While Assembly Bill 1139 ("Net Energy Metering") contains provisions that support expansion of clean energy, especially to low-income customers, other provisions undercut those benefits. They add costs and reduce solar customer credit for extra energy they can send back to the grid. MBCA joined more than 30 organizations in signing a letter to insist on amendments that will continue to advance clean energy for low-income consumers.
Residents across the Morongo Basin have expressed concern about a proposed luxury camping development just off Old Woman Springs Road in Flamingo Heights. MBCA has sent a letter to the lead San Bernardino County contract planner emphasizing the need for a comprehensive Environmental Impact Report. A news story from local radio station KCDZ provides additional information.
MBCA is among 34 organizations signing a letter in support of AB 223 which would make it illegal to harvest Dudleya plants in California without a permit or landowner permission. Poaching of this native plant has increased greatly in recent years, and it needs protection against possible extinction. The plants are commonly known as "liveforevers" in California. Learn more at the Dudleya Protection page on the California Native Plant Society website.
MBCA features prominently in an article and photo series by the Desert Sun about the Auto Camp Airsteam Resort under construction in Joshua Tree. The news article title aptly describes the concern: Glamping company brings Airstreams to Joshua Tree. Can development and nature coexist? The article includes comments from MBCA President Steve Bardwell, and he and Board member Pat Flanagan are included in the photo series accompanying the article.
The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management in response to an action taken in the final days of the prior administration that would ease the path for the Cadiz Water Project. A right-of-way for the water mining scheme was granted without any public review. Read the news item by local radio KCDZ 107.7 and the press release from the Center for Biological Diversity for the latest information on this decade-long battle against draining important desert water reserves.
On February 17 the Department of the Interior revoked the eleventh-hour amendment to California's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan by the outgoing administration that would have greatly reduced protected lands. This Desert Sun article provides more history and details, and California Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas has released this statement of recognition and appreciation.
- Light Trespass Ordinance to be Considered by County
- Video of MBCA Annual Meeting Available
- Virtual Landscape Tour
- Check the MBCA Calendar for Online Events
This recent LA times article provides a great deal of background on myriad aspects of environmental concern related to energy development in the California desert. It explores federal and state political aspects as well as commentary from environmental non-profit groups, particularly as they relate to the previous administration's last-minute draft revision to California's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.
MBCA has kept our supporters informed since its inception about California's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). While we deemed its final land protections not ideal but acceptable (after eight years of intense debate and input), the current federal administration is seeking to reduce those protected lands. The Bureau of Land Management on January 13 released a draft environmental impact statement and plan amendment for the three plans that underlie the DRECP. These changes disregard conservation efforts by supporting massive solar projects, mining and natural resource extraction, rights-of-way, livestock grazing, and off-roading recreation. BLM is also proposing modifications to the California Desert National Conservation Lands to reduce the connections and impede on the wildlife corridors in these areas. This Desert Sun article provides more background and details. Please review the documents in the proposal and let the BLM know what you support and oppose. Public comment can be submitted until April 15, 2021.
The latest large-scale solar development proposed for a problematic desert location is Stagecoach Solar, proposed for the Lucerne Valley area. In this case we are pleased that many of our concerns about the project on behalf of east desert residents are mirrored by the two desert-area County Supervisors, District 3 Supervisor Dawn Rowe and District 1 Supervisor Robert Lovingood. As in MBCA's comment letter, issues mentioned in the Supervisors' letter include existing County land use policies (RECE 4.10 especially), damage to wildlife corridors, and impaired viewsheds. In another extremely detailed and comprehensive coalition letter signed by 67 associations, organizations, and individuals including MBCA, there are numerous carefully researched and verifiable arguments to show why the Stagecoach Solar project would create a cascade of human and environmental difficulties for the Lucerne Valley community, not the least of which is a breach of environmental justice.