Energy Conservation Plan
Changes to Desert Plan by Trump administration threaten 2.2 million acres of protected California Desert
“The Trump Administration continues its assault on public lands with an eleventh-hour attempt to gut the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). These egregious proposed changes to a balanced and comprehensive desert plan that was nearly ten years in the making will strip meaningful protections for treasured places like Panamint Valley and Conglomerate Mesa. These and many other special places in the desert were set aside for conservation and recreation because of their biological, cultural, and historical significance. They are loved and stewarded by residents and visitors alike. It is clear this last-minute move by the Trump Administration is an industry giveaway to mining companies that seek to exploit and profit off public lands in Inyo County and the California Desert.”
–Wendy Schneider, Executive Director, Friends of the Inyo
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 Trump administration is taking aim at the California Desert by reopening this landmark plan. Reopening the plan will put conservation and recreation priorities at risk by upsetting the balance achieved in the current plan. The Administration says it wants to see more areas open to large scale renewable energy and other extractive land use activities that would irreparably harm public access, iconic landscapes, and critical habitat. While we are not absolutely certain of the amendments to come, we believe the changes will strip the plan of it’s conservation provisions and potentially alter protective designation boundaries. We expect an amendment in the Winter of 2019.
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. When a plan amendment is released, we ask the public to be vocal in their support of the DRECP as established in the 2016 Record of Decision. Amending the plan is a slap in the face to all the stakeholders who participated in this 8 years of planning. As shown in previous public comments, Desert residents will not roll over. They will stand up and push back. We must defend the DRECP.
Changes to Desert Plan by Trump administration threaten California Desert Proposed rollbacks to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan threaten 2.2 million acres of precious California Desert lands “The Trump Administration continues its assault on public lands with an eleventh-hour attempt to gut the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). These egregious proposed changes to a balanced and comprehensive desert plan that was nearly ten years in the making will strip meaningful protections for treasured places like Panamint Valley and Conglomerate Mesa. These and many other special places in the desert were set aside for conservation and recreation because of…
We Need Your Help: Imminent Threat to Conglomerate Mesa *Update: Double your donation An anonymous donor has offered to match the next $10,000 in donations. Your donation will be doubled and your support will go twice as far. Click the image above or scroll to the bottom of the page to make a donation today. The Threat We’ve Been Watching For is Here. A Canadian mining company, K2 Gold, recently took over the Conglomerate Mesa gold exploration plan. Although helicopter access at seven drill sites is currently permitted, K2 clearly has bigger plans. They have now proposed drilling 30 additional sites…
Haiwee Geothermal Development Update In January 2020 the BLM released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a project that will expand the Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area to 22,805 acres, almost triple in size. With this growth, BLM will change the management provisions of National Conservation Lands and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern to allow for geothermal energy production, infringing on Mojave ground squirrel populations, sacred tribal sites, desert tortoise land and more. Part of the leasing area is proposed to expand into a Development Focus Area (DFA) which was established by the DRECP. Friends of the Inyo is pushing…