The construction would come with a cost: Government scientists have concluded that more than 6 square miles of habitat for the federally threatened desert tortoise would be permanently lost.
The Sierra Club and other environmentalists want the complex relocated to preserve what they call a near-pristine home for rare plants and wildlife, including the protected tortoise, the Western burrowing owl and bighorn sheep.
In November, federal and state biologists reviewing the plan proposed that the company catch and move the tortoises and preserve 12,000 acres elsewhere, a proposal that could cost BrightSource an estimated $25 million.
BrightSource President John Woolard warned in government filings released this month that heavy-handed regulation could kill the proposal. He did not mention the tortoises directly but referred to "unbounded and extreme" requirements being placed on the company.
At a time when the White House is pushing for the rapid development of green power, Woolard predicted the outcome in the California desert would reverberate widely.
Friday, January 01, 2010
Big solar and even wind projects face a lot of stiff opposition - from other environmentalists: