A great deal of fear and uncertainty has engulfed Newberry
Springs over the Daggett Solar Power project's building permit status.
This concern has been bolstered by the secrecy of the Newberry
CSD board members and the General Manager refusing to inform the community of
how they are handling the CSD's solar
The legal action has been filed in Superior Court as an appeal
of the County Board of Supervisors upholding the Planning Commission's certification
of the Daggett Solar Power's Final Environmental Impact Report.
The lack of any information from the CSD, and the fact that the
CSD spokesperson, President Robert Springer, has stated that he is open to settling
the litigation, has left the community shocked and confused.
Seriously considering a settlement at this point, if true,
would be gross CSD malfeasance.
The only thing that I suspect that could have triggered
the CSD directors settling might be manifested in the general advisement
that attorneys routinely give their clients, warning that there is never
a guaranteed outcome and that a court decision could go against the CSD.
Rather than lose, and get nothing, some people will settle for table scraps.
If this sell-out thinking has any factual basis within the
CSD, and the litigation is dropped, then the CSD board betrayers should
best leave the community. Thirty pieces of silver in the CSD's
treasury will only be a drop-in-the-bucket to the tsunami of incoming
damages to the community.
Not only will Newberry Springs be negatively impacted, but
all of the High Desert, including the Lucerne Valley and all of the Morongo
Basin. All are closely watching the outcome of Newberry's litigation.
Our lawsuit is a landmark case against the County's
corruption. To settle it would be CSD corruption by
allowing the continuation of the County's unlawful actions.
Despite supporting evidence having been given for my Meandering
Thoughts,  highly sensitive CSD director Jack Unger has repeatedly
gone onto Facebook claiming that what I write is
Well, Mr. Unger, stop jerking
this community around and tell us what is going on
behind the CSD's closed doors. If you are not selling us out, then there
is nothing 'privileged' preventing you from telling us. Where is the
Open Transparency that you promised when you ran for office?
The CSD's case is too strong to surrender it. Since
some in the community do not believe me as to how strong it is, I am presenting
an Open Communication from Pat Flanagan who is recognized as one of the High Desert's
leading intellects on CEQA.
After reading it, ask yourself why CSD president Robert
Springer has stated that he doesn't think that we have a good case and that he
is considering settlement ?
Daggett Solar Power Project Comments
by: Pat Flanagan
The reasons for the
filed by the Newberry CSD and Friends of Newberry Springs (the Plaintiffs) against the County,
the Land Use Services, the Board of Supervisors, and the Daggett Solar Power 1, LLC facility
(all together the Respondents) is that the Respondents failed CEQA. Grade: F.
CEQA centers on whether a project may have a significant effect
on the physical environment. According to findings by Kamala Harris, California
Attorney General, published in 2012, human beings are an integral part of the
environment under CEQA.
Notwithstanding these clarifications in 2012, the County's standard response
in 2019 to all public comments related to the economic and social impacts of the
Daggett Project was:
An Agency is required to find that a project may have a significant effect on
the environment if, among other things, the environmental effects of a project will
cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly.
The economic and social effects of a physical change to the environment may be
considered in determining whether that physical change is significant. (Please
read the attached
from the Attorney General - you will be empowered.)
The EIR is consistent with the guidance provided in Section 15131 of the
CEQA Guidelines which states that the economic or social effects of a project shall
not be treated as significant effects on the environment, and the focus of the
analysis shall be on the physical changes.
The County also gets an F grade for not paying attention to
the State CEQA updates.
The purpose of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
is to inform the public and its responsible officials of the environmental
consequences of the decisions before they are made.
The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is the document required
to disclose the significant effects/impacts of the project on the environment to
the responsible officials and the public.
The EIR has been described as an environmental 'alarm bell' whose
purpose is to alert the public and its responsible officials to environmental
changes before they have reached an ecological point of no return.
The Civil Suit clearly shows that the Respondents violated CEQA
by certifying a Final EIR that fails to adequately analyze and mitigate the
Project's environmental impacts, including but not limited to:
a. Failure to adequately disclose, analyze or mitigate the Project's
impacts on air quality, including operational emissions, long-term greenhouse-gas
emissions, and especially as to particulate air pollution including operational
wind-blown particles pollution and Valley Fever.
b. Improper deferral of mitigation measures including Air Quality
c. Failure to establish an accurate baseline or existing condition
regarding air quality data involving PM10 and PM2.5.
d. Failure to adequately disclose, analyze or mitigate the Project's
impacts on water resources, including groundwater overdraft, and fails to
mitigate such impacts to the extent feasible.
