REGIONAL — The Alameda Creek Alliance and Ohlone Audubon Society recently joined other environmental organizations in opposing the Aramis Solar Energy Generation and Storage project proposed for agricultural land in North Livermore, along Cayetano Creek.
"The Alameda Creek Alliance opposes the Aramis industrial solar plant, which is poorly sited. It would occupy land immediately adjacent to Cayetano Creek, which is designated as Water Management land under the Alameda County zoning code,” stated Jeff Miller, Alameda Creek Alliance president. “Solar projects are not permitted on Water Management land. The Aramis project would be detrimental for Cayetano Creek and set a bad precedent allowing further industrial-scale development next to creeks in other rural areas of Alameda County.
“The Alameda Creek Alliance supports distributed urban and rooftop solar to meet green energy needs, rather than siting industrial-scale solar plants on dwindling open space, wildlife habitat and agricultural lands in the county.”
The Ohlone Audubon Society advocates for the protection of birds and their habitats in southern and eastern Alameda County. Its opposition to the Aramis project follows similar opposition to the project from the Golden Gate Audubon, which focuses on protecting native birds and other wildlife species in the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly in San Francisco and western Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
The Golden Gate Audubon Society found that the biological surveys, which form the basis of the environmental impact report on the Aramis Project, were “inadequate” and that the project “will permanently alter over 500 acres of critical habitat” for multiple threatened bird species.
“We are grateful for the support of the Alameda Creek Alliance and Ohlone Audubon Society to preserving the open space and natural habitat of North Livermore Valley,” stated Merlin Newton of the Save North Livermore Valley steering committee. “It is one of the last undeveloped and productive agricultural areas remaining in Alameda County. As important as it is to expand renewable energy to address climate change, it's equally important to preserve the biodiversity of our planet. We shoot ourselves in the foot if we destroy our environment in an attempt to save it.”
In addition to the Alameda Creek Alliance and Ohlone Audubon Society, East Bay nonprofit environmental organizations opposed to the Aramis Project include: Friends of Livermore, Friends of Open Space and Vineyards, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Save Mount Diablo and Friends of Springtown Preserve.
Some public environmental agencies — such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, East Bay Regional Park District, and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality District — further determined that the environmental impact report for the solar project is deficient and that sensitive species could be harmed or killed during construction.