Energy Conservation Plan
Biden Administration Restores the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, Protecting 2 million acres of National Conservation Land.
In his term’s 11th hour, then-President Donald Trump took aim at the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan and began a rollback of key conservation protections in the framework that aims to balance clean energy and conservation on federal land in the Southern California desert. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden’s administration announced it will halt that action, leaving the original plan intact.
The proposed changes would have resulted in a nearly 2 million-acre reduction in lands designated as “areas of critical environmental concern.” They also would have modified or eliminated 68 “conservation and management actions,” which set rules for development in the desert.
The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan represents an unprecedented partnership between the federal government, the state of California, and local citizen stakeholders to balance our country’s equally important goals of facilitating renewable energy while ensuring that lands in California’s deserts are set aside for conservation and recreation. With the plan’s integrity intact, we can now focus on the implementation of the DRECP and protecting our beloved California Desert for generations to come.
The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, or DRECP, is a land use plan designed to allow renewable energy development on least conflict public lands, and balance that with conservation and recreation on public land. The plans covers over 22.5 million acres of the California desert. This plan, finalized in 2016, is the result of over 8 years of collaborative planning by a diverse range of stakeholders throughout the state. The DRECP process can permanently protect California’s diverse and unique desert communities while siting renewable energy projects in the most appropriate locations.
The DRECP was one of our region’s most important achievements. The final plan struck a balance between the interests of industry, conservationists, recreationalists, government, and local residents. The effort to reopen the plan shows disrespect to hundreds of thousands of people who worked to achieve that balance, and threatens areas that Desert residents love.
The DRECP protected 6.5 million acres of the Desert’s most sensitive natural and cultural landscapes and designated 3.6 million acres for recreation, such as hiking, camping, rockhounding, and off-road recreation. Development would destroy these lands and reduce opportunities for local residents to enjoy them. Preserving the DRECP is about preserving our quality of life – Desert residents don’t want to see these places inappropriately developed.
Friends of the Inyo is hard at work, educating the public on the DRECP and how it benefits the lands we love. With the Biden Administration assuring the integrity of the plan, Friends of the Inyo and local stakeholders will focus on implementation and protecting the National Conservation Lands established by the DRECP. Many National Conservation Land sites like Conglomerate Mesa and Panamint Valley are still threatened by inappropriate development. Friends of the Inyo will be there every step of the way to protect these landscapes we all love.
While Friends of the Inyo supports renewable energy development, we do not support it at the cost of destroying lands with ecological, cultural, historic, scenic, or other important values. It is imperative that the BLM hear from the Eastern Sierra community so that they can take our opinions and concerns into consideration when deciding if and how to amend their 2012 Plan. Find out what you can do!
Please come to an Open House from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, August 19, at our new satellite office space, located at 142 East Bush Street, across from the post office in Lone Pine. There will be free food, drinks, and the opportunity to meet our board and staff, and to mix & mingle with your Eastern Sierra neighbors. No RSVP necessary. Just show up! While Friends of the Inyo has always worked to protect and care for the lands of Southern Inyo County, the opening of our Lone Pine office is an important demonstration of our long-term commitment to…
In case you missed our Desert Policy Associate Bryan Hatchell’s interview with KMMT FM Arts, Culture & Entertainment (ACE) Show Host John DeMaria on August 13, please use the media player below to listen to the full interview. Bryan provides a good education on the natural, cultural and environmental value of Conglomerate Mesa as he appeals to listeners to provide public comments to the Ridgecrest Bureau of Land Management by the August 30, 2021 deadline. After listening to the show, please visit the Protect Conglomerate Mesa Website, ProtectConglomerateMesa.com, and click on our Action Alert to access important information, including our…