The Department of Interior approved plans to build the Soda Mountain Solar project adjacent to the Mojave National Preserve, a decision most recently the focus of a critical op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. The project would destroy approximately three square miles of intact desert wildlands, threaten an opportunity to restore a bighorn sheep migratory corridor, and rob the basin of groundwater that is needed to supply natural springs for many species of wildlife. The project would consist of the same type of solar panel technology that can just as easily be installed on rooftops or over parking lots.
The Conservancy expressed concern about the project and co-signed a letter urging Interior to reject the project and instead designate the lands as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will vote this month on whether or not to certify the project and approve its groundwater well permits. The local community of Baker is urging the County to reject the well permit. The Board of Supervisors plan to review the permit on August 23rd.