Thank you for reporting on Carrizo (“Solar secrecy,” May 7). I support distributive solar power, locally owned and placed near users. Large-scale solar farms aren’t a low-impact way to harvest energy; they are a way for energy producers to mint money with minimal oversight and overhead. The Carrizo site is valuable property due to unused PG&E transmission lines. Ausra’s latest attempt to squelch public participation is typical.
At Carrizo’s California Energy Commission meeting on Dec. 15 last year, Ausra had a room full of geologists and engineers but wouldn’t answer basic questions about water, soil, and wildlife impacts. Ausra claimed they were blindsided by resident concerns and hoped to respond at a later date (without public input, most likely).
The “thermal” in Ausra’s plan is water—precious in Carrizo, and depletion of the aquifer is a credible threat. Impacts on resources, noise, and traffic were not mitigated in studies presented. The kit fox and pronghorn antelope will be affected but the valuable and delicate plant community is likely to fail with extended roads and increased truck and commuter traffic. Noise issues will drastically reduce the quality of life for residents and wildlife. In addition to archeological and wildlife resources, Carrizo is one of the final remnants of California’s native prairie to be destroyed by insensitive development.
Ausra claims to create jobs (originally 77, possibly less than 50). Environmental impacts will be severe: It’s no accident that Ausra wants to stifle participation. Carrizo residents need our help to preserve a valuable habitat and their way of life.