February 6, 2021
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Concludes Aramis Project Likely To Injure and Kill Threatened Species
The California red-legged frog, the California tiger salamander and the San Joaquin kit fox, all threatened species under federal law, are likely to be injured or killed during construction and operation of the Aramis industrial solar power plant proposed for North Livermore Valley, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USF&WS”) stated in a recent letter to the Alameda County Planning Department.

As a result, Intersect Power, the company behind the massive Aramis project, must submit a habitat conservation plan to the USF&WS that minimizes and mitigates harm to the impacted species and obtain “an incidental take permit” from the federal agency prior to commencing construction. Furthermore, to address the permanent habitat loss from the Aramis project, the USF&WS calls for “permanent habitat conservation as a mitigation measure.”

To date, Intersect Power has steadfastly refused to offer any compensatory mitigation for the Aramis project’s destruction of habitat for threatened species.

In response tot the USF&WS letter, Chris O’Brien, chair of Save North Livermore Valley, stated,

“The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has now added its authoritative voice to the debate and reached the same conclusion as other public agencies that the environmental review of the Aramis project has been deficient. Injuring and killing endangered foxes, frogs and salamanders is obviously not the path Alameda County should take in seeking to achieve its clean energy goals. The Board of Supervisors needs to bring this deeply flawed project and process to an end."

Michael Fredrich of Friends of Livermore, a nonprofit environmental protection and good government group, commented:

From the beginning, Alameda County has failed to apply common sense and sound public policy in reviewing the Aramis solar project. Unlike neighboring Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties, Alameda County has not amended its General Plan to authorize utility scale solar power facilities solely in rural areas where they would pose the least conflict with wildlife habitat, open space, agricultural land and scenic resources, as well as comply with voter-approved Measure D. Instead, Alameda County worked closely with Intersect Power to advance the Aramis project in North Livermore Valley – where it is abundantly clear that massive industrial solar power plants should not be located.”

Fredrich added, “The letter from the USF&WS serves as further evidence of the environmental destruction the Aramis project will inflict. The Board of Supervisors should reject the Aramis project and instruct planning staff to complete a long-promised and delayed comprehensive solar policy for the East County.”
Contact County Officials Today
Yesterday, the County Planning Department rescheduled to March 4, 2021 the Board of Supervisors hearing of the Aramis Project.

Please click the green button above to contact the Alameda County Supervisors and staff today. Please add a subject line, such as Reject the Aramis Solar Power Plant, and your name and city of residence to the end of your message.

Here is suggested text you can cut and paste into your email message:


Dear Board of Supervisors and County Officials:

The scenic beauty, natural habitat and open space of North Livermore Valley belong to all of us and must be preserved for future generations. I respectfully request that you reject the Aramis solar project for the following reasons:

1) Before examining any individual utility-scale solar projects, Alameda County should deliver on the promise it made a decade ago to produce a comprehensive solar policy. Alameda County should do what Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties have already done: determine which are areas of the county for solar facilities pose the least conflict with wildlife habitat, open space and agricultural land. 

Otherwise, we risk destroying hundreds of acres of productive agricultural land and open space in North Livermore Valley without knowing whether there were other locations in the county suitable for solar power plants that would not have caused grave environmental damage.

2) The Aramis project will destroy North Livermore Valley's scenic beauty. No method exists to hide or obscure the visual assault on the valley from the Aramis project's 300,000+ eight-foot tall solar panels, new electrical substation, scores of lithium-ion battery stations, and overhead electrical transmission lines on towers, some reaching ten stories high.

These facts are not in dispute. The Final Environmental Impact Report found that the Aramis project will have “a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista." Even with landscaping, the report concluded that the adverse aesthetic impact remains “significant and unavoidable.”
3) The Aramis project will obliterate habitat for numerous special status species including the California tiger salamander, California red-legged frog and Western burrowing owl. The agricultural land also serves as a wildlife corridor important to maintaining the biodiversity of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. 

4) The Aramis project violates Measure D. Under voter-approved Measure D, the agricultural lands of Alameda County, including North Livermore, are to be preserved, enhanced and protected from “excessive, badly located and harmful development.” Commercial electricity power generation is not an agricultural use of the land. 

5) Other, superior, ways to generate renewable energy exist in Alameda County than the Aramis project. Seventy-five percent of the power from the Aramis project is under contract to San Francisco. Alameda County can generate much greater renewable energy than the Aramis project and keep the power within the County while preserving scarce, environmentally important agricultural land by promoting the installation of solar panels on rooftops of home and businesses, over parking lots and next to freeways. 
In conclusion, North Livermore Valley is designated as an agricultural district and should remain one.
Every public agency independent of Alameda County that has examined the Aramis project has concluded that

  1. the Environmental Impact Report is flawed and
  2. The construction and operation of the Aramis plant will likely injure and kill multiple threatened species.

Links to these comment letters can be found on our website.
The Aramis project will convert hundreds of acres of North Livermore Valley into an industrial zone

As shown in the visualization above, 320,000, eight-foot-tall solar panels will spread across 360 acres of agricultural land on a total project area of 660 acres. Miles of new internal access roads, security fences, and overhead transmission lines, some on towers 10 stories high, will be constructed.

No solar power plant of the magnitude of the Aramis project exists in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On five acres, the land will be excavated and concrete will be poured to serve as the foundation for a new electrical power station, water tanks and scores of flammable, trailer-truck size lithium-ion battery stations.

The Beauty of Our Valley
Just a short drive or bike ride from the City of Livermore and north of Highway 580, the North Livermore Valley has been zoned for agricultural and rural residential uses since the 1950s.

For nearly the same period Alameda County has recognized North Livermore Avenue in its General Plan as a scenic corridor and sought to preserve the area’s outstanding scenic quality. 

About Save North Livermore Valley

We started as a group of farm and ranch families and other members of the North Livermore Valley Rural Community. We have been joined by over 300 concerned residents in the City of Livermore and Tri-Valley area united for the purpose of preserving the open space, agricultural land and wildlife habitat of North Livermore Valley for future generations.