Less than 1 year ago, San Jose made the historic decision to protect Coyote Valley from industrial development. Now, the same landowners who tried to get a huge Amazon-style warehouse approved in Coyote Valley are back with yet another destructive development proposal, which would bypass local planning rules and convert 128 acres of open space in the center of Coyote Valley into a power generation or power storage facility. Please tell San Jose City Council to take the lead and not to let them undo the protection of Coyote Valley!
A new California law, AB 205, allows landowners to obtain permission to develop renewable power, storage, and transmission facilities from the California Energy Commission rather than following local planning rules. Developers in the ecologically important North Coyote Valley are exploring this pathway to develop land that was protected by San Jose’s General Plan just last year. However, San Jose has the opportunity to participate in the review of this proposal that could end up at the Energy Commission.
Why It’s Important
Decades of work by the environmental community, and years of effort by San Jose city staff, elected officials, and others culminated in last November’s victory where the City General Plan was changed to protect Coyote Valley from massive industrial development. A broad consensus, years in the making and adopted unanimously by the City Council, was that Coyote Valley should be preserved for its open space lands, farmlands and habitat, and for flooding and climate protection. Land could continue to be farmed as it had for decades, and new opportunities to sell land for habitat conservation now exist as well.
Renewable energy is absolutely essential to the climate change challenge – and San Jose has been leading the charge through Climate Smart San Jose and San Jose Clean Energy. AB 205 was intended to benefit climate resilience – not destroy the open space that climate resilience depends on. There are plenty of other locations in San Jose for a clean energy facility – locations that won’t destroy farmland and wildlife habitat. Fortunately, this new law still gives San Jose and the rest of us a voice to advocate in front of the Energy Commission and protect our environment.
San Jose needs to follow through on its commitment to protect Coyote Valley by telling the Energy Commission not to approve this facility. San Jose leadership can ensure renewable energy facilities are built in the city and at appropriate locations, not in the environmental gem of Coyote Valley.
What You Can Do
Please email the City Council and ask them to take the lead in advocating that the California Energy Commission protects Coyote Valley instead of developing 128 acres in the heart of this protected wildlife habitat.