U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar released the Programmatic Environmental impact Statement on Friday which details the 17 zones where solar developers will be encouraged to locate their projects, alongside additional 19 million acres of variance zones where solar developers will be permitted to work but with fewer incentives and 79 million acres in exclusive zones where any energy development is off-limits. Out of the six states, California has twice the acreage of solar zones than any other state. The plan creates 750,000 acres in variance zones for the state, much of which is located in the Mojavi Desert.
But some conservation groups still oppose the plan with concerns that the desert, which is home to scores of endangered plants and animal, will not be capable of absorbing the planned industrial scale projects. Janine Blaelock of the group Solar Done Right contends that, "We aren't getting that public land back. Once it's industrialized, everything that lives there and everything we enjoy about it will be gone.