Add your reaction ShareGovernor Newsom today signed SB 307, a bill that requires that any water mining projects such as the Cadiz water project undergo new additional review processes to prove it will avoid environmental harm. Many thanks are owed to the many MBCA supporters who wrote comments and called the Governor's office in support of the bill. The Governor's letter approving SB 307 outlines the reasons for his action.
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Stop Cadiz: Call the Governor to sign SB-307!
SB-307 on Governor’s desk
The State Assembly overwhelmingly voted to pass SB-307 (Roth) and the bill is now on the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom for signing. It is vitally important that the Governor hear our voices and that we ask him to sign the legislation.
The office number is (916) 445-2841. You must first select a language (“1” for English, “2” for Spanish), then press “6” at the next menu to be transferred to a staffer. When a staffer answers, tell them: your name and where you live, and that you urge the Governor to sign SB 307.With Governor Newsom’s signature the controversial Cadiz water project will be subject to a thorough and desperately needed environmental review.
You can also email the governor's office using the web form provided on this website: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/. A phone call carries more weight, so please consider calling before sending an email.
Following your call, please take the time to email Chris Clarke of the National Parks Conservation Association at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know you've done so; it will help provide a sense of how many calls the governor's office is getting in support of the Bill.
I again offer my thanks to our many members and supporters for your activism in defense of our desert.
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
Add your reaction ShareAnother strong case is made in a July 12 opinion letter in the Desert Sun against the proposed Paradise Valley housing development of more than 20,000 residents on the south side of Joshua Tree National Park. The piece by Gail Wadsworth, executive director of the California Institute for Rural Studies, focuses on the unmet housing and support needs of rural communities near the proposed site and how the development would be detrimental rather than supportive for residents in those communities.
Add your reaction ShareA judge's decision on June 21 has reversed the BLM's 2017 ruling (which was itself a reversal of their prior decision) regarding the need for federal environmental review for the railroad right-of-way that relates to the Cadiz pipeline project. The next action is back in BLM's court. More details can be found in this Desert Sun article and with greater emphasis on the legal issues in this Courthouse News Service article. Prior news updates from MBCA on this and other water conservation-related news can be found on our "Water Issues" page.
Add your reaction ShareThe latest version of the Draft Countywide Plan was published this spring, and on June 17, the County published the Draft Environmental Impact Report for it, with a comment deadline of Thursday, August 15, 2019.
In response to the latest draft of the Countywide Plan, MBCA as an organization and several Board members as individuals signed onto a May 10 Coalition letter specifying three major concerns. 1) The Plan is not in line with the recently-adopted RECE 4.10 Policy relating to renewable energy developments in rural living areas; 2) most of the land in the proposed new "Resource/Land Management" zone is also incompatible with RECE 4.10; and 3) Community Action Guides should not replace the current community plans in unincorporated desert communities.
Here are the sections of the latest draft of the San Bernardino Countywide Plan:
Draft Policy Plan
Draft Land Use Plan
Plan Goals and Policy Matrix (for unincorporated communities, you can click on your community from this page to see the “Community Action Guides”)
The Draft EIR can be accessed online, and we have also provided the main sections here on our website.
DRAFT EIR for the San Bernardino Countywide Plan, June 2019:
Notice of Preparation, Scoping meeting sign-ins and comments
Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Data
Community and Municipal Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Draft EIR Title Page
Table of Contents
Introduction (includes scoping comments by site)
Project Description (lots of maps)
Environmental Analysis, Aesthetics
Environmental Analysis, Air Quality
Environmental Analysis, Biological Resources
Environmental Analysis, Cultural Resources
Environmental Analysis, Geology and Soils
Environmental Analysis, Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Environmental Analysis, Hazards and Hazardous Materials
Environmental Analysis, Hydrology and Water Quality
Environmental Analysis, Land Use and Planning
Environmental Analysis, Mineral Resources
Environmental Analysis, Noise
Environmental Analysis, Population and Housing
Environmental Analysis, Public Services
Responses from Native American Tribal Representatives
These additional sections are available on the County website:
DRAFT EIR APPENDICES
L1) Transportation Impact Analysis (Report)
L2) Transportation Impact Analysis (Appendices- Part 1)
L3) Transportation Impact Analysis (Appendices- Part 2)
L4) Transportation Impact Analysis (Appendices- Part 3)
L5) Transportation Impact Analysis (Appendices- Part 4)
Add your reaction ShareCalifornia Senate Bill 772, which would have provided a supportive policy for hydroelectric energy storage projects like the Eagle Mountain project, failed to pass a full Senate vote. The bill could be reintroduced next year. Read details in this Desert Sun article and in the pre-vote Los Angeles Times opinion piece against the bill.
