Last Updated: June 10, 2024By Tags: , ,

The Los Angeles Times reported that a renewable energy company, Avantus, is set to clear thousands of protected Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert near Boron, California, to construct a massive 2,300-acre solar project. This project, aimed at generating power for 180,000 coastal homes, has sparked significant controversy among local residents and environmentalists. The trees, some over a century old, are part of a habitat that includes endangered desert tortoises.

Residents of Boron and nearby Desert Lake, where poverty rates are notably high, have expressed concerns about the environmental impact and health risks, particularly the dust that may spread valley fever.

The Aratina Solar Project is developed on private land by Avantus, a company with ties to global private equity firm KKR. The project has been criticized for its ecological impact, including the planned destruction of 3,500 Joshua trees. Avantus argues that the project addresses climate change, which threatens many more Joshua trees and has taken steps to minimize environmental disruption.