EBlast July 22, 2019

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Control the spread of Sahara Mustard
Paradise Valley Development Threatens Joshua Tree National Park
Stop Eagle Crest Energy!
Stop Cadiz! SB-307 on Governors desk
Countywide Plan comments due August 15

Control the spread of Sahara Mustard

MBCA with conservation partners at The Tubb Canyon Conservancy (http://www.tubbcanyondesertconservancy.org/), have waged a fight since 2011 against Sahara Mustard, an invasive interloper. It has become apparent that the scale of the problem has exceeded any potential to eradicate this non-native plant either manually or using herbicides. We have come to understand the need for a biologic-control agent - a natural predator – to be developed and employed to fight this invasive. U.S. Representative Susan Davis (San Diego, CA-53) has prepared a letter (draft version here) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) urging designation of this plant as a top-priority target weed for bio-control. Our local representative, Paul Cook (CA-8), has signed onto this letter. Please contact his office in Washington (202) 225-5861) before July 25thexpressing your support and thanks for his position.

Stop the Paradise Valley Development

MBCA is tracking Riverside County’s processing of the application for this huge and grossly inappropriate development. It would place a new town of 20,000 to 25,000 residents including 1,380,000 square feet of commercial development, directly on the southern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park. As of this writing, the Riverside County Planning Commission has yet to place this matter on the agenda of the August 21, 2019 meeting, however it is anticipated that it will be heard at that time. Another excellent editorial published in the Desert Sun on July 13, 2019 presents additional reasons to deny approval for this development. Watch this space for updates and action alerts!

Stop Eagle Crest Energy

Good News!Our voices have contributed to the defeat of SB-772 where it failed to pass the State Senate!

Surrounded by Joshua Tree National Park, the existing pits of the now abandoned Eagle Mountain Mine are proposed to be re-purposed into a pumped-hydro long term bulk energy storage facility. With precious water pumped from the underlying aquifer, the Eagle Crest Energy project would have been paid for by us: the ratepayers. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) found that long-term bulk energy storage, as defined by SB-772, would have increased costs for ratepayers “in the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars”!

While the Eagle Crest Energy project has not been defeated, with the defeat of SB-772 the likelihood of completion ofthis ill-advised and damaging project has been dealt a severe blow.

Stop Cadiz! SB-307 on Governors desk

Good news!On July 1, 2019 the State Assembly voted to pass SB-307. The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsome for signing. SB-307 (Roth) would prohibit the use of a water conveyance facility to transfer water from a groundwater basin underlying desert lands unless the State Lands Commission, in consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Water Resources finds that the transfer will not adversely affect the natural or cultural resources of the land. With this passage, the controversial Cadiz water project will now be subject to thorough and desperately needed environmental review.

Countywide Plan comments due August 15

MBCA directors and supporters arecrafting comments on the Countywide Plan draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIR) in anticipation of the August 15, 2019 deadline for comments. Our June 21, 2019 news update provides links to the many documents that the County has released. The coalition comment letter linked within the update provides insights on how to substantially comment upon and tackle this daunting yet vitally important report.

Thank you to our many members and supporters for your vigilance, tenacity and activism in support of our precious desert environment. I am proud to be a part of this community!

Sincerely,

Steve Bardwell President
Morongo Basin Conservation Association

Your 2019 MBCA Board
Steve Bardwell, President                          Pat Flanagan, Director       
David Fick, Vice President                         Meg Foley, Director
Laraine Turk, Recording Secretary             Mike Lipsitz, Director
Marina West, Treasurer                             Ruth Rieman, Director
Sarah Kennington, Past President             

 


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