Opinion » Letters

Here's how oil can get in the back door

San Luis Obispo

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Eight days after obtaining Board of Supervisors’ blessings, SunPower sells “60 percent of its shares to Total SA—one of the six ‘supermajor’ oil companies in the world” (“SunPower sees big buyout,” May 5)!

In 2000, when Carrizo Plain was nominated for “national monument” status, one argument against it was that no oil withdrawal would be allowed. Now, oil giants have found a “back door,” and their game plan, below, may yield an industrial bouquet of solar panels, oil wells, and wildflowers:

1. Have solar “front” company pimp your project through county bureaucracy;

2. Get planning commissioners to allow purchasing thousands of acres of adjacent dry-farmed lands as mitigation for acreage covered with solar panels (EIR didn’t mention that sale of such lands brings opportunity to utilize their accompanying petroleum extraction rights!);

3. Have commissioners proclaim climate change as the “overriding consideration,” thus eliminating 30-plus significant, non-mitigable impacts;

4. Urge businesses, trade unions, green builders, etc., to push “tax benefits” and “jobs” buttons;

5. Convince supervisors there is no merit to local-state-national environmental group appeals;

6. Pay your pimp a bonus and get set to “drill, baby, drill!”

SunPower’s parlaying county approval of its 250-megawatt solar plant into a $1.38 billion windfall typifies it as a “soulless corporation” (“Beware of the soulless corporations,” April 28). Now we know why the option to re-locate this plant to nearby state-certified industrial brownfields was never given serious consideration.

I’m proud to be one of eight local environmentalists who publicly opposed SunPower’s plant location.

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