e. Failure to adequately disclose, analyze or mitigate the Project's
impacts related to fire hazards from the Battery Energy Storage System, failing
to explain its conclusion that such batteries pose no significant fire hazards
and failing to mitigate such potentially significant impacts.
f. Improper deferral of formulation of Hazardous Materials Business
Plan and Emergency Response Plan until after Project approval.
g. Failure to adequately disclose, analyze or mitigate the Project's
impacts associated with the Project's use of hazardous lithium-ion batteries.
h. Failure to adequately disclose, analyze or mitigate the Project's
impacts related to biological resources including desert tortoises, burrowing
owls, desert kit foxes, creosote rings, etc.
i. Deficient and improper deferral of mitigation measures related to
biological resources, including but not limited to, Mitigation Measures BIO-1,
BIO-2, BIO-3, BIO-4, and BIO-5.
j. Failure to adequately disclose, analyze or mitigate the Project's
impacts related to cultural, historical, tribal and archaeological resources.
k. Adoption of vague and ineffective mitigation measures related to
cultural resources, including improper deferral of mitigation measures.
l. Failure to adequately disclose, analyze or mitigate the Project's
impacts of glint and glare to aviation safety.
m. Failure to adequately disclose, analyze or mitigate the Project's
greenhouse-gas impacts including on the desert ecosystem carbon sequestration
processes, foreclosing a meaningful evaluation of the Project.
n. Failure to adequately describe a range of reasonable alternatives
that will allow a reasoned choice since only two unreasonable alternatives were
o. Failure to adequately disclose, analyze or mitigate the Project's
aesthetic and visual resources impacts.
p. Failure to adequately analyze or mitigate the Project's impact on
land use and planning by failing to consider or mitigate the Project's
inconsistencies with the County's General Plan and the County's Development
Code. (Pages 12-14.)
These EIR Failures called out in the Civil Suit are not
accidental but done with prejudice - on purpose and repeatedly - to mislead the
public and gain approval for the Project. The Failures are part of an ongoing,
environmental justice crisis rooted in a deep history of marginalizing remote
poor communities with substandard infrastructure and capitalistic exploitation.
The County Land Use Services abused their power with their stamp
of approval and transmittal of the Final EIR to the Planning Commission for approval
and then to the Board of Supervisors for certification and final approval.
They are complicit in attempting to fool the public through the egregious and
repeated 'Failures' listed above.
The Board of Supervisors abused their discretionary powers by
certifying an EIR that does not comply with CEQA and by approving the Project
that relies on the flawed EIR.
The Daggett Solar Power 1, LLC facility is exploiting the
environment and the environmental justice communities with this 5.5 square mile
facility with no alternatives or adequate mitigation for project harms.
The Petitioners Pray for judgement as set forth below:
A. For a writ of mandate commanding the Respondents to vacate and withdraw
the certifications of the EIR and any purported approvals of the Project,
and to require Respondents to comply with CEQA, the Subdivision Map Act,
Planning and Zoning Law, the County's General Plan and the County's
B. For a temporary stay, temporary restraining order, and preliminary and
permanent injunction enjoining Respondents and Real Parties in Interest, and
their agents, employees, officers, or representatives, and all persons acting
in concert or participating with Real Parties in Interest from taking any action
to implement the project, unless and until Respondents fully comply with CEQA,
the Subdivision Map Act, Planning and Zoning Law, County's General Plan, and
C. For a declaration of the rights and duties of the parties hereto,
including but not limited to a declaratory judgment that Respondents violated
its duty pursuant to CEQA, the Subdivision Map Act, Planning and Zoning Law,
County General Plan, and County Development Code;
D. For petitioners' fees and costs, including reasonable attorney's
fees and costs, as authorized by the California Code of Civil Procedure.
(Page 17 Civil Suit.)
The legal and moral outcomes of the March 9, 2020, hearing must
follow the four judgments above. Only when the Respondents fully
(and legally) comply with CEQA, the Subdivision Map Act, Planning and Zoning
Law, the General Plan and Development Code will the community citizens and
environmental justice be served.
If there are any agreed-upon Project actions between the
Petitioners and Respondents that were not analyzed in the Final EIR, an
amended EIR is required. This amended EIR must disclose the significant
• Air Quality
• Biological resources, Cultural Resources
• Geology and Soils
• Hazards and hazardous materials - includes consideration
of airport-related impacts and includes the required public notice and the opportunity
to comment by the public.
~ Pat Flanagan
• • •
CSD Board Meeting|
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Newberry CSD Building
South end of Newberry Road.
Be there or you may be walked on !