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.
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
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.
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.
Co-authoring MBCA's comment letter with exceptional assistance on the development of data-rich maps was Brian Hammer, Professional Data/GIS Analyst and Adjunct Professor at Victor Valley College in the Agriculture and Natural Resource Department.
For additional background, read MBCA's June 2017 Scoping letter on the Ord Mountain project.
San Bernardino County RECE Policy 4.10: Supervisors vote 11.6.18
San Bernardino Co. Fire Protection District Service Zone FP-5 expansion
MBCA’s 50th Anniversary kick-off event: 1.26.2019
Dear MBCA Members and Supporters,
At long last the San Bernardino County Supervisors will consider the adoption of the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (RECE) section 4.10 at their November 6th meeting. They will choose between two disparate visions to determine the fate of our desert regions for generations. Their decision will define Renewable Energy development in rural residential (RL) communities.
On the Agenda of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Meeting will be "a public hearing to consider an amendment to the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (RECE) of the County General Plan. The proposed amendment would add the original Policy 4.10, a policy that would limit the areas where utility-oriented renewable energy projects will be permitted."
In late May, the San Bernardino County Planning Commission recommended to the Board of Supervisors that the original language of section 4.10 of the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element of the County Plan be retained rather than a variation that had been proposed by Land Use Services in 2017. Read our May 25, 2018 News Update for details on that vote. The original version of RECE 4.10 that the Planning Commission recommended (after extensive discussion) gives much greater protection to desert communities against inappropriate and/or excessive renewable energy projects compared to the LUS-recommended version that favors development.
Do the Supervisors stand behind the residents or the developers of industrial RE? This is our final opportunity to speak out in defense of rural communities!
The original version of RECE 4.10 embodies the perspective and wishes of many organizations and individuals across the high desert and reduces the chance that desert communities will be disadvantaged by a proliferation of large-scale renewable energy projects. There is however no certainty that the Supervisors will follow the Planning Commission’s recommendations in their final vote on RECE Policy 4.10.
WHAT: San Bernardino County Supervisors meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, November 6th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
San Bernardino County Government Center
385 N Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415
Via remote video-conference:
Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center
63665 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
The presence and voices of residents definitely made a difference in the decision Planning Commissioners reached in May. A strong showing for our position is once again critical to a good outcome! The developers’ interest will undoubtedly be present – community interests must be present to tip the balance. Each public speaker will have 3 minutes to present comments. Residents in the unincorporated rural communities – once again – must urge Supervisors to select the original language to protect our rural lifestyle and natural environment. This vote would, as per the rest of the RECE, still permit utility-scale projects in the rest of the unincorporated County.The alternative opens a very dangerous door to utility-scale RE development in our unincorporated communities.
To differentiate between the Community Values option being considered for 4.10 vs. the “Developer Wants” option for 4.10 – your comments to Supervisors on Nov. 6th could focus on:
- Small-Scale over the Large-Scale
- Local Use over the Remote Use
- Minimal Impact over the Maximum Impact
- Water is Life over the Water is for Wasting
- Clean Air over the Dust Storms
- Scenic Vistas over the Industrialized View
- Local Benefits over the Remote Benefits
- Reality version over the Fantasy Community Compatibility Report version
When the Supervisors vote, this strategy for comments will leave no doubt what side each Commissioner voted for! Utility scale RE is not compatible with rural residential communities!
MBCA Director Pat Flanagan has submitted an opinion letter to the Hi Desert Star in support of the original RECE 4.10. A similar piece has been published in the Victor Valley Daily Press by Lucerne Valley resident Neil Nadler. UPDATE 11/2/18: A comment letter from LVEDA, the Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association, has been sent to the Supervisors.
San Bernardino Co. Fire Protection District Service Zone FP-5
The recent vote approved the expansion of the boundaries of Service Zone FP-5 and increased assessment fees. This was proposed as the best way to generate needed revenues to maintain existing fire protection and emergency services. Each legal parcel within Service Zone FP-5 is assessed an annual parcel fee. The current assessment is set at $157.26/year, and can increase up to 3% each year.
How could November 6th be a more important day for the future of both our local communities and our Country? We care, we VOTE and we will make our opinions known to our County Supervisors!
A special note: MBCA will celebrate its 50th Anniversary working to protect our rural desert communities and environment in 2019. Please mark your calendars for Saturday, January 26, 2019 for what will be a stellar program with speakers of national stature at our Annual Meeting and Program. We will reflect on MBCA’s storied past and look forward to the next 50 years!
Sarah Kennington, President
Morongo Basin Conservation Association
Your 2018 MBCA Board
David Fick, Vice President Steve Bardwell, Treasurer
Marina West, Recording Secretary Pat Flanagan, Director
Meg Foley, Director Mike Lipsitz, Director
Ruth Rieman, Director Claudia Sall, Director
Seth Shteir, Director Laraine Turk, Director
MBCA advocates for a healthy desert environment
that nurtures the region’s rural character, cultural wealth
and economic well-being.
Excerpts from official San Bernardino County documents that show the County's past inclination to protect and support its communities have been collected in this document: SBC Documents Supporting Communities.
Learn more from an editorial statement in the Victor Valley Daily Press by Lucerne Valley resident Neal Nadler in support of the original RECE 4.10 and a comment letter from the Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association.