Solar Project faces backlash from environmentalists

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — If approved, the Gemini Solar Project would be the largest solar facility in the country. It would generate hundreds of jobs and help send power to several states on the west.

The site is located about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas and south of the Moapa River Indian Reservation.

“The proposal is to use about 7,100 acres of public land to create renewable energy in the solar project,” said Kirsten Cannon, Public Affairs Specialist at the Bureau of Land Management.

The project would generate up to 690 megawatts of electricity.

“This project is a stepping stone into de-carbonizing our generation fleet here in the United States,” said Ricardo Graf, the managing partner of Arevia Power.

However, several environmentalists and residents have spoken out in opposition to the project.

“They’re looking for a gift of free land. That’s what it boils down to,” said Lee Mowery. “I think it’s wrong to do that.”

Mowery says the project threatens endangered species, like the desert tortoise, and rare plants.

“There’s other incendiary problems. Environmental being one and destroying the scenery in that area,” he said.

The site is located near the Valley of Fire boasting 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone formations.

“Why destroy the landscape? It just doesn’t make sense,” Mowery said.

Graf called the location “ideal.” He says it was strategically placed near infrastructure.

“I hope this inspires new development like this because this is how we get to clean energy future in the U.S.,” said Graf.

A 90-day public comment period will end on September 5th.

Construction could begin some time next year.

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