EBlast January 16, 2021

  • Joshua Tree Candidacy as Threatened Status
  • Draft EIS for Amendment to DRECP Issued
  • Federal Energy Policy in Southern California
  • Check the MBCA Calendar for Online Events

Attend MBCA Annual Meeting and JPL Presentation
Make plans to attend MBCA’s 52nd annual meeting! Board members will be introduced and we will provide an overview of the past year’s many activities and causes we have been tracking as we advocate for the healthy desert. This brief overview will be followed by a presentation by Dr. Annemarie Eldering of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Carbon in our atmosphere is the topic.  Dr. Eldering is deputy, and lead scientist on NASA’s two Orbiting Carbon Observatory projects that are providing scientists with data on carbon dioxide's movements through earth's atmosphere, plants, and ocean, ultimately affecting our climate. With the effects of climate change due to CO-2 becoming ever more apparent, this presentation will provide an overview of the changes our atmosphere is undergoing. Following the presentation will be a question and answer session. There is a limit of 100 reservations available for this free Zoom event so please be certain to REGISTER HERE by Friday, January 22. 

         Date: January 23, 2021

         Time: 10:00 am thru 11:30am

Joshua Tree Candidacy as Threatened Status
On December 10, 2020 the California Fish and Game Commission voted to adopt via emergency rulemaking two separate 2084 regulations that would authorize "take" (removal, killing) of western Joshua trees. The California Office of Administrative Law approved these two emergency regulations on December 28, 2020. These regulations cover hazard trees (regulation 749.11) and Single Family Homes (not single family home developments), Accessory Structures and Public Infrastructure (regulation 749.12). This last regulation delegates authority to the City of Palmdale, the Town of Yucca Valley and the County of San Bernardino and before enactment of the regulation each local jurisdiction must pass an ordinance that both better protects Joshua trees and provides for mitigation fees to compensate for any impacts that are not avoided. The County of San Bernardino has established a procedure to be followed for granting a permit on any parcel that may have Joshua trees.

Draft EIS for Amendment to DRECP Issued
We are disappointed to see that A Desert Plan Amendment / Draft Land Use Plan Amendment/ Environmental Impact Statement to the DRECP has been published in the Federal Register as of January 15, 2021. This unilateral action by the BLM in the final days of the Trump administration would drastically reduce the acreage of many Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and reduce protections to the desert achieved over an eight year process that, as stated by Senator Dianne Feinstein: “seeks to balance renewable energy development and recreational uses with protecting ecologically sensitive, pristine parts of California’s iconic desert landscape. There is no need to amend it now.” It is hoped that the incoming administration will withdraw the proposed amendment. MBCA along with many other conservation organizations are continuing to monitor this application.

This publication commences a 90-day comment period ending in mid-April. MBCA will provide more detailed information in the near future to help you comment against the proposed changes.

Federal Energy Policy in Southern California
The University of California Riverside, Center for Environmental Research and Technology (UC-CERT) is presenting a seminar on the Biden administration’s planned federal energy policy. Attend and hear about proposals for the transformation of our energy generation to wind and solar renewables. Past presentations by UCR-CERT for creating a ‘Solar Valley’ within the Inland Empire have included anticipation for utility scale renewables within the Southern California desert.  With so many utility scale renewable developments in the Lucerne Valley being contingent on the construction of the Calcite Substation, the environmental and social justice impacts of these developments must be carefully considered. MBCA continues to advocate for the placement of renewables within the built environment and close to the point of use to maintain the integrity of the intact desert ecosystem. REGISTER HERE for this free seminar.

         Date: February 11, 2021

         Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

Check the MBCA Calendar for Online Events
We continue to post community events of likely interest to MBCA supporters on our Calendar. Check the MBCA Calendar of Events regularly for many interesting virtual lectures and webinars.

Become a 2021 MBCA Member
Please support MBCA’s efforts to “advocate for the healthy desert environment that nurtures the region's rural character, cultural wealth and economic well-being” by becoming a member or making a donation (or both!). New members and donors will receive a copy of our 50thAnniversary Book.  

I wish all our members and supporters a very Happy New Year and a Healthy and Safe 2021. I am hopeful that the incoming administration while recognizing the urgency of addressing climate change will balance the imperative of transitioning to a clean and renewable energy infrastructure with the need to defend and protect our environment.


Steve Bardwell

Your MBCA Board:

Steve Bardwell, President
David Fick, Vice President
Cathy Zarakov, Treasurer
Laraine Turk, Secretary
Pat Flanagan, Director
Meg Foley, Director

Brian Hammer, Director
Janet Johnston, Director
Sarah Kennington, Director
Mike Lipsitz, Director
Arch McCulloch, Director
Ruth Rieman, Director

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