Eblasts

  • Eblast2 August 27, 2018

    UPDATE: Extended deadline to make calls to stop Cadiz - Friday, Aug. 31st

    Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

    I have additional details on the Cadiz water-harvesting bill before the State Senate. If you haven’t already made calls to both Senator Fuller and Assemblyman Mayes there is still time: the Senate deadline to vote on the bill is midnight Friday, August 31st.  

    Continue to make calls to both Senator Fuller & Assemblyman Mayes through Friday!

    Please also note a corrected phone number for Senator Fuller’s Morongo Basin office, listed below. As I mentioned in the E-Blast earlier today, even if you made calls on behalf of the previous version (AB-1000), we need you to call again now in support of SB-120!

    Takes less than a minute each to make phone calls to:

    Assemblyman Chad Mayes 

    Capitol office 916-319-2042

    District office 760-346-6342

     

    Senator Jean Fuller

    Capitol office 916-651-4016

    Morongo Basin office 760-228-3136 (apologies, there was a typo in the phone number listed in previous E-Blast – this is the correct number.)

     

    Provide the staffer who answers the phone or the answering machine:

    1) your name,

    2) the city you live in,

    3) that you (or your business/organization) support SB-120, and

    4) that you urge the Senator/Assemblyman to support SB-120 to protect California from the disastrous Cadiz project.

     

    Thanks again for taking a few minutes out of your day – to stop the horrendous Cadiz water-harvesting scheme!

     

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Kennington, President

    Morongo Basin Conservation Association

     

     

    Your 2018 MBCA Board

    David Fick, Vice President                         Steve Bardwell, Treasurer 

    Marina West, Recording Secretary            Pat Flanagan, Director       

    Meg Foley, Director                                   Mike Lipsitz, Director

    Ruth Rieman, Director                               Claudia Sall, Director

    Seth Shteir, Director                                  Laraine Turk, Director

     

    www.mbconservation.org

    MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment

    that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth

    and economic well-being.

    Add your reaction Share
  • EBlast August 27, 2018

    TODAY, Monday, August 27th call to protect Mojave desert ground water: SB-120 goes to vote tomorrow, Tuesday.

    Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

    We’ve come down to the wire! We need you make two calls TODAY, Monday, August 27th to our State Senator and Assemblyman in the California legislature urging their support of SB-120 to protect Mojave Desert springs and ground water.

    Even if you made calls on behalf of the previous version (AB-1000), we need you to call again now in support of SB-120!

    You know about the Cadiz corporation planned project to pump 16 billion gallons of ground water each year for 50 years that would affect springs within Mojave Trails National Monument to sell to a water company in coastal Orange County.

    MBCA and our conservation partners, including the National Park Conservation Association have been engaged in a lengthy struggle to defeat the Trump-backed Cadiz water-mining project.

    Takes less than a minute each to make phone calls to:

    Assemblyman Chad Mayes 

    Capitol office 916-319-2042

    District office 760-346-6342

     

    Senator Jean Fuller

    Capitol office 916-651-4016

    Morongo Basin office 760-228-3136

     

    Provide the staffer who answers the phone or the answering machine:

    1) your name,

    2) the city you live in,

    3) that you (or your business/organization) support SB-120, and

    4) that you urge the Senator/Assemblyman to support SB-120 to protect California from the disastrous Cadiz project.

    We have support from Senator Feinstein, Governor Brown, Lt. Governor Newsom, and Assembly Speaker Rendon, but Cadiz is a formidable opponent with power and money that is influencing the political process. Still, we have a good chance of getting this bill passed this week – with your help.

    Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day – this is a once in our life-time critical step to protect the fragile Mojave ecosystem groundwater! I know we can count on you!

     

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Kennington, President

    Morongo Basin Conservation Association

     

     

    Your 2018 MBCA Board

    David Fick, Vice President                         Steve Bardwell, Treasurer 

    Marina West, Recording Secretary            Pat Flanagan, Director       

    Meg Foley, Director                                     Mike Lipsitz, Director

    Ruth Rieman, Director                                Claudia Sall, Director

    Seth Shteir, Director                                    Laraine Turk, Director

     

    www.mbconservation.org

    MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment

    that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth

    and economic well-being.

     

    Add your reaction Share
  • EBlast August 19, 2018

    San Bernardino Countywide Plan – LUS regional meetings

    San Bernardino County Fire Service Zone parcel fees – special meeting

    San Bernardino County RECE 4.10

    Joshua Tree Airport Solar Project

    Eagle Crest Pumped Storage Project

     

    Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

    When it rains in the desert, it pours! We have another round of issue updates for you this week. A few “save the dates” along with other updates. Thanks for your attention.

    San Bernardino Countywide Plan & Community Plans: regional meeting

    When: Monday, Sept.10, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

    Where: Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Ave

    The County is hosting a second round of regional meetings in September to hear feedback on the revised Countywide Plan and Community Plans (see below for note on Community Plans,) draft goals and policies, community actions, and the land use map. It will be the main agenda item for the monthly Morongo Basin MAC meeting. After a presentation by LUS staff, the audience will have the chance to respond with “feedback.”

    Per the County’s announcement of the meeting, earlier public input lead directly to substantial changes to the Draft Countywide Plan documents and maps.

