Industrial Renewable Energy's Sacrifice Of The Living Desert And Its People Residents' Civil Rights & Liberties are being oppressed.
Prepared by the
Newberry Springs Community Alliance 'For those who want to know more about Newberry Springs.'
Compiler/Commentary: Ted Stimpfel
Last revision: September 6, 2022 Share URL: bit.ly/3HOg3vr
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Location: East of Barstow, California.
Project: Daggett Solar Power Facility
Developer: Clearway Energy, Inc.* * One-half of Clearway has been flipped to TotalEnergies Group (France).
Contractor: Blattner Energy
The Mojave Valley and the placement of the Daggett Solar Power Facility in relation to homes.
Click for enlargement.
The Mojave Valley lies between Interstates 15 & 40.
The prevailing wind is from the southwest.
High winds are normally from the west.
The Mojave Valley and the placement of the Daggett Solar
Power Project on soils with potential for wind-blown dust.
Click above for an enlargement.
The above-mapped data is supported by the County of San Bernardino's
Countywide Plan map: Hazards ‐ HZ‐11 Wind Erosion Hazards
The County has known of the historical hazards of the blowing dust and the dangers of
disturbing the native soil in the Mojave Valley.
Dirty Renewable Energy
Despite promises by Clearway Energy and assurances from Blattner
Energy that such would not happen, hazardous silica dust rises (from the left
side of the photograph) to hundreds of feet from the solar field being prepared
by Blattner Energy for Clearway Energy/Total Energies' Daggett Solar Power Facility.
Neighboring unmowed land was not emitting visible dust. CHP road closure.
Sand Transport Paths
dust area mapped above is within a Sand Transport Path (STP).
STPs have existed for thousands of years in the Mojave Valley, and elsewhere in
the Mojave Desert, and have been well known and
(link 2.7 MB) for decades.
STPs are areas that have very high winds. With
the eolian soils, the high winds create dust storms. Large-scale
destruction of the desert's biological soil crusts for solar power
construction and the destruction of the native root systems that help
to knit the soil together greatly amplifies the available eolian sand
and dust subject to wind capture.
The northwestern portion of Newberry Springs has a
higher density of residents as this area has previously been outside the
path of sand blows and sand rivers. It was a selected place for the
elderly and others predisposed to pulmonary ailment triggers. The
clean desert air that they physically need has now been taken from them
by the sand and dust blowing from the Clearway Energy project.
Industrial solar developments that disturb the desert surface should
be placed in an STP. The breaking of the topsoil crust greatly
increases the amount of the
crystalline silica dust that winds can carry over communities.
This then subjects the residents to Silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive
lung disease, and kidney diseases. Microscopic silica can even get into
Click for the source.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta, in July 2022,
called upon the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish regulations
to protect against asbestos, and bans against specific forms of asbestos, such as
"Asbestos ‐ a carcinogen that kills more than
12,000 people in the U.S. per year ‐ is linked to diseases that are
life-threatening, or cause substantial pain and suffering, including mesothelioma,
fibrosis, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, as well as other lung disorders
and diseases. There is no safe level of exposure to this highly toxic
The crystalline silica dust blowing from the
Daggett Solar Power Facility and engulfing the community of Newberry
Springs does very similar damage to the human body as asbestos.
Losing one's forever home.
"Harm done to any one person is a crime against all."
Ignoring Environmental Justice
The County of San Bernardino, the Mojave Desert
AQMD, and Clearway Energy were all made exceptionally aware during
the Daggett Solar Power Facility's permit process that the project
would cause a disproportionate burden of toxic airborne silica dust
and irreparable harm to the downwind residents.
It was recognized during the early planning stages
that the solar project would create massive damage to the desert's
soil crust and that the environmental damage would cause
to the community of Newberry Springs.
For the permit's approval, without prior testing,
the solar proponents placed their reliance on soil binders to remedy
fugitive dust migration. As argued by the opponents, soil
binders do not work on sand in dry, high wind areas.
Soil binders have proven to be ineffective at
places like Owens Lake, and guess what? Soil binders haven't
worked well for Clearway Energy in a Sand Transport Path either.