1 reaction ShareWhile not directly supporting the Eagle Mountain hydropower and storage project, the passage of SB 772 would require California to support projects that would store energy as part of the state's plan to increase renewable energy production. The increasing amount of solar and wind energy is more than can be used as it is produced, so storage becomes more important to continue reducing non-renewable energy consumption. This in-depth article in the Los Angeles Times provides perspective from both industry and environmental perspectives.
Add your reaction ShareSenate Bill 307 passed through the California Senate and will next need approval in the Assembly to provide additional environmental review for groundwater transfers like the proposed Cadiz project. Read details about SB 307 from the Desert Sun.
Add your reaction ShareThe Daggett Solar project northeast of the Morongo Basin near Daggett and Newberry Springs proposes a five-and-a-half square mile array that would bring more damage than benefit to the area's residents and to the Mojave Desert. In MBCA's April 29, 2019 comment letter, Pat Flanagan outlines the issues and illustrates through photos and maps how the project is flawed despite proposed mitigations. Also noted as likely outcomes are a reduction in human quality of life, for reasons of fugitive dust with health consequences and reduced viewsheds affecting tourism. Potential damage to wildlife and birds, increased temperatures from heat island effects, and reduced panel effectiveness due to dust accumulation are other situations explored in the richly illustrated letter.
Add your reaction ShareMBCA has offered information and advice to Morongo Basin residents for several years concerning WEMO, the West Mojave BLM Land Use Management plan related to off-highway vehicle use. A lot of focused effort and detailed research was conducted a year ago by MBCA Board members Pat Flanagan, Sarah Kennington, and Steve Bardwell, along with many other Basin residents, to advise the BLM in the prior comment period of dozens of OHV "routes" that were untenable. In the recently-released West Mojave Route Network Project Land Use Plan Amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS), the hard work seems to have paid off and many of the targeted routes no longer exist in the Plan. An assessment and links for this final review can be accessed at the Community ORV Watch website.
For a visual representation and explanation of the Plan, see this one-page WEMO flier prepared for the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council by Pat Flanagan.
Additional explanation can be found in MBCA's May 13 EBlast:
The West Mojave Route Network Project Land Use Plan Amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) is now available for download. The deadline for protests is May 28, 2019. Our conservation partner, Community ORV Watch, has prepared a preliminary analysis of the recently released documents. The current mapping system uses an entirely web-based interface as opposed to the PDF maps that were utilized in the past. Our previous comments and efforts appear to have made a difference and many are reflected in Alternative 5, the BLM’s Proposed Action Alternative. Many of the short, discontinuous route segments within the checkerboarded communities in County Service Areas (CSAs) have now been designated as Street Legal Only. This is a good step towards controlling unwelcome and disruptive OHV use within CSAs communities although there continue to be routes in communities that are identified ‘Motorized, No Subdesignation’. This designation permits the use of any motorized vehicle (OHV, ATV, electric) within neighborhood communities that are accessible by traveling on County roads. OHVs driving on such routes are subject to the County’s OHV ordinance that the Sheriff's department and Code Enforcement will enforce.
We encourage you to study and digest the MANY documents and extremely detailed maps that have been posted on the BLM website.
Articles about MBCA's most recent issues of concern are listed below in chronological order. To read a series of articles about a particular issue, use the brown buttons above.
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