[Update: We've had a PARTIAL VICTORY AT IVANPAH. Please help us crank up the volume on this petition by sharing with your social networks. It's more important now than ever. Thank you!]
No one in their right mind disputes the urgent need to build our solar electric generating capacity. But the fast-tracked Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System project in California's Mojave Desert is the wrong project in the wrong place.
Ivanpah SEGS is destroying some of the best habitat anywhere for the federally listed Threatened desert tortoise. In late March 2011 the BLM announced that it expected to find as many as 140 tortoises on the 4,000-acre site — nearly five times as many as were allowed in the project's permit. Relocation kills tortoises. We need renewable energy, but not at the cost of killing off hundreds of members of an endangered species.
Ivanpah's builder BrightSource has promised it will take care of the tortoises. But BrightSource also promised, in sworn testimony and permit applications filed with the State of California and the federal government, that it would do its best to transplant the centuries-old desert plants on its construction site. The attached video (also viewable here) shows how BrightSource is keeping that promise: their construction equipment grinds up a Mojave yucca plant that is likely more than 400 years old in a matter of seconds.
BrightSource lied about transplanting Ivanpah's ancient desert plants. Can we trust them to keep their word about protecting the desert tortoise? BrightSource's major investors include Chevron and BP. This isn't "alternative energy" — it's business as usual.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has laid down the law: no Interior Department employee is allowed to speak in opposition to this destruction of your public lands for the short-term profits of a handful of energy companies. That's why we need you to speak directly to him: he's the one making the decisions.
Please sign and spread the word to anyone you think might be interested.