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Media Advisory, July 20, 2010  

Contact:  Kim Williams, Friends of Panoche Valley, (831) 628-3693
Pamela Flick, Defenders of Wildlife, (916) 203-6927
Ileene Anderson, Center for Biological Diversity, (323) 654-5943

Public Comment Sought for Massive Solar Project Threatening Endangered Kit Fox,
Water and Prime Farmland in Central California

The San Benito County Planning Commission is seeking public comment on the proposed Panoche Valley Solar Farm. This proposed renewable energy project would contain up to 4 million solar panels and cover nearly 5,000 acres of prime agricultural land in rural eastern San Benito County. The project also poses unmitigable impacts to habitat crucial for the survival of the critically endangered San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard and many other endangered species. Panoche Valley also hosts a wide variety of other rare plant and animal species and has been has recognized by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area of global significance, particularly for large wintering flocks of mountain plovers and at least a dozen other breeding or wintering sensitive bird species, including burrowing owl and loggerhead shrike.

This is currently the only opportunity for the public to participate by weighing in on the project in person. We encourage the public to review the Panoche Valley Solar Farm Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), which details the impacts of the project and is available online at The public comment period ends Monday, August 16, 2010. 

What:   San Benito County Planning Commission will hold a public meeting to explain the contents of the Panoche Valley Solar Farm DEIR and to receive public comments on the project
Who:  Farmers, ranchers, conservationists, business owners, citizens, San Benito County Planning Commission
When &
Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 6:00 pm
San Benito County Board of Supervisors Chambers
481 Fourth Street, Hollister

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