     Residents in the Morongo Basin expressed great concern in the first round of Open Houses that Community Plans were not to be included within the revised Countywide Plan. Eliminating Community Plans from the Countywide Plan denies the Community Plans the legal strength of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA.) Our Community Plans must be respected and have adequate power of law to function with authority. How will this be addressed in the revised Draft Countywide and Community Plans? The flyer for this round of regional meetings notes that Draft Community Plans have been renamed ‘Community Action Guides’. Please attend to understand the implications of this re-name, and what the other proposed revisions, could be!

    Check the County’s Open House page for the flyer announcement of all 9 Community Meetings across the County, plus more details about the Open House format and links to Community Plans.

     San Bernardino Co. Fire Protection District: special meeting

    A special meeting sponsored by County Fire to provide information about the expansion of the boundaries Service Zone FP-5 boundaries and increased assessment fees.

    When: Monday, August 27th

    Where: Joshua Tree Community Center, 6:00 PM

    The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District Board of Directors, as well as the County Fire Protection Districts Fire Chief, announced plans to expand Service Zone FP-5 as the best way to generate needed revenues to maintain existing fire protection and emergency services. They also state that current property tax revenues are insufficient to cover the costs of providing fire and emergency medical services. Each legal parcel within Service Zone FP-5 is assessed an annual parcel fee. The current assessment is set at $157.26/year, and can increase up to 3% each year.

    A 30 day protest period has been established along with a scheduled public hearing set for October 16, 2018 to allow the public to express their opinions regarding the expansion of the FP-5 Service Zone.

    • September 14, 2018: Public Notices mailed to all parcel owners.
    • October 15, 2018: Last day to receive mail in protest letters. Must be received by close of business.
    • October 16, 2018: Last day to receive walk in protest letters. Must be received by the closing of the public hearing.
    • October 16, 2018: Public Hearing 10am, San Bernardino County Government Center, 1st Floor Covington Chamber.

    Go to the County’s Service Zone FP-5 page for more detailed information including a map, FAQs, and listings of other community meetings about the issue.

    The Renewable Energy Conservation Element (RECE), section 4.10

    RECE, section 4.10 will be scheduled on the County Board of Supervisors agenda within the next two months. When it is announced, we’ll let you know to “save the date.” It will be important again for residents to weigh in as the Supervisors decide the future renewable energy in RL (Rural Living) zoned areas. If we don’t tell our story to defend our communities from large-scale RE, the RE industry will tell theirs and tip the balance! Desert communities have spoken clearly: no large scale RE in residential communities!

    Joshua Tree Airport Solar Project

    As reported in previous the e-Blast, Joshua Tree Community for Responsible Solar sued the developers of JT Solar in CEQA court and the project is in a court monitored “stay.” There is another impediment to the project: the developer NextEra’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Southern California Edison Power expired in early 2017

    Eagle Crest Energy Company Pumped Storage Project

    The previous E-Blast reviewed the status of this project. We can now confirm that the Desert Protection Society (DPS) will file an Appeal to the BLM right-of-way approval. It is hoped this action will block Congressman Paul Cook’s sponsored bill H.R. 5817 to authorize an extension of Eagle Crest’s missed deadline to commence construction.

    While purported to be a renewable energy project, damage to Joshua Tree National Park’s ecological balance seems certain.

    We should note for those of you who are not aware, the passing of renowned desert activist, Donna Charpied on November 11, 2017.  A true champion of the desert and an inspiration to many, Donna and her husband Larry were recipients of the Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award in 2005. Donna devoted her life to fighting assaults on Eagle Mountain and founded the Desert Protection Society. While she is genuinely irreplaceable, the DPS carries on with the work Donna was so passionate about. Thank you DPS board of directors!

     

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Kennington, President

    Morongo Basin Conservation Association

     

    Your 2018 MBCA Board

    David Fick, Vice President                         Steve Bardwell, Treasurer 

    Marina West, Recording Secretary            Pat Flanagan, Director       

    Meg Foley, Director                                    Mike Lipsitz, Director

    Ruth Rieman, Director                               Claudia Sall, Director

    Seth Shteir, Director                                   Laraine Turk, Director

     

    www.mbconservation.org

    MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment

    that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth

    and economic well-being.

     

    Add your reaction Share
  • EBlast August 9, 2018

    Cadiz / Assembly Bill 1000

    Eagle Crest Pumped Storage Project

    San Bernardino County RECE 4.10

    Altamira Gated Community Project

    Joshua Tree Solar Project

    Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

    The previous e-Blasts in May and June encouraged you to submit comments to BLM for WEMO (West Mojave route network), along with a call to turn out for the County Planning Commission hearing on RECE (Renewable Energy Conservation Element) section 4.10 - since then we’ve had a welcomed hiatus from deadlines!

    I hope you’ve been able to catch your breath this summer, relax and attend to your personal lives. The need to respond in defense of the desert environment often competes for our attention and precious time! Along with the other MBCA directors, know that we appreciate the time you give - your attention, support and activism to the MBCA mission.

    So with optimism that you are recharged, there is something to put on your “to do” list, plus updates to long-standing issues.