So what has been done? In spreading the binder,
Clearway's contractor, Blattner Energy, has been reportedly
tripling the chemical binder's strength to water ratio.
And guess again, the binder still isn't keeping fugitive dust from
However, residents many miles downwind from
the construction site are now reporting sticky dust when it gets
wet. Gluey dust is sticking to the bottom of shoes.
Would this indicate that they might be inhaling the chemical
Despite their prior knowledge of the negative
health impacts, Clearway Energy, the County of San Bernardino, and
the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) all chose
to ignore the highly predictable environmental damages.
They thumbed their noses at state Attorney
General Rob Bonta's
Justice initiative that is meant to ensure compliance with
the state's Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and land use
A relevant part of CEQA law is California Gov.
Code, § 65040.12, subd. (e) that reads:
"For the purposes of this section,
Environmental Justice means the fair treatment of people of
all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development,
adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws,
regulations, and policies."
This legal citation on
was even cited by myself before the County of San Bernardino's Land
Use Services Department, the Planning Commissioners, and the
Supervisors during the permitting process.
County Land Use Services, the Lead Agency behind
the Environmental Impact Report, has claimed in responses to the
public's written input that CEQA only requires an analysis
of the physical impacts on the environment; and that CEQA does not
consider the social and economic impacts.
"CEQA requires an analysis of physical impacts
to the environment; it does not require analysis of social and
(Page 270 of the Final EIR.)
While it is true that Environmental Justice is not
mentioned in CEQA, social and economic effects do weigh in on CEQA's
implementing guidelines of whether physical change, such as
increased physical dust, has a substantial health or economic burden.
Therefore, the degree of social and economic impacts from physical
change are very much a part of CEQA that the County by law can not
ignore. (But it did anyway!)
During the hearing's public comments, I emphasized
that the County's avoidance of Environmental Justice was improper,
that, "This is dead wrong! The state's Attorney General
opined differently on May 8, 2012, declaring that social and economic
impacts must be considered in CEQA studies." And that,
"Land Use Services doesn't want to touch Social Justice
violations because this project is riddled with them."
Fredrick Stearn, a Newberry Springs real estate broker,
submitted numerous letters during the Daggett Solar Power's CEQA
process where he has identified inconsistencies of the project
with the county's Development Code and the state's environmental
regulations. After the Planning Commission approved the
project, he also submitted an open 14-page
(8.3 MB PDF) to numerous government officials and the media outlining
the County of San Bernardino's Environmental Justice racism.
The County has been well
of its responsibilities to Environmental Justice which it has
The federal Environmental Protection Agency under
the Biden Administration is also stepping up its
of Environmental Justice under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
CEQA Study Was Flawed Discriminative planning by County.
The CEQA study was deeply flawed as there was
no prior baseline wind study or proper soil analysis done for
the site. The environmental review did not adequately
analyze, disclose, address, and mitigate the air pollution that
would be generated.
There appeared to be a conscientious effort
to avoid the gathering of any baseline data that would have
provided credibility to the requirement of placing the project
at an alternative site.
Using wind data that was taken miles upwind, before
the Mojave Valley and before the beginning of the STP, made the
environmental wind data in the CEQA study worthless.
The study uses figures like the wind speed was
2.5 MPH when inspectors allegedly walked the site for
species. But, the winds often gust in the 40 to 50-plus MPH
range. Concentrated amounts of microscopic dust start to
go airborne at roughly 15 MPH.
Many dozens of letters questioning the County's
objectivity and procedures in following the guideline requirements
as the Lead Agency have gone either unanswered or inadequately
answered, such as my
submitted after the Scoping Hearing.
The CEQA study for the project also failed to account
for the full contribution of the desert's carbon sequestration, and how
disturbance of the soil significantly releases carbon and factors into
negating the project's carbon saving benefit.
The CEQA report further failed to acknowledge the
Creosote Clonal Rings
(4.4MB) contained on the site that were pointed out to the County.
Some of which were 20 or more feet in diameter and estimated to be over
4,000 years old. Nearly as old as California's historic Methuselah
tree, the oldest tree in the world. (As of this writing, the rings
have been destroyed.)
