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Conservationists to hold vigil at Nevada solar site near Pahrump

A peaceful vigil and camp opposing the Yellow Pine Industrial Solar Project will take place on Saturday, according to a press release.

The event will take place on Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. and will feature biologists, cultural presentations, and poetry readings that will be followed by a campfire and campout.

The event will take place off of Tecopa Road, three miles west of Highway 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump. Attendees should look for flags along Tecopa Road, the release said.

In November 2020, the BLM released a record of decision approving the Yellow Pine Solar Project, a 3,000-acre installation proposed 10 miles southeast of Pahrump.

The Nevada conservation group, Basin and Range Watch, along with Western Watersheds Project, had filed an appeal to Yellow Pine Solar Project with the BLM Southern Nevada District Office.

Basin and Range Watch argued that the project would be harmful to Mojave yucca and the threatened desert tortoise, among other issues.

In their appeal of the project, Basin and Range Watch and Western Watersheds Project said that mitigation measures will not reduce significant impacts, and the project will further the severe decline of the species toward extinction.

The event will feature poetry readings, and presentations by writers, artists, environmentalists, and desert lovers will challenge solar development in the pristine desert lands, according to the press release.

“In the midst of major climate change events, the ability of the Mojave Desert’s unique, complex microbiotic soil crust to sequester carbon must be valued and prioritized, along with rooftop solar and using already disturbed lands for large solar projects,” according to the press release.

The Yellow Pine project will scrape the desert flat, destroying 93,000 Mojave Yucca, some as old as 500 years, valuable wildlife habitat, and the carbon sequestering soil, the release said.

NextEra, the future plant’s operator, has already displaced 139 tortoises from the site, 26 of which were eaten by badgers, according to previous reports.

The BLM is currently considering 15,000 acres of additional applications for solar projects, including three projects larger than Yellow Pine north and west of Yellow Pine.

Freelance reporter Daria Sokolova is a former staff writer for the Pahrump Valley Times and focuses on environmental and public land topics.

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