Stop Cadiz: Call the Governor to sign SB-307!
SB-307 on Governor’s desk
As noted in our July 22 EBlast, MBCA signed on to support an effort by the Tubbs Canyon Conservancy to urge the USDA Agricultural Research Service to develop a biologic control agent for the incredibly invasive Sahara Mustard that plagues the southwest United States. On July 26 an official request to designate Sahara mustard as a top priority target weed for developing biologic control was sent to the USDA/ARS with the support of 10 U.S. Representatives including our Congressman Paul Cook.
- Control the spread of Sahara Mustard
- Paradise Valley Development Threatens Joshua Tree National Park
- Stop Eagle Crest Energy
- Stop Cadiz! SB-307 on Governors desk
- Countywide Plan comments due August 15
Another 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.
A 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.
The 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.Read more
California 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.
While 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.
Senate 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.
The 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.