The Alliance for Desert Preservation is actively opposing the Soda Mountain Solar Project, recently approved by the BLM despite vehement local opposition. The Alliance has begun a petitioning campaign in the High Desert to protest this egregious example of the federal government not listening to local input.
Our elected representatives in San Bernardino County have already told the BLM that large, ugly, utility-scale energy projects should only go on severely degraded lands away from population centers and recreation attractions.
But the BLM ignored the county and put out a plan (the DRECP) calling for big utility-scale energy projects on hundreds of thousands of acres in the High Desert.
Then the BLM went on to approve the Soda Mountain project. This is a huge, industrial-scale solar project sponsored by Bechtel, the largest construction/engineering company in the U.S. This behemoth would sit right next to the entrance to the Mojave National Preserve, and near the towns of Baker and Newberry Springs.
The project would consume 300,000 gallons of precious groundwater every day for three years—if the county grants it a well permit.
Local communities oppose the project because it would destroy views, hinder wildlife, drive away tourists, and injure the fragile local economy. Even the BLM’s sister agency, the National Park Service, has sharply questioned the wisdom of this project.
Even more absurd is the fact that Solar Mountain Solar doesn’t even have a buyer for whatever electricity it would generate.
The Alliance petition asks the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to (1) deny Soda Mountain’s intention to extract 300,000 gallons of groundwater a day from our parched desert, and (2) Adopt a resolution urging the BLM to say no to development on “Unallocated Lands” in San Bernardino County.
Soda Mountain photo courtesy Michael E. Gordon Photography.