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.
What’s happening? In October 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-82-20 committing the state to conserve at least 30% of its land and coastal waters by 2030. To help achieve this goal, the order created the California Biodiversity Collaborative, comprised of state agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses, sovereign Tribal nations, academics, recreational users, and others. By February 1st, 2022, the relevant state agencies, in consultation with the Collaborative, must develop and report strategies to the governor of how to achieve the 30×30 target. What can I do?
ACTION ALERT: K2 Gold and Mojave Precious Metals Town Hall Happening Wednesday, March 24th at 6:00 PM An opportunity to share your support for protecting Conglomerate Mesa with K2 Gold Questions and Mojave Precious Metals. K2 Gold and their subsidiary, Mojave Precious Metals, are hosting a virtual town hall Wednesday, March 24th, at 6 PM. We must rise up and stand together to protect Conglomerate Mesa. Now is the time to let K2 Gold know that mining at Conglomerate Mesa is not welcome! K2 is proposing to open up a wild and remote part of the west Mojave desert on…
Friends of the Inyo Commends Decision to Protect the DRECP [Press Release on DRECP] Friends of the Inyo Commends Biden Administration’s Decision to Protect the DRECP, California Desert National Conservation Lands In an announcement today, the Department of the Interior says it would put a stop to efforts by the previous administration to reopen the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). Proposed changes would have rolled back key conservation protections, putting 2.2 million acres set aside for conservation at risk. The following is a statement from Jora Fogg, Policy Director, Friends of the Inyo in response to this announcement: “Friends…