    Cadiz / Assembly Bill 1000 – the “to do”

    The California Assembly has one more opportunity to curtail the Cadiz corporation plan to pump 16 billion gallons of ground water each year for 50 years from springs within Mojave Trails National Monument to sell to a water company in coastal Orange County. AB 1000 was introduced to the California Assembly last year and is now held by the State Appropriations committee. This bill is intended to reverse the Trump administration action that eliminated Federal requirements for the project. AB 1000 would require additional scrutiny before allowing plans to commence the export of desert groundwater for profit.

    If Cadiz begins pumping, the consequences will be dire to natural springs and the plants and animals that depend on them. It would do irreparable damage to Mojave Trails National Monument. Let’s do what we can do curtail this!

    Contact the Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, State Senator Anthony Portantino, with this simple message:

    • protect the Mojave desert’s natural springs and ground water;
    • as a leader you expect him to release & help pass AB1000. 

    Phone calls to Mr. Portantino’s district office are best:

    (818) 409-0400(ask for Vickere Murphy or the environmental staff member)

    - or send an e-mail.

    Also make calls to your state legislators. Morongo Basin residents can open MBCA's Decision-Maker Contact Information page to find clickable links to email State Assemblyman Chad Mayes and State Senator Jean Fuller.

    For more background read the Mojave Desert Blog’s overview, “Should Orange County Get Mojave Desert Groundwater?”

    Eagle Crest Energy Company Pumped Storage Project

    As reported in MBCA News recently, BLM approved the Eagle Crest Pumped Storage Project. The most recent News Update highlighted that the Company missed the mid-June construction deadline at the former Eagle Mountain Mine site near Desert Center. Intending to breathe new life into the project, Congressman Paul Cook sponsored Congressional bill H.R. 5817 to authorize an extension of Eagle Crest's commencement of construction. It was introduced into the House of Representatives and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.  The next action for the bill will be Mark Up where it can be amended and then Ordered to be Reported for a floor vote in the House.

    Eagle Crest Energy Company has yet to find a buyer for the power generated in the proposed hydro-pumping plant, it is also likely they would have to go through the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process again, and there’s new science about aquifer recharge rates that could jeopardize the project.

    Environmental activist Donna Charpied devoted her life to fighting assaults on Eagle Mountain, including the Eagle Crest Pumped Storage project and other schemes that preceeded it. The organization she founded, The Desert Protection Society (DPS) continues the fight. It is expected DPS will appeal the BLM right-of-way approval. While purported to be a renewable energy project, damage to Joshua Tree National Park’s ecological balance seems certain.

    MBCA signed a letter along with conservation partners including the National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds, Basin and Ranch Watch, opposing the bill or any other legislative extension of the Eagle Crest construction permit.

    San Bernardino County General Plan RECE 4.10

    We’re still waiting to hear when the Board of Supervisors will hear and decide on Renewable Energy Conservation Element (RECE), section 4.10. You may recall in May the Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the original version endorsed by MBCA and residents throughout the rural desert to prohibit industrial scale RE development in Community Plan areas. The Commission wisely rejected an Alternative 4.10 version that favored developers. When RECE comes back before the Supervisors it will be another call-to-action for us to emphatically demand defense of the rural residential quality of life in the desert areas. It is assured that the solar industry representatives are lobbying Land Use Services and the Supervisors on behalf of development. We must be present when the Supervisors decide the future renewable energy in RL (Rural Living) zoned areas - to tell our story and defend our communities from RE industrialization. When MBCA hears news about 4.10 appearing on the Supervisors’ Agenda, we will let you know to “save the date”!

    Altamira Gated Community Project

    MBCA Director David Fick working with other Joshua Tree residents reports another ‘settlement meeting’ was held in July 2018 with the Altamira project developers. The project remains in a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) court-monitored “stay” which halts the legal process in a trial or other legal proceeding. It is unclear how much longer or even if the “stay” would be extended or how the issues with the developers will be resolved. The opposition remains vigilant in monitoring and negotiating a settlement that favors concerns about the harmful environmental and social impacts to the Joshua Tree community.

    We wanted you to know that MBCA has not forgotten about Altamira. When there is news to report, MBCA will relay it to you.

    Joshua Tree Airport Solar Project

    Joshua Tree residents opposing the solar project also sued the developers of JT Solar in CEQA court. This project is also in a court monitored “stay.” The developer, NextEra, has completely fenced 110 acres of one million dollar land, but can proceed no further during the “stay.”

    Again, we have not lost sight of the project. This is another case of opponents slowing down a controversial project from moving forward. You will be notified when there is news about JT Solar.

    Calendar of Community Events

    The MBCA website’s Calendar of Community Events is a terrific way to keep tabs on events in the Basin of interest to the environmental, historical and community minded. You’ll find the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory meetings, Morongo Basin Historical Society lectures, MBCA Board meetings, Hi Desert Nature Museum Brown Bag Lunch lectures, Old Schoolhouse Lectures by the Twentynine Palms Historical Society and The Desert Institute of JT National Park Association, and more. Check it out!