The CEQA study also did not properly addressed a
number of protected native wildlife species that utilize the Clearway
site for their habitat and travel corridor.
Some species require a license to collect and have
a limit, like a maximum take limit of 2 per species. Clearway
Energy's contractor, Blattner Energy, may be unlawfully crushing
thousands without authorization as they prepare the 5.5 square
mile site. This lack of CEQA study data on regulated species
could be to dodge the necessity of considering another location.
Violations of species protection laws.
Clearway's superficial CEQA wildlife study fails to
specifically name and address a number of the protected species listed
in the attached
Native Reptile Captive Propagation Laws and Regulations
list that are known to be established in the area of the Daggett Solar Power
Many of these CEQA flaws were presented during
the permit process. Not that the Newberry Springs' inhabitants'
losses in property value, scenic views, rural lifestyle,
and health mattered as the County of San Bernardino's Planning
Commissioners and the Board of Supervisors completely ignored
the Newberry Springs residents' revelation of the CEQA violations.
The County, as the lead CEQA agency, acted as if
it was on a mission to approve the CEQA study and the project regardless
of the missing science and the legal barriers.
In its zeal to approve the Clearway Energy project,
the County of San Bernardino ignored a number of preventive provisions
that are written into its General Plan. A few examples include
approved by the board on August 8, 2017, Goals CO 8.1, 10.1 - 10.6,
and others. Furthermore, the approval does not meet the
criteria of the County's own Development Code
Section 84.29.035 and
nor does it meet the California Public Resources Code
The approved Environmental Impact Report also does not address CEQA's
requirements on social and economic justice.
Despite this, the additional violations of wildlife
codes, and much more, the County of San Bernardino, the Mojave
Desert AQMD, and Clearway Energy joined to maliciously steamroll
their oppressive and disproportionate burden of environmental and
class racism upon a lower socio-economic community.
By proceeding with the injustice of the solar project,
they are now injuring the Civil Rights and the Civil Liberties of the
economically disadvantaged residents of rural Newberry Springs, a
state-recognized low-income Environmental Justice Focus Area.
An entire community has become collateral damage
due to systemic corporate greed and political corruption.*
*As Judicial Watch, a Washington, D.C. non‐partisan
educational foundation stated five years ago,
"We're hearing a lot these days about
"draining the swamp" of Washington corruption but as
every serious student of crime and punishment knows,
the swamp is not one, but many. The swamp contains
multitudes. It is Washington. It is New York.
It is San Bernardino County."
Today, San Bernardino County still doesn't
appear to have lost the crown as a nationally recognized
"King of Corruption."
It's not only about the dust.
The discussion has centered upon the carcinogenic dust
due to the enormous quantities of dust being emitted from the Clearway
project and the visual blanketing of the downwind homes and the resulting
contamination of the residents' breathable air.
What also needs to be considered are the complaints
about the unmistakable noxious odor of fertilizer inside homes.
The ground preparation being done by Blattner Energy includes some
fallowed farmland. In preparing the ground for the Clearway
photovoltaic panels, the soil mowing appears to be awakening years
of buried fertilizers and other farming soil additives.
The residents are now experiencing rancid smells
for the first time. Are there airborne infectious pathogens and other
contaminants associated with the odors? What do these strange
odors consist of? Why hasn't the Mojave Desert AQMD
or the County's Department of Public Health taken air samples for
Important Clearway Energy Update!
Original posted: 4/21/22 • Community Alliance
Clearway Energy claims that silica dust will be fully controlled
with soil binding stabilizers. As revealed in my previous posts, that is
untruthful when dealing with a 5.5-square mile project. It may temporarily
work by over saturating the soil but the ongoing cost of maintenance is prohibitive.
Below is a recent graph of the Mojave Valley's
Purple Air monitors
on a mild, breezy day. While the overall valley was having
good air quality, the air directly downwind of the mowed solar
land was significantly dirtier. (42)
What isn't being shown in the graph is the ultra-fine
silica dust that the Purple Air consumer-grade monitors can't begin to
detect. This ultra-fine dust easily becomes airborne in slight
breezes and will extend far beyond the "green" safe readings.
