Landmark Exchange of Desert Lands Would Advance California’s Conservation and Clean Energy Goals

The California State Lands Commission (SLC) and the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are pursuing an exchange of state and federal lands in the California desert that will protect conservation lands and facilitate renewable energy development.

At a Lands Commission meeting today, the agencies signed a memorandum of intent for a proposed land exchange of approximately 61,000 acres of non-revenue generating lands in federal wilderness and other conservation areas for approximately 5,600 acres of federal lands with the potential for, or previously developed with, renewable energy facilities.

The lands are in San Bernardino, Inyo and Riverside counties and within the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) area. The California Energy Commission is part of a four-agency team that issued the draft DRECP in September 2014. The BLM is expected to release the DRECP Land Use Plan Amendment and Final Environmental Impact Statement later this year. The land exchange supports the DRECP goals to help protect and conserve desert ecosystems while facilitating appropriate renewable energy development.

“We are pleased to be standing with the State Lands Commission and Bureau of Land Management as they move forward with this important agreement,” said Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas. “These landmark exchanges will help the state and our federal partners advance our renewable energy and conservation goals in the California desert.”

The exchange has the added benefit of providing revenue for California’s retired teachers. Some of the lands were granted by Congress to California in 1853 and any revenue from the lands goes to support the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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