Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan
Pulverized By Public At Victorville Meeting
•  High Impact To Newberry Springs  •

Over several hundred people caused standing room only at the Victorville DRECP public meeting.

Governmental agencies challenged on faulty planning.

November 1, 2014

      A well prepared audience, particularly from Lucerne and the Morongo Valley, packed the public meeting venue at the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville last Wednesday, October 29, 2014.

      The topic was the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) which is an unwieldy 6-thousand plus page plan by the California Energy Commission, the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to regulate 22.5-million acres of federal and non-federal California desert land in seven counties, including Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego.  The purpose is to set aside solar, wind, and geothermal sites to fast-track renewable energy developments with minimal environmental review and oversight.

      The DRECP is part of President Barack Obama's legacy to rapidly expand alternative energy installations.  The Administration's goal of streamlining the regulatory process is like the Ford Motor Company's institution of the assembly line, whereby large scale alternative energy projects can be quickly placed into preselected sites where developers can better predict their costs and timelines, as federal and state environmental protections have already been predetermined.  The plan is posed to limit time consuming lawsuits that seek adherence to environmental laws.

      At the Victorville public meeting, a number of alternative plans were presented.  The Preferred Development Focus Areas are shown in red, and includes much of Newberry Springs.  The adjacent (clickable to enlarge) map is only a very tiny portion of the DRECP's 22.5-million acres but shows most all of Newberry Springs being targeted for its rural disturbed land.

      Disturbed also were the hundreds attending the meeting, with over 50 people speaking on the errors and ommissions contained within the recently released plan and the outdated and false assumptions contained within the study.

      The problematic plan is being driven by Washington politics.  To understand, in small part, how bad this plan actually is, click here for an excellent October 23, 2014 KCET Commentary describing this horrendous project that the County of San Bernardino has embedded itself with.

      Much of the targeted land in Newberry Springs is county controlled and zoned Rural Living.  Although a Newberry Springs resident has asserted before the county's Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors that the county's alternative energy ordinance should protect Rural Living zoned land from the blight of industialized solar and wind projects, the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors have backed the county's morally corrupt and inept Land Use Services Department's recommendation in not doing so.  This appears to be solely to allow Land Use Services to continue to dominate inappropriate power over the privately held residential parcels.

      This has set a chilling effect over the financial value of Rural Living zoned properties that has depressed real estate values as no one knows if a huge industrial solar complex or 600-foot wind towers might be built on adjacent parcels.  Real estate brokers are required to disclose such significant problems to potential buyers.

      Placement of industrial solar and wind do create temporary jobs, many for those residing outside San Bernardino county; and they do temporarily boost the economy of nearby towns with lodging and food for the workers; however, industrial alternative power facilities are largely exempt from property taxes and they depreciate the value of adjacent and nearby parcels for residential use and scar the landscape for tourism.

      The state of California, under Visit California, spends many millions of dollars each year promoting tourism.  A portion of that money is directed to the Inland Empire to attract tourists to the wide open deserts and their scenic vistas.  Tourism represents a growing, significant on-going revenue stream to the county.  Industrialized alternative energy projects do not; rather, they are highly counterproductive to tourism.

      Despite the sheer magnitude of the DRECP and its potentially devastating impact upon Newberry Springs, and despite many media stories about the upcoming October 29, 2014 public meeting in Victorville, the Newberry CSD board at its October 28 general board meeting, did not seem to be aware of what DRECP stood for.  This is despite the fact that the plan has been worked on for seven years.  And the Blotter doing a blog on it on April 20, 2013 (link below).

      The narrators at the public discussion in Victorville repeatedly commented that public input was welcomed and valued; however, words from the podium throughout the meeting sounded like sales pitches and not an open mind to the many flaws contained within the plan.

      Pictured (left) is Barstow resident Bob Conaway, who as a public speaker called the DRECP a sham that would likely be approved by low level government employees fearing for their jobs.

      The DRECP comprises the majority of San Bernardino county's desert and includes much of the First and Third Supervisor Districts.  The two supervisor seats are held by Supervisors Robert A. Lovingood and James Ramos who have voted inconsistantly on protecting the desert, its residents, viewscapes, habitat, and following the laws of CEQA.

      The preferred alternate plan does involve much less land than the other alternatives and does remove much of the Bureau of Land Management's land from development; but the development emphasis is shifted to private county land.  With the Land Use Services Department fully supporting the fraud contained in the county's San Bernardino County Partnership for Renewable Energy & Conservation (SPARC) plan; and with the unpredictability of the Board of Supervisors standing-up for the citizens of the county, there is reason not to sleep well.

Newberry Springs Community Alliance

Related past blogs:
Federal & State "Conservation Plan" guts environmental protections. -  4/20/13

Click here to "Like,"
contribute info, or share on:
Newberry Springs

Follow us on Twitter and
be notified of new stories:
Newberry Springs Community Alliance