Less than two weeks after the Trump administration threatened to scrap a major agreement that sought to protect millions of acres of the California desert by placing sensitive areas off-limits to industrial-grade solar- and wind-energy installations, the Bureau of Land Management has announced it will host public meetings to consider changes to the plan.
The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) covers more than 10.8 million acres, a large percentage in San Bernardino County. It was designed to guide renewable energy facilities to parcels where they are least likely to cause environmental damage.
The BLM said it will host eight public scoping meetings in the process to consider amending three land use plans that underlie the DRECP.
Only one meeting will be held in the High Desert. It is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Courtyard Marriott, 9619 Mariposa Road, Hesperia.
Others are planned for 5 p.m. Feb. 27 at Kerr-McGee Community Center, 100 W. California Ave., Ridgecrest; 6 p.m. March 1 at Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Ave., Joshua Tree; and 5 p.m. March 7 at UC Riverside’s Palm Desert Center Auditorium, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert. Those are the meetings closest to the High Desert.
On Feb. 2, the BLM issued a Notice of Intent initiating a 45-day public scoping period on the DRECP. Additional information about the public comment period is located at: www.blm.gov/california/DRECP.
The BLM encourages the public to provide input on how land designations identified as part of the DRECP process might affect development of solar, wind or other renewable energy resources. The comments will be used to help set the parameters, or scope, of the review of the land use plans.
The public scoping meetings provide the public with an opportunity to talk to resource specialists and submit written comments in person. Comments may also be submitted until March 22 to the BLM-California State Director, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-1623, Sacramento, CA 95825, or electronically to BLM_CA_DRECP@blm.gov.
The planning area covers approximately 22.6 million acres of both federal and non-federal land in seven counties: Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. The BLM will consider amendments to the California Desert Conservation Area, the Bakersfield Resource Management Plan, and the Bishop Resource Management Plan, it said in a news release.
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