In high winds, the ultra-fine silica dust can be lifted
to high altitudes and travel through multiple neighboring states.
In everyday lite breezes, it insidiously mixes into the air that our lungs
absorb and can lead to life-threatening diseases the of organs.
One only has to look at the experience that the City of
Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power has had with Owens Lake.
According to a Thrace Group webpage (a contractor at Owens Lake
and courtesy of the above photo),
"...wind gusts over
30km/hr (18.6 mph) lifted over 50 tons per second of dust fog off the lakebed.
Sometimes reaching over 3km (9,842 ft.) high, these dust storms sent 130 times
the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) limit for particulate
matter into the atmosphere, scattering the dust over 400 kilometers (248 miles)
away from the lake."
2.5-billion dollars later, Owens Lake's fugitive dust has
been reduced by 99.2-percent through shallow flooding (27 square miles), controlled
vegetation (saltgrass - 3.5 square miles), and by using a gravel blanket over
a nonwoven geotextile fabric (1.9 square miles).
A four-inch depth of a minimum 3/8-inch screened
gravel is used to suppress dust on portions of Owens Lake.
This appears to be the best viable remedy for Clearway Energy to
meet the requirement of preventing fugitive dust from leaving its
development site. Other methods involving mats or bricks
would be more costly.
Further details on doing it right with gravel can
be found on the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District's
In ignoring the residents' warnings of dust that
the project would create, and in agreeing to mitigate the fugitive dust,
Clearway Energy has obligated itself to significant costs.
There are the added costs in preparing the land and
the restoration of the land at the project's end of life.
Clearway's corporate cost however is insignificant to the health
and the property losses upon the lives of the downwind residents
and their animals.
As Clearway Energy, and its new partner TotalEnergies,
are currently recklessly disturbing the desert soil, the downwind
residents are now calling upon the federal and state environmental
authorities to require a 4-inch gravel covering.
Understanding the hazard of silica dust to the human body.
What you don't see does kill!
Breathing quantum amounts of silica particles smaller than 1 µm
(micrometer) can cause organ failure.
The size of airborne
(PM) for government records is typically measured in sizes of PM 10 µm
or PM 2.5 µm.
µm (micrometer aka micron) being 1/1,000,000 of a meter
or roughly .00004 of an inch in size. Invisible to sight or taste.
The California Air Resources Board has sponsored epidemiological
research conducted at UC Davis that has
a statistical correlation between adverse lung and heart health effects with the
exposure to particulate matter smaller than PM .1 µm (1/10 µm)
when breathed in with common Ozone (O3).
No silica is safe to inhale. The smaller that silica
dust is, the easier it is to go airborne, stay suspended in the air for days,
and the deeper that it can penetrate the lungs.
Suffering from Clearway's Daggett Solar Power Project
No one has a right to inflict this upon others.
The BIG Lie.
The State of California, the County of San Bernardino, and Clearway
Energy have all been crusading that the Daggett Solar Power Facility is necessary
for the State of California to meet its 2032 clean renewable energy power goals.
Clearway Energy was continuously sending the message that
its facility, with backup batteries, would provide a stream of clean renewable
energy to California homes and industry. Power that California would need.
It was well known during the entire approval process of the
Daggett Solar Power Facility that the major power distributors within California
were not signing Power Purchase Agreements with companies like Clearway Energy.
This was because of the excessive glut of inconsistent renewable
energy within the state of California. Despite this knowledge, the County of
San Bernardino proceeded to push for the project's approval.
According to an unconfirmed report from a low-level Clearway
employee, the project has now acquired Power Purchase Agreements to sell all of
its possible generated power to four power distributors.
All four are reportedly outside the state of California!
There are no benefits to the state. The solar
facility's property is exempt from most taxes. The local residents' physical
and mental health are being negatively impacted, local wildlife is being harmed,
the desert's vast amounts of sequestrated carbon is being released into the
atmosphere, and the scenery that attracts vital tourism is being destroyed.
