For Immediate Release, March 10, 2015
Contact: Ileene Anderson, (323) 654-5943, email@example.com
Center for Biological Diversity Statement on Bifurcated DRECP Process
Undermines Coordinated Renewable Energy Planning in California's Deserts
Just three weeks after the public comment deadline closed, the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan’s state and federal partners are diverging.
The Bureau of Land Management is moving forward with the public lands portion of this important blueprint for the state’s energy future, leaving behind the state and counties for now. Important conservation components of the plan will be delayed, including the Natural Communities Conservation Plan at the state level and the General Conservation Plan at the federal level. Both of these are meant to safeguard species habitat while guiding expedited permitting of industrial solar projects.
“This divergence from the original goal of a coordinated plan for renewable energy in the California deserts is unacceptable,” said Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The BLM piece is cluttered with proposals focused on locking in more off-road areas, which are often at odds with the DRECP’s conservation goals.
“Under the coordinated process, conservation rollbacks were proposed, including reduced conservation requirements to compensate for habitat affected by new large-scale solar projects. But conservation rollbacks for a BLM-only plan are indefensible.
“We urge the BLM, state and counties to take a timeout and make the DRECP whole again,” said Anderson.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 825,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.