LA Times Editorial on RECE 4.10 and MBCA Director Response

On March 11 the Los Angeles Times published an editorial titled "Green power runs up against desert conservation in California," a response to the San Bernardino County Supervisors' vote in favor of RECE 4.10. As MBCA supporters know, RECE 4.10 offers protection to rural desert communities from large-scale renewable energy developments. While the Times editorial in part acknowledges the needs of rural desert communities, it concludes by saying that California needs both rooftop and large-scale energy developments. A response by MBCA Director Pat Flanagan provides detailed reasons for why inappropriately-placed large-scale projects in the desert can harm rural communities.  The photo illustrates a dust storm in Joshua Tree near a solar field just west of Copper Mountain College.  
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Renewable Energy Policy 4.10 Adopted by Supervisors

Justifying the long-term resolve and perseverance of desert residents communicating with their elected representatives, San Bernardino's Supervisors voted 4-1 to adopt the Renewable Energy Conservation Element policy 4.10 on February 28. The policy prohibits utility-scale renewable energy developments in the County's desert areas with Community Plans in place and in Rural Living zones. Quoted in the Los Angeles Times article about the RECE 4.10 vote, Supervisor Robert Lovingood said residents "spoke clearly about what they want to see."

MBCA is grateful to the dozens of residents who have taken time to make public comments in writing and in person over the course of almost two years to work toward this positive outcome. Here is the local news coverage at the Hi Desert Star and KCDZ radio. More information can also be found in this San Bernardino Sun article. For more background you can use the Search feature at the top of this webpage to find prior MBCA News and EBlasts about RECE 4.10 by using RECE as the keyword.

If you wish to watch the video of the February 28 Supervisors meeting you can see some of the key testimony for RECE Policy 4.10 as follows:

Robin Kobaly at 1:32
Pat Flanagan at 2:13
Sarah Kennington at 2:59
David Fick at 3:01
Claudia Sall at 3:24
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EBlast February 26, 2019


  • San Bernardino County RECE Policy 4.10: Supervisors to vote on 2.28.19
  • MBCA 50th and Energy Summit information now on-line
  • Applications now being accepted for the 2019-2020 Ruth Denison scholarship

Supervisors Schedule Special Meeting on RECE 4.10

We strongly encourage your attendance in San Bernardino this Thursday February 28, when the Board of Supervisors, after much delay and with much anticipation, will consider and vote on this vitally important issue. The adoption of the original 4.10 language by the Board of Supervisors would offer some protection to rural living zoned properties (RL) and desert communities located within existing community plan areas. However, there is new language that would weaken the original 4.10 intention, from our perspective. Read the added language of Exceptions and Amendments. This seems to offer a potential road map for developers to circumvent the intention of the original 4.10. As a point of information, while 4.10 has been under deliberation, the County has accepted 5 applications for industrial scale solar projects! It is important to let your voice be heard in defense of our Communities!

The meeting will be held in the Temporary Covington Chambers, 1st floor, of the County Government Center in San Bernardino. In the official notice of the meeting, note that video conferencing of the meeting will be available in Joshua Tree at the Bob Burke Government Center at 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway Joshua Tree, CA 92252, and at the Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center 15900 Smoke Tree Street, Hesperia 92345.

February 28, 2019 at 10am

San Bernardino County Government Center
Temporary Covington Chambers, 1st floor
385 N Arrowhead Ave
San Bernardino, CA 92415

Google map and directions

MBCA 50th and Energy Summit information now on-line

Thanks to all who attended our 50th anniversary meeting and Energy Summit. Our keynote speakers, S. David Freeman and Angelina Galiteva, and afternoon session panelists, Frazier Haney, Vanessa Moreno, Jack Thompson and Marinna Wagner provided inspiring visions for the future. See some of the presentations now published on our website here. We will post a link to a video recording of the entire meeting in the near future

Applications now being accepted for the 2019-2020 Ruth Denison scholarship

Please spread the word about this scholarship that will be presented in May to a Morongo Basin graduating high school student. This will be the third year we have granted this award to a student planning to pursue a career in environmental or conservation work. Through this award, MBCA hopes to foster the next generation conservation leaders. The requirements, and application can be found on our website here.


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             Seth Shteir, Director


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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.

Keynote speakers Angelina Galiteva and S. David Freeman were described as "impressive" and "challenging" speakers.
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


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


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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