Plan Moves Desert Renewable Energy and Conservation Forward
A significant step for renewable energy and land conservation was reached this week with the release of the public lands component of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment would implement the DRECP across 10 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the Southern California desert.
The DRECP is an innovative, landscape-scale planning effort covering 22.5 million acres in seven California counties. The plan provides for the protection and conservation of fragile desert ecosystems while identifying focus areas for renewable energy development in support of California’s long-term renewable energy and climate change goals.
“The state of California has worked closely for years with the U.S. Department of the Interior to reach this milestone,” said California’s Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird. “We salute our federal partners for this achievement. This foundational plan allows conservation, recreation and renewable energy development to fit together in a durable, balanced way.”
The BLM public lands component is the first phase of the DRECP. The second and final phase centers on private lands and aligning federal, state and county planning efforts for renewable energy and conservation.
“Having the federal component of the DRECP in place will be tremendously valuable as we continue to work with the counties and our state and federal agency partners on Phase II,” said California Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas. “By providing certainty for development and conservation across approximately 10 million acres of public land, the BLM has set a strong foundation for achieving the broader vision of the DRECP.”
Phase II will shift to working with counties in the plan area. Counties are critical to the DRECP goals since they have primary land use and permitting authority on private lands. The outreach to the counties builds off an effort funded in part by Energy Commission grants.
The release of the proposed plan starts a 30-day review period. A webinar is scheduled for November 19 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. to present DRECP concepts and changes between the draft and final plans.
More information is at www.drecp.org.