Industrial Scale Solar Facilities Like Daggett Solar Power Are Unnecessary
Rooftop Solar at the point-of-use is an
environmentally superior alternative to industrial-scale
solar destroying the desert.
in 2018, a 2016
has shown that there is sufficient rooftop space to provide all
of the photovoltaic solar power generation necessary for the
Los Angeles region's current and future power needs without the
necessity of destructive industrial-size solar farms.
The data appears transferable to the entire state
and that the destruction of our natural deserts and California's Central
Valley for solar isn't necessary. The information isn't new.
Investor Owned Utilities have successfully lobbied
misinformation to the California Public Utilities Commission to
discourage rooftop solar, thereby reaping profits from transmission
lines from distant solar facilities.
The Sierra Club has published an excellent special
magazine edition of their Desert Report in August 2022, regarding
photovoltaic power generation. An article titled,
The Utility "Cost Shift" Fallacy, illustrates the state's misdirection
of destructive industrial solar power generation over that of promoting
distribution (rooftop) solar.
If there is an alternative to creating an environmental
injustice, the law requires going with the mitigating alternative.
There is an alternative to the massive destructiveness of the industrial-scale
solar facilities upon the desert, it is called rooftop solar. The
common sense and reliability of generating power at the place of power
consumption without costly transmission lines.
Click to enlarge.
In the matter of the Daggett Solar Power Facility, the
County of San Bernardino and the Mojave Desert AQMD knew of the foreseeable
irreparable harm to Newberry Springs and they failed in their obligation to
uphold State Law.
Silver Valley Road westward with a right northbound turn on Minneola Road.
News media higher resolution here (373 MB). Note: The dust in the wind does not blow from everywhere but from where Clearway has bladed the soil.
Homes Are Now Unsafe
A PM10 meter reading inside a tightly sealed vehicle. Consider the meter
reading in a desert residence with a common evaporation swamp cooler. Then consider the elderly
who can't turn on the cooler due to the dust and common desert temperatures of over 110 degrees.
The baking home sealed against the dust is rendered unlivable inside. Due to
economic factors, the inhabitants have no place to go. The situation is life-threatening.
Most of the residences in Newberry Springs use swap coolers.
They are highly effective and economical for cooling the air and adding humidity.
Unfortunately, they are open systems that are being clogged by
Clearway's blowing dust that quickly clogs the water-covered filter and fills
the water reservoir with a sandy "mud."
The sandy water then quickly ages the system's water pump.
The customary attachment of the cooler directly to the interior
allows a path for some fine dust to enter the residence.
The ability to cool the air is vital for survival in the desert.
Annual cooler maintenance is normal. During winds, Clearway's dust is requiring
constant rooftop cooler cleaning that the elderly can not do themselves nor afford.
Dust Clogging Swamp Coolers
Jodi Elder-Howard, General Manager,
Newberry Community Services District ~ January 23, 2022.
Animals Are Having Trouble
X-ray of "B.L."
B.L. was a family dog in Newberry Springs that began
having a constant cough with the timing of Clearway Energy's dust.
The owner took B.L. to a Barstow veterinarian where B.L. wouldn't cough.
Returned to its home environment, B.L. began coughing
again. On a revisit to the veterinarian, B.L. was x-rayed where
sand was discovered in B.L.'s stomach. B.L. later died.
Minneola Road facing northbound just south of Silver Valley Road.
Dangerous silica dust darkens the sky during the late afternoon of February 21, 2022.
Road Closure. "BROWN OUT CONDITIONS VISIB 10-15 FT" ~ CHP log. Click for enlargement.
Facing northbound on Minneola south of Silver Valley. Carcinogenic dust forms a southern wall along Silver Valley Road.
Facing southbound on Minneola Road. The vehicle is turning left onto Valley Center Road. Portions of Minneola Road were down to 25 feet of visibility.
The residence just north of the solar project on Minneola Road is inundated by heavy blown dust.
Unpaved Silver Valley Road facing eastbound west of Minneola Road (treeline).
Note the dust rising from the Clearway project on the left versus the clear unmowed area on the right.
