construction until they have consulted with the Quechan, a Yuma-area Indian tribe.

A second lawsuit targeted six big solar farms with claims they would damage sacred sites.

The Imperial Valley Project would feature around 28,000 mirrored dishes pointed at the sun in order to concentrate heat on Stirling engines, which would turn it into electricity.

Developer Tessera Solar said it doesn't have money to build the project and is looking for a buyer. It sold a sister project in San Bernardino County to a San Diego firm that scrapped plans to use dishes exclusively and is now working to build it using photovoltaic cells.

Tessera and sister company, Stirling Energy Systems, are both owned by NTR, an Irish conglomerate.

San Diego Gas & Electric featured the Stirling dishes in promoting the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, which is also the target of a lawsuit by the three groups seeking to stop this project.

The suit was filed by the Protect Our Communities Foundation, Backcountry Against Dumps and the East County Community Action Coalition, as well as Boulevard activist Donna Tisdale.

It names the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management, as well as their leaders, Ken Salazar and Robert Abbey, respectively.


1 comment:

Henry Kelton said...

IF the Indian tribe, EPA, and wires company has approved this project, why sue? The Historical sites could be protected, and directed by tribal members, and other AHJ's. Is this just a play to get attention, $$$$ from the developer? Sounds like someone with to much time!