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2 solar projects approved in California, Nevada

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 19, 2014 at 2:47 pm •  Published: February 19, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal officials announced the approval of two solar energy plants on public lands in California and Nevada, angering environmentalists who say the facilities will endanger desert tortoises.

The plants were expected to supply 550 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power about 170,000 homes, Secretary of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a release Wednesday. More than 700 jobs will be created through construction and operations, she said.

The Stateline Solar Farm Project is slated for a site in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, Calif., near the Nevada line.

Across the border, the Silver State South Solar Project will be located near Primm, Nev. It will be adjacent to the smaller Silver State North facility, which is already providing power.

Both new public lands projects were proposed by the company First Solar and have commitments from Southern California Edison to purchase the plants' output for 20 years, the secretary said.

Throughout the review process, environmentalists voiced concerns that construction will negatively impact populations of desert tortoises in the Ivanpah Valley.

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