The dust rises hundreds of feet eastward and then expands over Newberry Springs.
Idle water trucks presumably with a binder agent on a Sunday south of the dust blow.
Dust complaints are handled by the county's Code Enforcement
Department and the MDAQMD. Closed on weekends and holidays, the government
entities have failed to hold Clearway accountable to the construction requirements.
Despite Clearway's assurances that dust would not impact Newberry,
Blattner was prepared with warning signs to the contrary.
After a wind event, the Minneola fence line facing
south from Valley Center Road. A ridge of sand has blown over
the fence and extends to near Silver Valley Road. Minneola Road
is to the left of the photo. Sunday, June 5, 2022.
Clearway's 6-foot sand fence. The photo
was taken facing westerly just west of Minneola Road, Sunday, June 5,
The sand along this eastside portion of the 6-foot
fence is only a couple of feet high. But look closely between
the fence slats and see the sand line behind the fence (click photo
When the sand backs up against the fence as shown
here, it forms a ramp for blowing sand to easily fly over the fence.
The photo was taken on June 5, 2022.
The interior fence line is cleared of sand by an excavator.
One of the large excavators being used to remove the blown sand.
Most sand will blow below 6 feet in height,
but the microscopic dust can blow hundreds to thousands of feet
high and spread over vast areas.
Excavator with three waiting dump trucks slowly removes
the tremendous amount of blown sand (left) that was backed up to the fence
(right). It took weeks to clear the sand along this one-mile fence
The worse wind period is December through June when
construction disturbing the soil should not be done. This photo
was taken on June 27, 2022.
Facebook ~ Community Watch ~ June 7, 2022.
Facebook ~ Rants and Raves ~ June 7, 2022.
Minneola Road northbound with a right eastward turn on Silver Valley Road.
Clearway Energy / Blattner Energy / TotalEnergies' Failure To Contain Toxic Dust
Frustration in Newberry Springs over Clearway Energy.
The Rogue Mojave Desert AQMD
This e-mail (blue frame) was first published on May 14, 2022,
in the Newberry Springs Community Alliance news blog.
Click to enlarge.
No, Mr. De Salvio, impacted residents should not need
to knock on other doors! It was and is the Mojave
Desert AQMD's (MDAQMD) responsibility to effectively monitor and to
have shut down the Clearway construction site before it became
a major toxic health hazard and necessary for the injured
residents to repeatedly complain about ailments after having
been repeatedly exposed.
Dust is regulated because it is ultrahazardous!
Alan De Salvio, as an Air Pollution Control Officer,
by virtue of state law has the authority, the responsibility, and the
obligation to step in and shut down a dangerous polluter until a
remedy is established. Clearway Energy is a massive polluter
that is continuing construction that will further aggravate continuing
dust blows and injuries.
"Air Pollution Control Officer" or "APCO" means the
appointed head of a local air quality management district or air
pollution control district whose appointment and duties are set
forth in California's Health and Safety Code
Cal. Air Resources Board
Yet, after the overwhelming evidence of many months
of the blowing toxic hazard, the MDAQMD claims that its inspectors
haven't seen any fugitive dust
violations! Despite wind events that are forecasted many days
in advance, inspectors don't respond until after a reported event.
Apparently, the MDAQMD inspectors immediately return
to their office if they don't see anything. They don't make any
contact with the complaint filer. This may be creating liability
for the AQMD.
Does a responding fire department immediately return to
their fire station if upon arrival at a called-in fire scene they don't
see any fire or smoke? Does a doctor dismiss a patient's complaint
of pain by merely glancing at the patient? No, both instances would
be malpractice and malfeasance. A follow-up investigation into the
problem is necessary to understand it.
As De Salvio acknowledged, "On high wind days
everything and I mean everything blows in that area."
So, why allow 5.5-square-miles of desert silica crust to be
broken open and mowed into an exposed hazardous dust powder without
And contrary to De Salvio's statement, as shown in
the many above photographs and videos, not "everything blows."