    In closing

    The MBCA directors will meet for our annual board retreat later in August. This is our opportunity to have a full day to take in the big picture, assess the past year and look ahead to what’s ahead. 2018 will mark MBCA’s 50thanniversary in service to the Morongo Basin. As the Basin’s oldest organization with a focus on the natural environment and our communities’ quality of life, we take our role seriously as challenges mount with increased pressures from growth and the effects of climate change. Directors will work to be prepared to anticipate and equipped to respond. We welcome your input – if you have ideas, critiques, or suggestions, please let us know: http://www.mbconservation.org/contact_us. We look to you to join us in the work, as well as in the 50thcelebrations ahead!

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Kennington, President

    Morongo Basin Conservation Association

     

    Your 2018 MBCA Board

    David Fick, Vice President                         Steve Bardwell, Treasurer

    Marina West, Recording Secretary             Pat Flanagan, Director      

    Meg Foley, Director                                   Mike Lipsitz, Director

    Ruth Rieman, Director                              Claudia Sall, Director

    Seth Shteir, Director                                 Laraine Turk, Director

     

    www.mbconservation.org

    MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment

    that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth

    and economic well-being.

     

    Add your reaction Share
  • Eblast June 11, 2018

    WEMO comments DEADLINE this Thursday, 6/14/18

    Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

    Time to get your BLM West Mojave Route system (WEMO) response comments composed and sent by the deadline this Thursday!

    There is some good news in Alternative # 2 – many dirt roads in Wonder Valley and other areas have been designated “Street Legal Vehicles Only.” Let the BLM know you support SLO in rural neighborhoods with checker boarded with BLM and private property!

    For a full update, go to MBCA's previous news update on this topic, which has links to the COW website for insights and recommendations for making substantive comments.

    The Wilderness Society has also posted a website with a form letter that you can use and a link to the BLM for sending comments directly.

    This is our chance to assist the BLM in getting it right – to send a very strong message from Basin residents to make our dirt roads STREET LEGAL ONLY for Motorized vehicle use. This will reduce conflicts with OVH’s that we know only too well

    If you do not have the time to compose individualized comments, use the COW or Wilderness Society templates. Thanks for your attention to this issue that is core to our quality of life in the Mojave desert.

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Kennington, President

    Morongo Basin Conservation Association

     

    Your 2018 MBCA Board

       David Fick, Vice President                        Steve Bardwell, Treasure
    Marina West, Recording Secretary           Pat Flanagan, Director
    Meg Foley, Director                                   Mike Lipsitz, Director
    Ruth Rieman, Director                              Claudia Sall, Director
    Seth Shteir, Director                                  Laraine Turk, Director

    www.mbconservation.org

    MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment that nurtures the region’s rural character,
    cultural wealth and economic well-being.

     

    Add your reaction Share
  • Eblast May 18, 2018

    SB County RECE 4.10: Planning Commission hearing, THURSDAY, 5/24/18

    • Complimentary MBTA bus transportation from JT – RSVP!

    WEMO: comments due Thursday, 6/14/18

    Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

    One last reminder about the critically important …
    San Bernardino Co. Planning Commission hearing: RECE 4.10
    WHEN:  May 24th, 9AM
    WHERE:  County Government Center, 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino, CA. 92415 and remote video-conference facilities in Joshua Tree and Hesperia (see below for locations)

    Speak up to protect our Communities from utility scale Renewable Energy development in existing community plan areas and Rural Living land use districts!

    Advocate for Policy 4.10 as proposed on Aug. 8, 2017! The newly revealed Staff Recommendation for Policy 4.10 opens the door to developers for the industrialization of our communities!

    We can make a difference if we show up and speak out! Speakers have 3 minutes to present their comments. To prepare, carefully read the County's recent report on the original and edited versions of RECE 4.10, then review MBCA’s perspective in this summary that opposes the revisions.

    Participate remotely from the JT or Hesperia’s video conferencing
    WHERE: Burke Government Building, 63665 29 Palms Highway
    OR:Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center, Hesperia
             15900 Smoke Tree St., suite 131
    WHEN: 9AM

    If you cannot attend the PC Hearing, submit written comments to
    Linda Mawby, Senior Planner (Linda.Mawby@lus.sbcounty.gov).

     

    WEMO
    The BLM has published the latest draft of the West Mojave Route system (aka WEMO) on March 16, 2018. Public response comments wlll be accepted through June 14th.

    There is some good news in Alternative # 2 – many dirt roads in Wonder Valley and other areas have been designated “street legal vehicles only” per many residents’ suggestions!

    For a full update, go to this May 17 MBCA News Update with links to the COW (Community ORV Watch) website for insights and recommendations on making substantive comments.

    In closing
    See you in San Bernardino next Thursday at the Planning Commission hearing or I’ll watch you comment remotely on the video screen there as you make comments from JT or Hesperia. We’ll make a full-report on RECE in the next E-Blast – hopefully with good news!

    Sincerely,
    Sarah Kennington, President
    Morongo Basin Conservation Association

    Your 2018 MBCA Board
    David Fick, Vice President                      Steve Bardwell, Treasurer   
    Marina West, Recording Secretary           Pat Flanagan, Director
    Meg Foley, Director                                Mike Lipsitz, Director
    Ruth Rieman, Director                            Claudia Sall, Director
    Seth Shteir, Director                               Laraine Turk, Director

     

    www.mbconservation.org 

    MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment
    that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth
    and economic well-being.



