Western solar boom threatens wildlife’s home on the range

Read the full story at E&E News.

It was not long after Wyoming’s first large-scale solar project came online in 2019 that the antelopes made themselves known.

More than 1,000 pronghorns — the “American antelope” — galloped onto Wyoming’s Highway 372 that winter, terrifying drivers and biologists alike. The animals would typically migrate over public land, but with the 700-acre Sweetwater Solar farm blocking their way, they took the highway.

State officials are working now to make sure that doesn’t happen again as energy developers eye wide-open swaths of land for utility-scale solar projects. Angi Bruce, deputy director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said that while the state fosters energy development, it also prioritizes “making sure our wildlife thrives because we value it so highly here.”

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