The current administration has reopened for revision the recently adopted Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). This plan took eight years to develop after extensive involvement by state, federal, county, and many private sector interests. The plan set aside extensive public lands for conservation and recreation while carefully allocating a smaller portion of lands for renewable energy development.
It was 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 Kern County. It may now be set aside in hurried effort to implement preconceived goals.
The expressed goal of the current administration is to make it easier to extract energy resources from public lands. It is the opinion of all who participated in the lengthy development of the plan that more than adequate areas were designated as Development Focus Areas, areas to be subject to accelerated approval procedures, to meet energy requirement for the foreseeable future.
Kerncrest Audubon Society board members spent many hours studying the plan and submitted letters regarding local environmental and wildlife issues. We felt satisfied that our comments were considered and incorporated into the final plan. We have no faith that re-visiting the issues would result in an equally carefully-considered outcome, especially given the current funding and staffing level for the BLM. We are therefore asking you to submit letters individually to the BLM by March 22, 2018 opposing the re-opening of the DRECP.
In your personal letters to BLM avoid stating that you are a member of Audubon or any other conservation group. If you do that your letter may be combined with all other “Tree Hugger” groups, be counted as all one letter so not counted, and, basically, be ignored. It is best if you use your own words to describe your concern for saving the desert from destruction and that the DRECP has done a good job of identifying more acreage than is possibly needed where energy can be developed with minimum impact on the desert. Your letter should include your own words about how you use the desert and any thoughts you might have about what is important for BLM to consider as they plan for those uses.
One of the main points is that there is no need to reopen the DRECP to reach any of the administration’s goals. Another is that alternative energy generation should be encouraged on private land, so that property taxes are available to fund county expenses in serving areas developed. The DRECP provides only for alternative energy on public lands.
The form for comments passed out at the hearing had spaces for Name, Affiliation if applicable, Phone, Email, Mailing Address and City, State, Zip. Please do not enter Kerncrest or the Audubon Society under affiliation. You may want to speak for a church group or other organization or just enter “self” or “family”. Please submit comments to: BLM-California State Director, 2800 Cottage Way, Rm W- 1623, Sacramento, CA 95825 or electronically to BLM_CA_DRECP@blm.gov