A costly proposed solar power plant in Ivanpah, California, touted by President Obama as a "green jobs" initiative, is being sued by environmentalists. Nichola Groom of Reuters reports:
According to court papers, the non-profit Western Watersheds Project alleged U.S. regulators approved Brightsource Energy's 370-megawatt Ivanpah solar energy plant without conducting adequate environmental reviews, and asked the court to order the defendants to withdraw their approvals.
The complaint names the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as the agencies' heads and other staffers, as defendants. None was immediately available for comment.
"In an ill-conceived rush to accommodate massive renewable energy projects ... the federal defendants precipitously approved unnecessarily destructive energy development of the California Desert Conservation Area without first conducting adequate environmental reviews."
The complaint said the project's approval process failed to analyze and mitigate the Ivanpah plant's impact on migratory birds, the desert tortoise, which is a threatened species under federal law, desert bighorn sheep, groundwater resources and rare plants.
As Peter Wilson reported to AT readers last October, President Obama claimed that Ivanpah "is going to put about a thousand people to work," a very misleading figure. There will be an average of 650 people working to construct the plant, but once it is completed, there will be only 86 permanent workers, mostly performing maintenance. The cost to taxpayers: a $1.37 billion loan guarantee for Ivanpah. There have been a series of bankruptcies and closures of green power schemes lavishly subsidized with public funds. Wilson wrote then: Brightsource investors include Google.org (a member of Van Jones's Apollo Alliance) and the California State Teachers Retirement System. Billions in federal financing, billions every year for the next thirty years in taxpayer subsidies for above-market priced electricity, with profits going to Obama insiders like the Apollo Alliance and a teachers' union? Should we really call this "clean" energy?
If the Western Watersheds Project derails this poorly conceived, rushed-through scheme, for whatever reason, they will save American taxpayers and California electricity consumers a pile of money.