BLM’s Latest Solar Approvals in the Ivanpah Valley Not Smart from the Start

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Defenders of Wildlife challenges the Silver State South and Stateline Solar projects for violating Endangered Species Act protections

WASHINGTON (March 06, 2014) – Two new solar energy projects recently approved by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)—the Silver State South and Stateline Solar projects—would put the threatened desert tortoise at an increased risk of extinction by violating the Endangered Species Act, which has prompted Defenders of Wildlife to challenge the federal agencies’ approval of these projects in court. BLM’s approval comes after Defenders spent more than three years attempting to work with the BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) and solar companies to plan projects in the Ivanpah Valley in a way that would minimize impacts on endangered species and not undermine the future existence of the desert tortoise.   

The following is a statement from Kimberley Delfino, Director of California Programs, Defenders of Wildlife:

“Defenders wholeheartedly supports solar and other renewable energy development when it is planned properly and does not come at the expense of imperiled wildlife.

“The Ivanpah Valley is essential to the future survival of threatened desert tortoises and has already suffered massive habitat disturbance and destruction from other development projects. The Silver State South and Stateline Solar projects will destroy a critical recovery area for desert tortoises by cutting off the last open links between important tortoise populations— simply not the kind of renewable energy development that promotes a healthier environment for people and imperiled wildlife alike.

“Our fragile desert ecosystems can be brought to ruin by excessive and irresponsibly sited development. But we don’t have to choose between protecting imperiled wildlife and encouraging clean, renewable energy. All we have to do is plan smart from the start and move proposed projects into low-conflict areas, something the BLM and the Service failed to do when they approved the Silver State South and Stateline Solar projects in the Ivanpah Valley.”

Defenders is represented in this litigation by the public interest law firm of Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal.

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Contact: Courtney Sexton, csexton@defenders.org, 202.772.0253

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. Follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

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