The California Desert needs your voice

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.

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), eight years in the making, 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 satisfactory outcome.

Public “scoping meetings” are being held to begin the revision process. The Ridgecrest meeting is at the Kerr McGee Center on February 27 at 5 PM. Scoping meetings are intended to gather input from the public regarding what needs to be included and excluded from the planning process. Please plan to attend the meeting to hear what the BLM is doing and to make your voice heard in this planning process.

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