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High Noon

As the climate warms, environmentalists square off over Big Solar’s claim to the Mojave Desert

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"Every relocation effort is a death sentence for those tortoises," Harvey complains. "They're lying if they say it's not."

Harvey left that day in despair. "I woke up Sunday morning at 5 a.m. thinking that I'd just lost my dog or best friend. I was just sick to my stomach. This is the first time that I feel like I may lose this battle."

At least that loss, if it happens, will be a long way off. BrightSource has yet to file all its documents with the California Energy Commission and the BLM. After it does, it has many more hurdles to clear before it can bulldoze a single acre of ground.

If that day comes, though, Harvey vows he will be ready. "If this project isn't the one that would make you lie down in front of a bulldozer and say, 'You can't do this,' what is? Thousands of pristine, beautiful Clark Mountain acres are going to be leveled and gone forever. What do you stand for," he wants to know, "if you don't stand up for this?"