California may have a new fight on their hands soon, and this one is a big one. Following the reduction in protected lands in Bears Ears an Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments located in Utah, the Trump administration has their eye on some area in the state of California that is currently protected, but they believe is prime space to open up more land for energy development.
The warning California received was very similar to the one received in Utah when their protected land was taken away in order to provide both mining and drilling rights. The Federal Bureau of Land Management is looking at a few million acres located in a desert region in southern California. This area will fall in line with President Trump’s goals to increase the development of energy on public lands. A spokesperson fro the Interior Department stated that the goal is to reduce burdens on domestic energy development, this includes wind and solar along with any other renewables. Though she didn’t say it, this also increases access to public land for nonrenewable energy sources like grazing and mining. This could cause a big issue for the state of California. A law in the state requires that at least half of the states electricity must come from renewable sources by the year 2030, and that plan centers on the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) which balances that very desert area with a planned out development that will create 20,000 megawatts of both solar and wind energy.
This desert area in California is one of the biggest intact ecosystems in the entire country and his home to many plants and animals. The DRECP will cover roughly over 22 million acres of both public and private land that sits in seven different counties which includes Death Valley, Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park. President Trump is eyeing about 11 million acres of public land. The differences in space make little difference due to the fact that the DRECP focuses on clean energy and development while also developing recreation areas as well as conserving specific areas.
Comments on the issue will be accepted until March 19. It is uncertain what the future holds for this special area of California, but the state and national government clearly have very different ideas of what the land should be used for. California has made no bones about their dislike for President Trump and his policies and one would expect that this issue would be no different, likely ending in a lengthy battle. For more details on this issue, go to the Huffington Post.