In 2007, during Obama’s campaign trail he promised to invest $150 billion in renewables over the next ten years as part of an energy plan to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 . This proposition increased attention on climate change mitigation technologies.
Ken Salazar, then secretary of the Interior, created a plan for solar power on public land that involved the formation of 17 Solar Energy Zones (SEZ) in 2012 in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah . The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) defines these zones as places that are well suited for the development of utility-scale solar energy development . The US department of energy also authorised the energy policy act in 2005 that included a loan guarantee program to help clean energy projects .
In 2008, the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan began which asked stakeholders to agree on the outcomes of conservation and development by collaborating and it identified 388,000 acres for development . In 2010, there were as a solar land rush and around 80 applications were made, however, only a small fraction of these ended up being completed .
An area that has seen the most development of solar mega projects in the USA is the Mojave-desert. After Trump’s election in 2016, he initiated America’s First Energy Plan which prioritised job creation, energy independence, and supposedly environmental protection. This began deregulation to boost the fossil fuel industry and one area affected by this was the BLM’s approval process for public lands . This has also led to the approval of a few mega-solar projects in 2020.
In July 2018, the BLM initiated the process of receiving scoping comments for the Gemini Solar Project . In April 2019, the Basin and Range Watch joined the Western Watersheds project from Idaho to try to get endangered status and protection for the three-corner Milkvetch which they hoped would have an effect on the Environmental Impact Assessment . In December 2019, the final Environmental Impact Assessment was released giving a 30-day period to protest . Then in March 2020, the protest report was released containing complaints from the Wilderness Society and the Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee who disagreed with the analysis of damage to the local habitat and to tortoises . In May 2020, the record of decision was released, and the project received its final approval.
Three Comer Milkvetch. One of the species that will be severely affected by the project is the three-comer milkvetch. It will damage around 699 acres of its habitat . The record of decision indicates that mitigation methods will be used to preserve the seed bank and to leave the soil intact . However, environmental organisations such as the Basin and Range Watch believe that the project will be harmful to the rare species and that the mitigation method of using mowing will kill the plants because the construction machinery and heavy equipment will crush and destroy vegetation 
Desert Tortoise. Due to the Endangered Species Act-Section, 7 Consultation and the threatened status of the desert tortoise the BLM had to submit a Biological Assessment and they determined that the project would likely adversely affect the Mojave Desert Tortoise . The Mojave Desert tortoise is native to the north and west of the Colorado River in the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah . The population of the species has been declining for decades because of a range of reasons such as the loss of habitat caused by urban expansion, disease, and the loss of vegetation from livestock and invasive species . As a defence mechanism, when they are scared, they empty their bladder, and this can be dangerous during dry periods and can lead to dehydration . In 1990, the Mojave Desert tortoise was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and received recovery plans in 1994 and a revised version in 2011 . These included objected to maintain 3 self-sustaining populations, to maintain well-distributed populations, and to maintain connectivity between their habitats . It is considered a bellwether of the Mojave Desert ecosystem and many other species will not survive without it . Due to its threatened status, energy companies that develop solar projects in the Mojave Desert, need to estimate the population of tortoises that the project will displace and to develop an appropriate mitigation plan . One of the common methods of mitigation is to translocate the tortoises. This is dangerous for the tortoises and can lead to a high risk of death because they urinate and dehydrate themselves and there may not be accessible to more water where they are deposited . Environmentalist understands the need to combat climate change, but some do not think the correct way is to construct huge solar projects in the desert ecosystem that destroy wildlife . The Defenders of Wildlife were quoted as saying “There is no justification for this project that outweighs the importance of the desert tortoise, its habitat and BLM’s obligations to use its full authority to take actions that will contribute to the recovery of this threatened species”.
Cultural and Sacred Sites. Old Spanish National Historic Trail Due to the National Trail Systems Act, the project developers and BLM had to investigate what effect the project has on the Old Spanish National Historic Trail. They confirmed that it would be adversely affected but because this would only be a short section of it, the project was still approved .
Native American Tribes. NHPA Section 106 obligates the BLM to consult Native American tribes in the area because of the effect the project might have on sites that are deemed to be of historic importance to them . They consulted Moapa Band of Paiutes, Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, Fort Mojave Tribe, Twenty Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Bishop Pahute Tribe, Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, and Colorado River Indian Tribes . The Fort Mojave India Tribe asked for the project to be cancelled. The Moapa Band of Paiutes were concerned about the potential harm to the desert tortoise. There were also complaints regarding the adequacy of the consultation process .