    {{ broadcaster.name }}
    {{ settings.site.full_url }}

    Add your reaction Share
  • EBlast May 11, 2018

    Protect our Communities Now
    We are not exaggerating

    Learn what you need to know and do at the
    MAC meeting Monday, May 14 @ 5:30 PM in JT Community Center

                                                                                

    WHAT: MAC (Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council)
    WHEN: Monday, May 14, 2018 - NOTE NEW TIME, 5:30 PM
    WHERE: Joshua Tree Community Center – 6171 Sunburst Ave

    • WEMO (BLM West Mojave Routes of Travel)

    Yes, it’s back and we are on it. This time around it will be easier to comment. Learn the what, when, and how at the MAC.

    • Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (RECE) Policy 4.10 and subsections

    Utility Scale Solar Projects could be in our future –

    County Land Use Services has drafted a new ‘Staff Recommended’ Policy 4.10 that could bring large scale solar to the Morongo Basin, Lucerne Valley, Daggett, and Newberry Springs – rural communities with flat terrain and transmission. Read between the Staff Recommended lines here.

    Then attend the Planning Commission Hearing,
    Thursday, May 24, 9 AM.

    The Planning Commission will decide to Prohibit Solar or 
    to Allow Solar in rural residential communities.

    WHEN: Thursday, May 24th, 9AM
    WHERE: County Government Center, 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino, CA. 92415 and also remote videoconference sites in Hesperia and Joshua Tree.

    Free bus transportation from Morongo Basin to attend this meeting

    MBCA encourages you to attend the hearing in San Bernardino to make the greatest impact. If you would like to reserve a seat on a free bus to this Planning Commission Hearing, email us: info@mbconservation.org. You will receive an email with all details when they are known. Generally, there will be a meeting point in the Morongo Basin at about 7AM on May 24, and the return will be approximately 2-3PM.

    If you are not able to make the trek to San Bernardino, please participate remotely from the video conferencing center at the Joshua Tree Burke Government Building (63665 29 Palms Highway) or the Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center in Hesperia (15900 Smoke Tree St., suite 131).

    A strong showing for our position is critical! The developers’ interest will undoubtedly be present – community interests must be present to tip the balance. Each public speaker will have 3 minutes to present comments.

    Thanks for your attention and participation. We can make a difference – only if we show up and speak out!

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Kennington, President
    Morongo Basin Conservation Association

    Your 2018 MBCA Board

    David Fick, Vice President                      Steve Bardwell, Treasurer   
    Marina West, Recording Secretary           Pat Flanagan, Director
    Meg Foley, Director                                Mike Lipsitz, Director
    Ruth Rieman, Director                            Claudia Sall, Director
    Seth Shteir, Director                               Laraine Turk, Director

    www.mbconservation.org

    MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment
    that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth
    and economic well-being.

    Add your reaction Share
  • Eblast March 11, 2018

    Morongo Basin Residents Defend the DRECP

    Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

    It was a windy and chilly winter weeknight on March 1st… yet there was a fantastic turn out for the BLM-hosted DRECP (Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan) Scoping meeting and the subsequent conservation program in Joshua Tree. Every seat was occupied and a standing-room-only crowd filled the JT Community Center to capacity with as many as 200 attending. It was the strong response needed to demonstrate the Morongo Basin public’s support of conservation protections in the DRECP!

    Thanks to all who were there. For those of you who were unable to attend, MBCA sponsored video documentation of the conservation program. Click here:  “Morongo Basin Residents / Defend DRECP Desert Plan”  


    The conservation panel was moderated by Chris Clarke, National Park Conservation Association. Panelists April Sall, California Desert Coalition, Kate Hoit, Vet Voice Foundation, & Frazier Haney, Mojave Desert Land Trust reviewed Department of Interior’s proposed amendment to the DRECP, and answered questions for making substantive comments. David Lamfrom, National Park Conservation Association, made eloquent closing remarks. Following the panel, a court recorder was provided for audience members’ oral responses to be submitted as comments to the DRECP Scoping.

    The Basin community wants more, not less, public land protected from development. How do we communicate this with substantive comments to the Federal Administration?

    There is a consensus that we don’t want to jeopardize the conservation lands achieved in the long 8-year DRECP process. Some voices at the meeting last week expressed the thought that accepting any changes to the Plan could unravel the whole bundle of agreements reached – like pulling at a thread in a knitted sweater. That was the just say “no” or “no change” position. Speakers noted that the process the DRECP established appears to be working. In the two years since the Record of Decision put the Plan into effect, there have been no lawsuits. Give it a chance to truly see how effective it is. This isn’t to say the DRECP is perfect, but let’s work within it before it’s scrapped for who knows what. It is not the conservation community advising the Department of Interior to reopen the DRECP, it is solar and wind energy developers and mining interests.

    Another perspective contends that it’s not a question of whether the Administration will open up the DRECP, but when. This represents the position: if we don’t take a seat at the table, we won’t get dinner. The conservation community should weigh in with specifics on issues we’ve discovered since the implementation of the DRECP to identify where the Plan needs improvement and why. For example, issues around the location of Development Focus Areas (DFAs), especially with the increased knowledge of what can go wrong, including ineffective mitigations.

