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When railroads and environmentalists hold hands

Add in another player in the growing pile-on against a massive solar energy plant proposed for California's portion of the Mojave Desert just down the street: The railroad.

Railroad company Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp has joined an unlikely coalition of environmentalists, American Indians and politicians who are opposing a massive solar energy project planned for California's Mojave Desert. The railroad is sounding the alarm over what it says are potentially "catastrophic" consequences of a proposed 663.5 megawatt solar facility that would be so bright that the glare could temporarily blind train operators. The Calico Solar project is expected to include both SunCatchers, 40-foot-high solar thermal dishes made of mirrors that resemble giant satellite receivers, and photovoltaic panels on a 4,613-acre site along a rail transportation corridor used by BNSF and Amtrak. BNSF has filed multiple complaints with California regulators over the project, which was approved by the state last year but is undergoing a new round of hearings to approve the inclusion of photovoltaic panels on the site.


As a longtime journalist in Southern Nevada, native Las Vegan Andrew Kiraly has served as a reporter covering topics as diverse as health, sports, politics, the gaming industry and conservation. He joined Desert Companion in 2010, where he has helped steward the magazine to become a vibrant monthly publication that has won numerous honors for its journalism, photography and design, including several Maggie Awards.