Bay Area Environmental Groups Oppose San Benito Solar Project

SAN JOSE (KCBS) –An unusual lawsuit is pitting environmentalists against solar power advocates in San Benito County. It’s over a proposal for a 399 megawatt solar farm in Panoche Valley, a ranchland area in San Benito County.

County Supervisors have approved the project, but three environmental groups are suing to stop it from happening.

Rose Zoia, who represents the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, said the solar farm should be moved to the Central Valley, in an area already zoned for solar generation.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

“Given that there are areas that aren’t in agricultural use, and aren’t inhabited by endangered species, means that we have options,” said Zoia.

The lawsuit is one of several that have been filed by environmental groups to prevent solar farms from impacting wildlife.

“The alternative to solar power is building other types of power generation, which comes in the flavor of coal, natural gas or nuclear,” said Eric Wessoff with Green Tech Media. A decision from a superior court judge in San Benito County is expected sometime this fall.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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