    MBCA has been taking the lead, under the leadership of MBCA Director Pat Flanagan, at raising awareness of the unfortunate & irreversible impacts to our rural desert communities of inappropriately sited industrial scale Renewable Energy (RE). In particular, Pat has researched and shared when and where we can identify the effects of wind-borne dust after the delicate desert crust is damaged and native plants removed. Better soil analysis and knowledge to correlate the effects of siting RE along the Mojave Desert’s Sand Transport Paths (STPs) is needed.

    Death by Dust!

    Is this a social justice issue? Is this the Administration taking revenge on California? Is this a gross disregard for desert ecology and the welfare of desert citizens? I have to say, YES it is!

    Here are considerations as you prepare to Comment on the DRECP:

    If you are concerned about air quality - Say that!

    If you are concerned about effects on wildlife – the desert tortoise, and other species - Say that!

    If you are concerned about industrial scale RE overburdening our desert aquifers - Say that!

    If you believe that California is on track to meet the 2030 goal established for 50% RE and that sufficient land was set aside for RE development in the DRECP (as does the California Energy Commission) - Say that!

    If you have experienced the ill effects of a solar or wind “farm”  (Morongo Basin and Lucerne Valley residents have learned the hard way that their quality of life, and their property values are being destroyed from solar development sited next door to their homes) - Say that!

    If you believe that point of use solar – rooftops & shade structures – is the way to go, not scraping intact pristine desert - Say that!

    If you are benefiting from the Basin’s tourist economy and see the value of preserving the scenic values of our desert landscapes -

    Say that!

    If you believe it is critical to respond to climate change by keeping the natural desert landscape intact - Say that!

    Say what you feel, you know, you care about! Be “substantive” – tie your concern back to a specific understanding about the DRECP and desert conservation.

    If you haven’t already, make your voice heard in two critical ways


    1.
    BLM: Submit comments against the Administration’s plan to reduce conservation protections achieved in the DRECP by the March 22, 2018 deadline by writing to:

    BLM-California State Director,

    electronically: BLM_CA_DRECP@blm.gov

    mail: 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-1623, Sacramento, CA 95825

    Include with comments:

    Your Name; Affiliation (if applicable); Phone: E-mail; Mailing Address

    2. San Bernardino County’s desert Supervisors:

    The County will be submitting Scoping comments to BLM. Your voice matters in their decision-making. Call or write to urge them:

    • To demand that there should be no additional land allocation for RE development on public lands in the DRECP.
    • To direct County Land Use Services (LUS) to immediately send RECE polices 4.10, 4.10.1 and 4.10.3 to the Planning Commission and adopt these measures as they stand to protect desert communities against impacts from RE projects.

    THIS TUESDAY, March 13, 2018 join MBCA Directors at the Joshua Tree Burke Government videoconference center to make your comments at the Supervisors meting. The open comment period begins at approximately 10:00AM – 11:00AM.

    At that time MBCA Directors will present a petition with more than 200 signatures.

    To call or write Supervisors:

    * James Ramos, Third District Supervisor –

    (909) 387.4855 / E-mail: dyoung@cob.sbcounty.gov

    * Robert A. Lovingood, Chairman & First District Supervisor -

    (909) 387.4830 / E-mail: melissa.mcclain@box.sbcounty.gov


    In closing:

    The Basin communities, perhaps more than any others, have spoken to defend the desert. We’ve stood up for it during the long 8-year deliberations to craft a DRECP with conservation protections & recreational opportunities, balanced with the demand for energy production, mining, and OHV use. It is unclear exactly how this new battle will play out. But it ain’t over till it’s over!

     

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Kennington, President

    Morongo Basin Conservation Association

     

    Your 2017 MBCA Board

    David Fick, Vice President                      Steve Bardwell, Treasurer   

    Marina West, Recording Secretary          Pat Flanagan, Director

    Meg Foley, Director                                Mike Lipsitz, Director

    Ruth Rieman, Director                            Claudia Sall, Director

    Seth Shteir, Director                               Laraine Turk, Director

     

    p.s. MBCA’s Desert Wise Living spring Landscape Tour, showcasing the desert lifestyle we are striving to protect through our comments on the DRECP, is in need of volunteer docents to assist during the tour on April 28 and 29. Please contact Cathy Zarakov, our volunteer coordinator at czarakov@gmail.com if you are interested in spending a half-day outdoors with our generous garden hosts and always enthusiastic visitors. In return for your time you will receive a complementary pass to attend the tour.

    p.p.s. Our thanks to Bob Stephenson / ProVideo for his professional support in making the March 1st video documentation possible.

     

    www.mbconservation.org

    MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment

    that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth

    and economic well-being.

     

    For more information, news, and links on the proposed amendment to DRECP:

    MBCA’s News Update Review of DRECP Comments Needed – Feb 4, 2018 (with pertinent links to BLM, Federal Register, news articles)

     

    Mojave Desert Blog Trump planning to Hand Over Desert Wildlands to Industry – February 1, 2018

     

    Desert Sun In stunning reversal, Trump could open California desert to more solar and wind farms, by Sammy Roth – March 2, 1018

    (https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2018/02/01/trump-could-open-california-desert-more-solar-and-wind-farms-mining-off-roading/1087021001/)

    Desert Sun Joshua Tree cries foul as Trump targets California desert for energy projects, by Sammy Roth – March 5, 2018

    (https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2018/02/01/trump-could-open-california-desert-more-solar-and-wind-farms-mining-off-roading/1087021001/

     

    Add your reaction Share
  • Eblast February 14, 2018

    • DOI announces intent to reopen DRECP
    • Missing in Action: SB Co. Renewable Energy Conservation Element

     

    Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

     

    Last week we received disheartening news: the Department of Interior (DOI) announced plans to amend the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) to provide for more utility scale renewable energy development and mining access, while diminishing conservation measures in its Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA).  For Samy Roth’s Desert Sun article, Trump administration opens millions of acres up to mining, click here. See more news stories and links at MBCA’s News Update on this topic.

