The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan is Under Attack!

Photo by Julie Vargo

***New Development***

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors will be discussing their draft letter to the BLM regarding the re-opening of the DRECP.

The Board is currently scheduled to discuss the topic on March 20, 2018 at their Board of Supervisors meeting. Here are some talking points to help you prepare for the meeting:

1. Thank the Board for its stance taken at the February 27 meeting to oppose re-opening the DRECP.

2. Remind them that they wanted to insure that their letter sent a clear signal and not mixed messages, and the current letter does not clearly oppose re-opening.  The draft’s list of its DRECP “issues” takes up half of the letter and, in the context of other language in the letter, undercuts the County’s clear message of opposition to re-opening the plan.  In fact, the County seems willing to see the DRECP re-opened if the Administration tells them now that’s the only way to address the County’s issues.

3. Remind them of the years of effort and time it took to create the DRECP, the special places it protects, and the chaos and uncertainty that re-opening it will bring.

4. Remind them that any re-opening of the DRECP in the current political climate will threaten the entire plan and lead to years of delay, uncertainty regarding development of renewable energy and Inyo County and loss of important protections for special Inyo County areas including Conglomerate Mesa, the Amargosa Basin, Trona Pinnacles and Fossil Falls.

5.  The letter lacks a clear, unambiguous statement that the path forward with the DRECP is through implementation.  The draft letter should stick to this “implementation now” approach and not blur it with language regarding possibly “needed” amendments.

6.  Urge the Board to re-write the letter to clearly state that the County reminds BLM that 1. The plan has only been in place 16 months, has not had a chance to work; 2. There have been no grievances or lawsuits, brought by any of the stakeholders that worked so hard to reach the compromise; 3. There is no evidence that any proposed renewable energy project have been burdened by the Plan; and 4.Reopening the plan will burden renewable energy and other development proposals because of the uncertainty that will result.

The Trump administration is taking aim at the California Desert, and it needs your voice.

The Department of Interior is blatantly undermining public process on your public lands.  The Trump administration seeks to reopen The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a landmark plan that balances conservation, recreation and renewable energy development in the California desert.  Eight years in the making, the DRECP is the result of a true collaborative effort by the State of California and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with full engagement from the public and desert counties including Inyo County. Now BLM is considering amending the plan after being finalized less than two years ago.

Tell Inyo County and the BLM that you support the DRECP as is and you oppose reopening this plan. Ask the BLM to focus its efforts on managing the California desert and implementation of the plan. Talk about special places in Inyo County or elsewhere in the California desert you love to visit and why you want to see them protected.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

  • Submit a letter to the BLM.  The 45-day public comment period will close March 22. We have until then to speak up for our Desert, and tell the Administration to keep this plan intact.

To submit a comment:

Send an email to BLM_CA_DRECP@blm.gov, or;

Write to BLM at:

BLM-California State Director

2800 Cottage Way, Room W-1623

Sacramento, CA 95825

SIGN THE PETITION HERE TO BLM

If you live in Inyo County:

  • Call your County Supervisor and ask him to support the DRECP in its current form. Talk about the places in the desert that are important to you, especially in Inyo County.  A few of the special places that could be threatened by the Trump administration’s action to modify the DRECP: the Amargosa River region; Lower & Upper Centennial Flats, Conglomerate Mesa, Panamint Valley and Fossil Falls.

Some talking points:

  • The DRECP was a multiple year collaborative effort. Inyo County and its residents were actively involved in the DRECP. DRECP agencies including the State of California and the BLM traveled numerous times to Inyo County and held multiple meetings and workshops in collaboration with the County.
  • Thank Inyo County for the extensive work it put into the DRECP and the County’s Renewable Energy Amendment to the General Plan (REGPA) which ensured places like the Owens Valley would not be developed with wind turbines and the Amargosa region would not be developed with solar power towers. Ask Inyo County to “stay the course” by continuing to support the DRECP without changes.
  • The DRECP protects a large swath of CA desert lands, including important plant and animal habitats and diverse recreation areas, from industrial-scale renewable energy development. The DRECP ensured that lands in Inyo County such as Conglomerate Mesa, Panamint Valley and the Amargosa Region will be preserved and can continue to be enjoyed as they are today.
  • The plan supports multiple use recreation, both motorized and non-motorized, through land use designations such as conservation lands and recreation management areas. All of the lands designated in DRECP are open to public access and all existing off-road routes remain open.
  • The DRECP has not removed any lands from mining activity. All existing and future mining rights are preserved.
  • Outdoor tourism on lands the DRECP protects for conservation and recreation are powering our rural desert economies, and the DRECP ensures they will continue to do so by preventing industrial-scale renewable energy development in inappropriate places.
  • The DRECP is not perfect but it was fully vetted, and represented a compromise for all stakeholders.  To open this plan now, when it was never litigated, is a tremendous waste of time and taxpayer dollars, and will cost Inyo County additional money and staff time that can be better spent moving the County forward instead of going backward.
  • For those who live in Inyo County and the rest of the desert, preserving the DRECP is about preserving our quality of life –we don’t want to see our beautiful lands inappropriately developed.
  • Reopening the DRECP could result in massive development of industrial-scale renewable energy and other development on public lands. Not only is this development not needed to help CA meet its renewable energy needs, it results in great uncertainty for ALL desert residents and users. Let’s not throw the plan out without giving it a chance to work!

 

Click here for a PDF of version.

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