MBCA Comments on Calcite Solar Project in Lucerne Valley

Among the numerous proposed solar projects in the Lucerne Valley and Newberry Springs area northwest of the Morongo Basin is the Calcite Solar Project. On February 22 MBCA sent scoping comments to San Bernardino County Land Use Services expressing concerns about likely negative impacts of this project. The comment letter emphasizes the cumulative effects of this project with three other nearby proposed projects: Ord Mountain Solar, Calcite Transmission unit, and the Siena Solar Project. Areas of concern include air quality and soils, aesthetics, and biological resources. The letter contains excellent data-rich maps once again provided by Brian Hammer and a paper by Robin Kobaly explaining the importance of underground biological entities that are critical to the survival of desert plants. 
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50th Anniversary Energy Summit Report

Nearly 100 Morongo Basin residents attended MBCA's 50th Anniversary Energy Summit on January 26 in Yucca Valley.

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Keynote speakers Angelina Galiteva and S. David Freeman were described as "impressive" and "challenging" speakers.
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Dr. Galiteva described the growing number of renewable energy achievements in California, noted in the Event Summary and illustrated in her PowerPoint slides. Mr. Freeman strongly emphasized that citizens must advocate for legislation demanding changes to move quickly toward 100% renewable energy.

The afternoon panel of four regional conservation leaders each described their organization's goals that are - in different ways - focused on desert preservation, environmental education, and climate change awareness. Links to their PowerPoint slides can also be found within the event summary below.

Here is the You-Tube video of all the speakers and a timecode list to point to each speaker. Thanks to Bob Stephenson for the video and to Steve Bardwell for producing the time-stamp table.

Here are some evaluation responses from those attending:
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State Assembly District 42 Survey

The Morongo Basin's State Assemblyman Chad Mayes (District 42) is requesting that residents complete an online survey about their interest in state issues. There is no indication of how long the survey will be available, but here is the survey link.
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Riverside Planning Commission Postpones Paradise Valley Discussion

The Mojave Watch news site reports that the Riverside County Planning Commission has postponed discussion of Paradise Valley, a brand-new community proposed for development on the southern edge of Joshua Tree National Park. The development will next appear on their agenda May 15, 2019. Read the January 30 Mojave Watch news post for more details on the danger to Park ecology posed by such a development, along with information from National Parks Conservation Association representative Chris Clarke. Additional background can be found in this earlier post about the project at Mojave Watch.
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Supervisors to Vote on RECE 4.10 on February 28

In an interview on local radio station KCDZ FM on Friday, January 18, Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe announced that the County Supervisors will hold a special meeting to vote on the RECE 4.10 with full Board attendance on Thursday, February 28, 2019. She also stated she will vote for the version recommended by the Planning Commission, which is the version MBCA supports. For the most recent recap of the issue, please read our January 15 EBlast.

Read the official notice of the February 28 meeting for more details. Video conferencing of the meeting will be available at the usual sites including Joshua Tree's Bob Burke Government Center in Joshua Tree. 
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EBlast January 15, 2019

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Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

As a MBCA supporter, you know we have been working diligently with San Bernardino County to steer renewable energy policy. After numerous delays, the County Board of Supervisors appear to have finally set the date to cast their votes on Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (RECE) section 4.10 to ban utility-scale renewable projects in areas zoned RL and in areas covered by existing community plans. Once again, it is critical that the Supervisors hear from residents in protection of our rural life style and the environment. The message is simple and clear: Follow the Planning Commission’s recommendation that Policy 4.10 be made part of the county’s Renewable Energy and Conservation Element.  

NOTE: A video of the County's May 24 Planning Commission meeting focused on RECE 4.10 is available courtesy of the Newberry Springs Community Alliance. The video on their RECE 4.10 page is augmented by a detailed chronology of actions, speakers, and commentary. The video itself may not be playable on all platforms, but the speakers list and commentary about the proceedings make it quite informative.

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Eblast January 3, 2019

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Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,

Happy New Year! 

A very good way to break into 2019 is to renew our commitment to the stewardship of the desert environment and our rural communities. Please join us on Saturday, January 26, 2019 for the MBCA Annual Meeting and Energy Summit. This will be a stellar program with keynote addresses from two nationally-recognized experts in renewable energy and public policy, followed by a panel discussion with local environmental leaders: “Vision for the next 50 years.” If you haven’t already, mark your calendars!

The Energy Summit will launch a year of activism and events as MBCA celebrates its 50th! MBCA is the Basin’s oldest conservation-based organization and is still going strong! We will reflect on MBCA’s storied past and landmark victories and will look forward to the next 50 years.

WHERE: Yucca Valley Community Center
             57090 Twentynine Palms Highway Yucca Valley, CA 92284
WHEN: 10AM – 2PM

Detailed information on MBCA’s 50th Anniversary Energy Summit, including speaker bios, can be found at the Event page on our website.

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JTNP History and the Minerva Hoyt Award

The Minerva Hoyt Desert Conservation Award honors the wealthy Pasadena socialite who became enamored with desert plants in the 1920's and 30's and then tenaciously advocated for preservation of Mojave Desert lands. Official designation of Joshua Tree National Monument occurred in 1936. Enjoy KCET's comprehensive article chronicling how Joshua Tree National Park became a mecca for millions of visitors seeking to experience the intriguing plants and animals, wide open spaces, and dark night skies the desert provides. Read more about the Minerva Hoyt Award (nominations for the 2018 award are due by January 11, 2019) on the website of the Joshua Tree National Park Association.
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State Agency Concerned Over Cadiz Water Project

In a letter to Cadiz CEO Scott Slater, California's Department of Fish and Wildlife expressed concerns about the possible effects of the Cadiz Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project on the ecological health of the Bonanza Springs area north of the proposed project. Concerns center on the environmental and hydrologic studies completed for the existing Environmental Impact Report. For more details read recent online articles in The Desert Sun and Mojave Watch and on local radio station KCDZ
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MBCA Asks Rep. Cook to Support the Land and Water Conservation Fund

MBCA has submitted a letter to Congressman Cook asking him to support reauthorization of the recently-expired but critical and long-standing Land and Water Conservation Fund. Support for public lands conservation and recreation across California including areas of the Mojave Desert have benefited from the fund since its inception in 1965.  
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