Energy Conservation Plan
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.
A special day for the CDPA October 31st, 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act. The act that established Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave National Preserve and 69 wilderness areas. While the National Parks are certainly highlights of the act, it also protected places like Mal Pais Mesa Wilderness and Suprise Canyon Wilderness. In total, the California Desert Protection Act increased protection for 8.6 million acres of the California desert. The incredible work of inspired citizens, Senator Feinstein, conservation groups, agency partners, cities, counties, recreation groups, and so many more allow…
It was a busy year in policy for Friends of the Inyo as we worked to protect the Eastern Sierra’s public lands: Our Work to Protect Our National Forests We welcomed a new Forest Supervisor on the Inyo National Forest, and introduced her to our 30-year history of engagement with forest planning and stewardship. The Inyo National Forest released its final proposed management plan. We filed an objection because we believe the proposed plan does not do all it can to protect the Forest’s ecosystems. To facilitate public involvement in the development of the best possible plan, we held…
Keep The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Intact! Comments Due March 22nd The Department of Interior issued a federal register notice opening a 45 day comment period “on increasing opportunities for increased renewable energy development, recreational and off-highway vehicle (OHV) access, mining access, and grazing” This amending of the DRECP is a slap in the face to eight years of collaborative work, research and public outreach to balance renewable energy and conservation in the California Desert and identify areas most suitable for development. The Department of Interior said in a press statement it is exploring changes to the plan at…