     

    MBCA joins our conservation partners in opposing this DRECP review. As citizens we have spent countless hours since 2012 participating in both the San Bernardino County renewable energy processes and the DRECP, communicating our concerns about the potential adverse social, recreational, economic and environmental impacts of utility scale renewable energy on our rural, unincorporated communities and public lands.

     

    We are once again at a crossroads in terms of comprehensive planning for the development of renewable energy. MBCA is circulating a petition to urge San Bernardino County Supervisors to strengthen renewable energy policies in San Bernardino County by requesting they make a comment during the DRECP scoping period that reflects the values of their constituents. 

     

    Our Supervisors should protect our communities and our natural resources and make it clear to Department of Interior that there should be no decrease in conservation areas or increase in utility scale renewable energy development on our public lands. We are working to get our elected officials to make comments opposing the DRECP review – Congressman Cook will be approached, as well as our County Supervisors.

     

    Currently, there are a number of proposed renewable energy projects that are subject to County jurisdiction that would fundamentally erode the quality of life in our rural, unincorporated communities. We firmly believe the County has the right and obligation to comment on this federal process because additional renewable energy development on federal land will have an impact on air quality, water resources, economic development, recreation, wildlife habitat and the physical health of citizens.

     

    On Tuesday, February 13th several Morongo Basin Conservation Association Board of Directors spoke via live video link from teleconferencing room in the County Government Center in Joshua Tree. Their comments urged Supervisors:

     

    Re. DRECP:

    • To act swiftly to submit a comment during the DRECP scoping period that reflects the values of your constituents and makes it clear to Department of Interior (DOI) that the September 2016 DRECP LUPA Record of Decision should stand as is and there should be no further changes to the allocations of conservation, recreational or renewable energy designations in this comprehensive plan.

     

    Re. San Bernardino RECE (Renewable Energy Conservation Element):

    • To act immediately to send Renewable Energy Policy 4.10 and RE 4.10.1, 4.10.2 and 4.10.3 to the County Planning Commission and to adopt these measures as they were presented on August 8, 2017. Here is the original language we support. These measures provide the best means of protection against utility scale renewable energy projects that would fundamentally harm the fabric of our communities. This suite of policies is essential in prohibiting utility scale renewable energy projects under the County’s jurisdiction that would create adverse impacts on our unincorporated communities’ quality of life or economic development.

     

    What can you do?

    * From this page on MBCA’s website you can print and/or download a letter to County Supervisors to both support the original language of RE Element section 4.10 and to request that the Supervisors oppose reopening the DRECP. Use the letter as presented or personalize your comments.

     

    * Attend BLM Scoping meeting to state opposition to reopening DRECP.

    WHEN: Thursday, March 1, 2018; 6:00 – 8:00pm

    WHERE: Joshua Tree Community Center – 6171 Sunburst Ave., JT

    (see Note below for additional details.)

     

    * Sign the petition at the MBCA table outside Joshua Tree Health Food store during the Saturday Farmers Market.

     

    * Join MBCA directors to reiterate these points during public comment period at the upcoming meetings of Supervisors to include your valuable voice as a voting constituent.

     

    WHERE & WHEN: JT Burke Govt. Center: March 13, March 20 - 10:00am.

     

    Note: Written comments should be sent to the BLM-California State Director, 2800 Cottage Way, Rm W-1623, Sacramento, CA 95825, or electronically to: BLM_CA_DRECP@blm.gov. All comments will be accepted in writing for 45 days after the publication of the notice in the Federal Register or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later. Website: https://www.blm.gov/california/drecp

     

    (MBCA’s suggested deadline to submit comments to BLM: March 21, 2018.

    The petition for your signature at the Farmers market includes a request to extend the 45-day comment period. We’ll inform you if the comment period extension is accepted.)

     

    2018 MBCA Annual Business Meeting and Program

    We had a great annual business meeting last Saturday. Here is a brief review. Thanks to all of you who attended and contributed. Special thanks to Jill Giegerich for her presentation: Introduction to Arid Lands Permaculture. We all left with a good sense of the principles of permaculture. Jill is an inspiration for cultivating a deeper appreciation and understanding of the forces of nature to inform our actions to design and nurture our landscapes.

     

    Membership: Time to renew

    2018 dues are due! It’s easy to initiate a membership or renew online. Your membership provides a reduced price of $5 for the upcoming April 28-29 Desert-Wise Landscape Tour.

