It’s disappointing — but no shock — that opponents of the 250-megawatt California Solar Ranch have filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the project. They believe the Carrizo Plain is the wrong place for commercial solar operations. We understand that.
However, we have a hard time taking it seriously when a spokeswoman for North County Watch — one of two environmental groups that filed suit — says the county needs to do a more thorough job of evaluating impacts, mitigations and project alternatives.
This project already has undergone years of study. The draft environmental impact report alone takes up two three-inch binders — not counting the 20 appendices — and it includes a look at several alternatives, including no project.
As for a lack of mitigation, there were 149 conditions attached to the project; SunPower agreed to numerous revisions to minimize environmental disturbances — everything from reducing the height of the solar arrays to installing a type of fencing that’s conducive to kit fox crossing.
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At this point, we don’t believe there’s anything more that can be done to make the project more palatable to opponents.
A lawsuit may be an inevitable last-ditch effort to stop this project, but the time for study is over.
What we need now is a speedy, final and irrevocable decision allowing the California Solar Ranch to proceed.