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State falls behind at green jobs, report says

California mirrors national average

Despite the state’s reputation as a clean energy leader and aggressive development of solar projects in the Mojave Desert, California ranks about average when it comes to the number of green jobs, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released this week.

California had 338,445 green jobs, equal to 2.3 percent of employment, the report said.

While California’s total led the nation, per capita, the state was about even with the national average of 2.4 percent. Nationally, there were a total of 3.1 million green jobs, the report found.

Most private-sector green jobs in the state were in construction, followed by administrative and waste services, professional, scientific and technical services, and manufacturing.

Bill advancing to speed changes to Calico Solar project

A bill introduced by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Sylmar, could play a role in Barstow-area solar developments.

The bill, AB 1073, would change the definition of a previous bill to allow solar projects that have been challenged in court, but had their cases dismissed by the state Supreme Court to still apply for approval from the California Energy Commission to convert proposed projects to solar photovoltaic panels.

Under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year, SB 226, the California Energy Commission can authorize changes to approved projects, rather than requiring the projects to go through local authorities. But projects challenged in court, even if the case was dismissed, were not eligible.

Calico Solar was the only project affected by the restriction, according to the state Senate’s analysis of the bill.

Barstow’s 663.5 megawatt Calico Solar project, located 17 miles east of Newberry Springs, faced court challenges from the Sierra Club and BNSF railroad and thus was ineligible under the previous law.

BNSF contended that the glint and glare from the solar project would interfere with freight and Amtrak trains passing through it, while the Sierra Club’s lawsuit alleged that the Energy Commission had approved the project without considering potential harm to plants and animals at the site.

Both challenges were dismissed last year.

The bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee Monday. Because it is listed as an urgency measure, it would take effect immediately if it becomes law.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or spearson@desertdispatch.com


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