Solar facility threatens wildlife and habitat on State Trust Land in AZ
The debate over the need for or efficacy of renewable energy is a hotly contested topic. But when the development of any renewable energy threatens public access to public hunting land and damage to vital wildlife habitat, the answer is most definitely nope.
At issue is a proposed solar generating facility on a parcel of State Trust Land in Yuma County, Arizona. The current proposal, while allowing the main Southern access road to remain open to over 100,000 acres of BLM lands, including GMU 41, fencing around the facility would most definitely displace wildlife and negatively impact vital habitat.
Their application will be considered by the Yuma County Board of Supervisors in November.
State Trust Land in Arizona is restricted to public use for those that have a state trust land permit or a hunting license and can be used as such for purposes of recreating and hunting. The State Trust Land Department's job in Arizona is to generate revenue from these lands for the state, but any applications must be approved by the county, and the land needs to remain accessible to the public.
Back in June, the solar project received a recommendation of non-support from the Planning Commission before going in front of the Board of Supervisors.
Knowing they had little to no support, Hoodini Solar, a venture capital-funded solar firm, pulled their application and has spent the last few months trying to grease the palms of as many decision-makers and influencers as possible, including the Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club, which is in staunch opposition to the development.
Fuel, meet fire.
The Planning Commission recently issued another recommendation against the project, but Hoodini will be in front of the BOS at their next meeting, hoping that enough money has been spread around for approval.
Aside from the fact that development will significantly alter that area’s desert landscape and vital habitat, there is also a population of endangered Sonoran Pronghorn Antelope that use this parcel. Any development will displace this sensitive population as well as many other species.
A major wash—the Red Raven Wash—also runs through the parcel, and natural water flow would be permanently disrupted.
There is no way that the land will be returned to its original state after the facility’s 30-year lease expires.
Additionally, this parcel is where YVRGC holds its annual youth quail and small game camp. It’s an ideal location because it’s in prime quail habitat but not too far off the main road for families to have prudent access to so that they can participate in this immersive learning experience.
Voice your opposition to the BOS today, so they vote in favor of public lands and access and against a private solar farm.