Only the large amount of carcinogenic silica dust blowing off of
Clearway's mowed areas. A vast difference to the undisturbed
Carcinogenic silica dust is known to be leaving the
Clearway site in massive amounts! For the construction
permit, Clearway assured the County and the MDAQMD that it would
prevent fugitive dust from leaving its solar site. It is also
written into the project's Conditions of Approval (which the County
is not enforcing).
County Conditions #1 (32-pages 881 KB PDF) •
County Conditions #2 (25 pages 881 KB PDF)
Click to enlarge.
The above is a snippet from a
(1.5 MB) co-sponsored by the MDAQMD containing the relevant MDAQMD rules.
Why hasn't prescribed Rule 402 - Nuisance been enforced?
The APCO, as a state authorized enforcement officer, has failed to act
in violation of California
Health & Safety Code § 40752(b).
The Clearway Energy project needs to cease further construction and
injuries until Rule 402 compliance can be guaranteed.
Color of law violations include... Failure to keep from harm:
The public counts on its law enforcement officials
to protect local communities. If it's shown that an official
willfully failed to keep an individual from harm, that official
could be in violation of the color of law statute.
Obviously, Clearway Energy is also not taking
"every reasonable precaution to prevent visible PM from being deposited
upon public roadways as a direct result of their operation..."
(above brochure) when the California Highway Patrol has to shut down
a major community roadway due to fugitive sand and dust. Clearway
can and should cease further disturbance of the soil until a satisfactory
remedy is in place.
Clearway Energy is deliberately exasperating the injuries
against Newberry Springs. Lives are being injured!
The above (Alan J. De Salvio) report to the
County that "...they are complying with the DCP"
(Dust Control Plan) is blatantly inflammatory.
The Mojave Desert AQMD has been a majorcontributor
to the problem. The MDAQMD has signed off on what appears to
be an unstudied, untested, and asinine Dust Control Plan that depends
upon water and binders that have years ago been found ineffective in
a similar and highly publicized dust situation that was handled by
the adjacent Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District.
While other Air Quality Management Districts have
evolved, why hasn't the Mojave Desert AQMD? Why are they
sanctioning projects that emit massive amounts of an airborne
California Prop. 65 carcinogen upon residential neighborhoods?
The MDAQMD's Dust Control Plan for the Clearway
project, stamped as approved by no one less than Executive Director
Brad Poiriez, appears to be little more than the copy/paste of a
control plan for a large industrial building that will have most
of the land covered over by structure, parking asphalt, and
Simply spreading water and a binder on disturbed
eolian soil that has a 'high to very high' blow propensity,
and in a Sand Transport Path wind tunnel in a dry desert, is not a
professional, scientific remedy. It represents the antiquated
MDAQMD's Rules, incompetency, malfeasance, and inability to fulfill
its state-mandated duty to protect the public's air quality, which
is the core purpose of the MDAQMD's existence.
"For nearly 30 years, the staff and leadership at
MDAQMD have continued our cooperative working relationship with
regulated industry. We strive to serve as a business-friendly
model for air districts across the state and I'm honored for the
opportunity to carry on this tradition." Brad Poiriez, MDAQMD Exec. Dir.
The 'business-friendly model' appears to be
protecting dirty business polluters over that of residents.
That accounts for the MDAQMD's major failures with Newberry Springs
and with Hinkley's Synagro Nursery Products.
The MDAQMD's efforts seem to be concentrated
on monitoring pollutants from combustion. Carcinogenic
pollutants such as silica dust appear to be willfully ignored
as no serious actions against the fugitive dust from Clearway
have been done. The MDAQMD appears negligent in having
adequate Rules to address the hazards of silica dust from
industrial-scale solar site polluters.
The MDAQMD's actions and inactions represent an
extreme dereliction of duty. The MDAQMD never should have
approved the siting in the first place. The MDAQMD lacked
prior air monitoring and equipment at the 5.5-square-mile site.
It lacked a necessary baseline air study and the necessary scientific
data in which to issue an approval. Yet, it approved the
project despite being alerted early during the CEQA study by the
public of the severe dust problems and the necessity of having
a two-year baseline air study.
