Friday, April 22, 2016
Enviros sue to stop solar farm because of a rat, a lizard and a fox.
A giant solar power farm on 2,000 acres of grassland in California's Central Valley will threaten the survival of three endangered species, including a fox, environmentalists claim in court. The Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club and the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers in Federal Court to try to stop a 247-megawatt solar farm planned for the Panoche Valley. The Panoche Valley, west of Interstate 5 and about 60 miles west of Fresno, "represents a lost landscape in California's busy and fragmented Central Valley and surrounding foothills," the groups say in their April 15 complaint. It's a popular area for birdwatchers because the grasslands attract a wide variety of species. "It remains, for now, a bucolic valley of open grasslands dotted with small ranches and family-owned organic farms. The Panoche Valley is one of only three core areas left in California necessary for the survival and recovery of the highly endangered San Joaquin kit fox, the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and the endangered giant kangaroo rat." The environmentalists say Fish and Wildlife's Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement, adopted by the Corps of Engineers, violate the Endangered Species Act, and the Corps of Engineers' Record of Decision and Section 404 Permit violate the Clean Water Act and EPA guidelines...more