Oakland solar powerhouse BrightSource has abandoned plans to build a controversial solar plant in a sensitive area of the eastern Mojave Desert, according to the Los Angeles Times. United States Senator Dianne Feinstein has been pushing to turn the area into a national monument. Environmentalists who had opposed the solar plant were ecstatic about BrightSource's decision. The region is home to Big Horn Mountain Sheep and a variety of plants and reptiles not found elsewhere.
The controversy over the solar plant is a likely harbinger of more battles between solar power companies and environmentalists worried about the damaging effects of building large facilities in sun-drenched, ecologically sensitive areas. It's unclear, however, how BrightSource's decision affects its partnership with engineering giant Bechtel, which has agreed to build and manage several of the Oakland company's solar plants in the Mojave area.