Despite knowing of the Sand Transport Path and that
"...I mean everything blows in that area," and that the valley
floor has a 'high to very high' eolian dust blow capability,
the MDAQMD was exceptionally reckless in approving the Clearway
The MDAQMD's misleading compliance communication
to the County officials (above) is turning a blind eye to the human
suffering, the suffering of animals, and the property damage that
is being done. It is a reflective example of how the Daggett
Solar Power Facility was improperly permitted contrary to laws,
governmental policy guidelines, and safeguards.
The MDAQMD hasn't accidentally failed to act...
it has intentionally chosen not to act by hiding behind its
self-serving, ineffective Rules and miserable substandard procedures.
Final Thoughts The Big government bullies.
The fact that Newberry Springs is a rural,
marginalized, and an economically disadvantaged community is
likely the basis for the systemic discriminatory pattern of
social and environmental injustice that it is being subjected
to by the County of San Bernardino and the Mojave Desert AQMD.
The above culture of discriminative abominations
would never be directed at a higher income, urban community.
The County and the MDAQMD are enforcing unequal and bias treatment
in their decisions, activities, and services.
Newberry Springs is comprised of many sensitive
elderly people who are now suffering from the trespass of massive
amounts of sand and dust. The public and private nuisances
are being created through the intentional negligence of Clearway
Energy, the County of San Bernardino, and the Mojave Desert AQMD.
During the Daggett Solar Power Facility's permit
process, both the applicant and the County, and the MDAQMD were
warned of the inevitable great harm that the proposed siting would
cause. With indifference and with reckless disregard for the
inevitable consequences to the health and the safety of Newberry
Springs' citizens, the project was egregiously approved.
Thereafter, both the County and the MDAQMD have
intentionally, negligently, and oppressively failed to perform
their obligation to monitor and address the health violations of
Clearway Energy, thereby allowing the project's ultrahazardous
injuries to continue for many months, to the financial benefit
of pirating corporations foreign to the county.
The residents are now suffering in part, great
physical and emotional distress from the knowledge that
breathing the air is damaging one's body, spouse, children,
and pets. Families are witnessing acute asthma attacks
and other respiratory distresses, sinus problems including
nose bleeds, headaches, coughing, sneezing, irritated eye
problems, and numerous other emotional stresses from the dust
and sand getting onto food, on furniture throughout houses,
the continual annoyances, inconveniences, and sand blocked
The fugitive dust has caused animal abuse problems
that include sneezing, reverse sneezing, reproductive decline for
breeders, and reported sickness and death to some outdoor animals.
Damages to the community's aesthetics and
important scenic views for tourism, and the damages to cultural
resources have negatively impacted the community, as has been
the removal of taxable community land from the county's tax rolls
as solar farms are tax-exempt by State Law. This reduces
the area's shared tax funds and public services.
Most residents can not afford to move.
The value of their most important investment, their home, has
dropped. Home buyers do not want to purchase in a toxic
zone. Many residential properties are now "underwater"
and becoming unmarketable.
In essence, with the multiple County and
MDAQMD officials permitting the project with the knowledge
of the damaging impacts to the local residents, we allegedly
have an unconstitutional "Taking" of private property, quality
of life values, and infliction of great emotional distress without
compensation. (Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241 - Conspiracy
Against Rights; Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242 - Deprivation of
Rights Under Color of Law)
For those Newberrians who are planning to file a
legal action against Clearway Energy and TotalEnergy, in my humble
opinion as a legal layman, both the County of San Bernardino and
the Mojave Desert AQMD need to be held accountable and are strong
candidates to be named as defendants. They have intentionally
signed off on a very dangerous health hazard that is severely
damaging the physical and emotional health, life, and property
of the residents of Newberry Springs. Furthermore, they
have failed in their duty to properly monitor the project.
This document has been renewed. (Requirement number 6.)
"If you make yourselves sheep,
the wolves will eat you."
~ Benjamin Franklin
Clearway Energy and
TotalEnergies' Daggett Solar Power Facility need to immediately
stop construction until it is proven that the project can be
safely built without emitting carcinogenic silica dust upon the
Environmental Justice focus community of Newberry Springs.