     

    Ruth Denison Environmental Conservation Scholarship

    The 2018 – 2019 Ruth Denison Environmental Conservation Scholarship application period has opened.  Applicants must be a 2018 graduating Morongo Basin high school senior with a minimum GPA of 3.25 who is planning to prepare for employment in careers related to environmental or conservation work. The $500 scholarship will be awarded for the 2018-19 academic year. If you know someone who is eligible, please help us spread the word!

     

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Kennington, MBCA President

     

    Your 2017 MBCA Board

    David Fick, Vice President                       Steve Bardwell, Treasurer   

    Marina West, Recording Secretary           Pat Flanagan, Director

    Meg Foley, Director                                  Mike Lipsitz, Director

    Ruth Rieman, Director                              Claudia Sall, Director for Events

    Seth Shteir, Director                                  Laraine Turk, Director

     

    www.mbconservation.org

    MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment

    that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth

    and economic well-being.

     

    Add your reaction Share
  • Eblast January 8, 2018

    - MBCA Annual Business Meeting & Program – February 10, 2018

    - MBCA’s Palen Solar Project Comment letter

     

    Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

     

    Welcome to the New Year! MBCA Directors have already started the countdown to next year. 2019 will be MBCA’s 50th anniversary! We’re proud to remind you that MBCA is the earliest (isn’t that better than oldest?) conservation group in the Morongo Basin, having been incorporated in 1969. We’ll be preparing for what we hope to be a remarkable celebration of the legacy of conservation activism in the Morongo Basin.

     

    What else? Honestly I hope that we won’t repeat this year with what some have coined for 2017 - the Year of Comments.  Seems there was a constant drum beat - in practically every E-Blast – with announcements that comments were due to the BLM or County or another decision making entity. Deadline after deadline seemed the routine. I guess it goes with the territory. But, I for one would welcome a break in the consistency of needing to collect myself and alert you for “substantive comments.” We’ll see how that goes!

     

    2017 wasn’t an easy year for desert conservation. That’s a huge understatement given the reversal of environmental policy we’ve seen. Mounting pressures from those in Washington working to diminish national monuments, end the Antiquities Act, and starve National Parks for funding. That combined with the dramatic increase in visitation to public lands in the Mojave, along with a steep increase in Park entrance fees just doesn’t seem right. As a MBCA Advisor and others remind us, this is not “normal”! Let’s hope though that it doesn’t become “normal.” Make our New Year’s Resolution: threats to the public lands must STOP!  

     

    MBCA as a 501c3 organization cannot endorse a particular candidate for office. We can and will however ask candidates running for office for their positions on protecting public land and similar issues that relate to the MCBA mission. We intend to provide online candidate forums that you may use in evaluating candidates for state, federal and local positions.

     

    I applaud the editorial board of the Hi-Desert Star for their New Year Resolutions to Hi-Desert leaders (December 28, 2017). The Our View editorial page column included:  JTNP employees: to refuse to be bullied by climate change deniers into silence over the scientifically–proved phenomenon, which could have a catastrophic impact on the national park and the local economies.

     

    MBCA Annual Meeting and Permaculture Program: SAVE THE DATE!

    WHEN: Saturday, February 10, 2018

    WHERE: Center for Healthy Generations, Yucca Valley

    Although MBCA’s Annual Meeting is usually in January, it will be held on February 10 this year. This is when we review for our members and supporters our business and activities of the past year, look to the year ahead, collect membership dues, and present a topical program.

     

    Jill Giegerich has generously agreed to lead the program, "Introduction to Permaculture for Arid Lands." 

     

    MBCA sends comment on Palen Solar

    MBCA sent a comprehensive comment letter to the BLM regarding the Draft Supplemental EIR for the Palen Solar Power Project. We support the No Action Alternative “as the only alternative which will do no harm to the biological and cultural integrity of the landscape.” The detailed examination written by our scientist Board member Pat Flanagan described conflicts involving hydrology, biological resources, visual resources, and air quality. In the document you will find photography and maps that illustrate our position. Once again, Pat’s analysis and insights argue convincingly.

     

    MBCA Board: one Director returns from hiatus & one joins in new year

    Finally, we are pleased to announce the return of Seth Shteir to the Board. We are also delighted to announce the addition of Mike Lipsitz to the Board. Seth returns to the Basin having accepted a position in External Affairs at the Marine Base. We are fortunate to have him back with us with his invaluable insights into conservation in the Mojave desert. Many of you know Mike from his reporting at Z107.7. He has served as an Advisor to MBCA and now joins us with his many talents in communications and commitment to serve the community. It’s been said – I certainly do – that MBCA has a great board of directors! We are a true team and will continue our work to serve you and to keep the Basin the special place that it is.

     

    Yes, 2018 dues are due! It’s easy to initiate a membership or renew online:

    http://www.mbconservation.org/join_our_membership_2018

     

     

    Cheers,

     

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Kennington, MBCA President

     

    Your 2018 MBCA Board

    David Fick, Vice President                          Steve Bardwell, Treasurer  

    Marina West, Recording Secretary             Pat Flanagan, Director        

    Meg Foley, Director                                     Mike Lipsitz, Director

    Claudia Sall, Director for Events                 Ruth Rieman, Director

    Laraine Turk, Director                                 Seth Shteir, Director

     

    www.mbconservation.org

    MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment

    that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth

    and economic well-being.

     

    Add your reaction Share

See all Eblasts


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.