For immediate release – January 25, 2011
|Contacts:||Jon Marvel, Executive Director Western Watersheds Project, 208.788.2290|
|Rob Mrowka, Center for Biological Diversity, 702.249.5821|
LAS VEGAS, Nev – Two conservation groups and three Indian Tribes filed suit today to protect a pristine mountain valley adjacent to Great Basin National Park in Nevada from a poorly-sited 8000 acre industrial wind energy project, approved by the Department of the Interior with minimal environmental review. The valley is home to rare and imperiled wildlife such as the greater sage grouse, and sensitive species including golden eagles and free-tailed bats. The project area is also a sacred site to Western Shoshone Tribes.
“We hope this litigation will lead the federal government to choose less damaging locations for wind power developments,” said Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds Project.
“Renewable energy is nationally and globally important for addressing the growing threats from climate change,” said Rob Mrowka, an ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the parties in the suit. “But, renewable projects must be properly located with careful consideration of the values of not only the site but also of the surrounding area”.
On October 15, 2010 the Bureau of Land Management approved a proposal by Spring Valley Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Pattern Energy of San Francisco, to construct the project on public lands in northeastern Nevada just north of Great Basin National Park. BLM approved the project over the objections of state and federal wildlife officials, nearby tribes, and conservation groups. Rather than carrying out a detailed review involving the preparation of an environmental impact statement, BLM instead prepared only a cursory environmental assessment.
“The best ways to avoid negative impacts of renewable energy projects are to carry out a thorough environmental review and site them carefully. Unfortunately, in this case BLM did neither,” noted Mrowka.