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Group holds event to raise awareness of proposed solar projects

Basin and Range Watch, a nonprofit that advocates for conservation of deserts across California and Nevada, recently held a socially distanced rally against solar projects in the desert. The event was also broadcast via Zoom for those unable to attend.

The camp-out took place along Tecopa Road, in the area where a recently approved Yellow Pine Solar Project will be constructed. Basin and Range Watch has spoken against Yellow Pine and other solar projects in the area that have been proposed recently.

Shannon Salter, Basin and Range board member, said the purpose of the event was to raise awareness “of the massive amount of public land and wild ecosystems that stand to be lost,” and initiate an urgent discussion about how to construct distributed energy within the urban and suburban environments, such as on rooftops and solar shade canopies.

“The event is about rethinking large-scale solar and quickly transitioning to a mentality focused on incorporating solar in urban and suburban environments,” Salter said.

The nonprofit also wants to raise awareness about the new science that says “desert soils are sequestering a significant amount of the carbon from the atmosphere,” Salter said.

Several other large solar projects have been proposed for the Nye County area.

One of them is the Rough Hat Nye County Solar Project, a 500-megawatt alternating-current photovoltaic solar electric generation facility that is proposed by Candela Renewables. The project would be located on approximately 3,400 acres of public land in Nye County on the border with Clark County southeast of Pahrump, according to a filing with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.

Some conservation groups, including Basin and Range Watch, have argued that Rough Hat Nye, along with two other proposed projects, Rough Hat Clark and Copper Rays, could industrialize the area around Tecopa Road near Pahrump and cause big environmental losses, including some of the vegetation and could impact the desert tortoise.

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