By Deb Murphy
The final Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan was released Tuesday by state and federal officials. Out of the 10 million acres of California’s desert across seven counties from Inyo to San Diego and Imperial managed by the Bureau of Land Management, 5.3 million will be set aside for conservation, 3.8 million for recreation while 388,000 acres will be identified as development zones.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Phase 1 of the DRECP Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The Final included significant changes to the draft EIS.
One of those changes, identified by The Desert Sun in Indio, is the status of Searles Lake area, on the border of San Bernardino and Inyo counties. The area, north of Kramer Junction, has be added as a development zone.
A press release issued by the Bureau of Land Management included a statement from Secretary Jewell. “The plan will facilitate clean energy development, create new jobs while cutting carbon pollution. This strategy provides effective protection and conservation for wildlife, recreation and cultural resources, while encouraging streamlined renewable energy development in the right places.”
This is Phase I of the DRECP, studying only public lands. Phase 2 will deal with privately held land
As of Tuesday afternoon, Inyo County Planning Director Josh Hart hadn’t had time to digest the 2,000-plus page document.