Eblast June 14, 2017

  • Ord Mountain Solar Project: comment by June 30
  • MDLT campaign for 29 Palms property “Indian Trail Head”: ends June 30
  • Healthy California Act, SB 562: Indivisible public forum, June 26
  • CA. Assembly supports state’s monuments: AJR-15, Federal public lands


Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

There are several events and campaigns MBCA Directors want you to know about. Including a huge solar project proposed for Lucerne Valley. Also, reminders of deadlines for public comment fast approaching. Thanks for your attention!

Ord Mountain Solar Project

Our conservation partners in the Lucerne Valley, Apple Valley, and Victorville areas are again sounding the alarm about another inappropriate industrial scale renewable energy project. This project consists of a 60 MW solar field and an electrical sub-station straddling Scenic Hwy 247 north of Lucerne Valley. An initial Study (IS) for this 484-acre project has been submitted to the County of San Bernardino. The owner of the project is Ord Mountain LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc. (Yes, the same NextEra that won approval to develop the Joshua Tree Airport solar project!) An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is to be prepared for this project under the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

A well-attended scoping session was held on June 13 in Lucerne Valley where residents clearly expressed their concerns about the project and described issues that must be addressed in the preparation of the EIR. Issues including dust and air quality degradation, conflict with well-defined desert wildlife linkages, loss of habitat for endangered species, loss of uninterrupted scenic vistas, and the ill effects on the Community of rural residents were stressed.  MBCA directors Pat Flanagan and Steve Bardwell attended the session and expressed MBCA’s concerns about this inappropriately sited renewable energy project.

Much concern was raised about the timing of this project given that the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (RECE) of the County’s General Plan is to be considered by the Board of Supervisors very soon, and this scale and type of project would be discouraged under the guidelines included within the current wording of this Element. This project has slipped between the cracks during the time that the RECE is being considered.

The EIR will include an analysis of the ‘Calcite’ Southern California Edison (SCE) sub-station that would serve to distribute power from this industrial scale solar installation to the grid for use outside of the Lucerne Valley area. This substation would also serve other industrial scale renewable energy developments that are planned on nearby state lands. During scoping session residents expressed their concern that this sub-station would open-the-door to many more industrial scale projects. You may recall the defeated Coolwater-Lugo energy project’s Jasper substation project. The ‘Calcite’ substation would be located on the same site.

Scoping comments are those comments about issues that must be considered with the preparation of the EIR. MBCA encourages its supporters to write to the County and express their concerns about this conversion of desert land into an industrial scale renewable energy project. This link connects to the County website and the initial study for this development:
Send comments before 4:30 PM, June 30th to: 
County of San Bernardino, Land Use Services Department
John Oquendo, AICP, Senior Planner
Snail mail: 15900 Smoke Tree Street, Suite 131, Hesperia, CA 92345

Healthy California Act, SB 562: Public forum
MBCA‘s mission includes supporting healthy desert communities. Indivisible Morongo Basin is hosting an event to inform Basin residents about the Healthy California Act, a single-payer health care initiative that recently made it through the California Senate. If it is successful and signed by the Governor this fall, it will be followed with a second bill to clarify the projected costs.
When: Monday, June 26, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Where: Yucca Room, Yucca Valley Community Center, 57090 29 Palms Hwy, Yucca Valley, CA.
For information and to RSVP, Indivisible MB Facebook page.
MDLT campaign: Scenery Worth Saving #Protect 62 - “Indian Trail Head” 
MDLT is working to purchase 40 acres in 29 Palms on the boundary of JTNP. A property threatened for inappropriate residential development located adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park. A key resource for JTNP neighbors and the City of 29 Palms tourism efforts with incredible views, dark sky experiences, important habitat and conservation features.
There is a short time frame to secure the sale, the end of June. The purchase price is $120,000. Supporters are welcome to donate on the MDLT web site via the Hwy 62 Linkage Campaign: Scenery Worth Saving and restrict the gift to the "Indian Trail Head". Deadline to contribute: June 30, 2017

California Assembly Joint Resolution AJR-15: Federal public lands
In response to President Trump’s executive order for a review of the country’s 27 national monuments, California legislators passed the Resolution AJR-15 to express their bi-partisan support of the national monuments in the state.

The measure urges the protection of federal public lands for their economic, historical, cultural, and ecological values and to honor and protect the integrity of all national monuments as they have been designated. The resolution also states support for the use of the Antiquities Act of 1906 by the President as a critical tool for protecting the public good by authorizing the designation of national monuments.

Makes us proud to be Californians! To the federal administration: keep your hands off our monuments!

REMINDER: Express support for the Desert National Monuments
The Mojave Desert Land Trust’s Desert Defender campaign: Protect our Desert National Monuments collects names and messages at this website to send to the Department of the Interior. Public comment period ends July 9th – it’s important to demonstrate your support and easy to do!

REMINDER: Letters in support for OHVRA SB 249 needed 
MBCA encourages you to call or email State Senators to ask for their support of the Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Act / SB 249. Find all the details you need at the ORV Watch/COW website.

That’s it for now. Never a dull moment, right! With your help, we’ll keep up the good work protecting the health of Basin humans, wildlife and the desert environment! 

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                                    Ruth Rieman, Director 
Claudia Sall, Director for Events                 Laraine Turk, Director


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