Action Alert: Protect our national parks, wilderness and other sensitive lands by attending the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Meeting in Ontario, California on April 26, 2012!

posted Apr 20, 2012, 9:33 AM by JTCA Contact   [ updated Apr 20, 2012, 9:43 AM ]

Please join California Desert Coalition and the National Parks Conservation Association for a free ride to the meeting! See details below!

Dear Friends,

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan is a comprehensive process to identify which lands in the California desert should be protected and which lands will be open to renewable energy development. This renewable energy plan will have profound impact on the character of our communities and the ecological integrity of our national parks, wilderness and other protected areas. On April 26, 2012, stakeholders will be able to review different scenarios for renewable energy development in the California desert and make public comments to better protect the communities and lands we love.

Several of the proposed alternatives will highlight opportunities for protecting recreational opportunities and plant and animal habitat in the California desert while other alternatives will be focused on maximizing renewable energy development. We want desert residents to let decision makers know that we care about our desert lands, will support alternatives that maximize conservation and will oppose renewable energy in inappropriate areas. (Please see attached talking points.)

California Desert Coalition and the National Parks Conservation Association invite the public to reserve a seat on a 12 passenger van we are renting to drive to this event. Please send Seth Shteir an e-mail (sshteir@npca.org) to reserve your place! Spaces available on a first come, first served basis!

Have a great weekend!

Respectfully,
Ruth Rieman
California Desert Coalition

Seth Shteir
National Parks Conservation Association

NPCA Van Information:

The Van will leave from NPCA office (61325 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Suite D- Joshua Tree, CA) at 11:00am and will return to Joshua Tree at approximately 8:30pm on April 26, 2012. Attendees are encouraged to bring a bag lunch and are welcome to eat on our way to the meeting!

Meeting Location:

Ontario Convention Center (Please see directions at www.ontariocc.com/ontario/directions)

Meeting Agenda:

1:15 – 2:45 pm Develop Summary of the Concurrent Interactive Breakout Sessions for presentation to the full DRECP Stakeholder meeting
2:45 – 3:00 pm Break
3:00 – 4:00 pm Summary presentations from breakout sessions
4:00 – 4:30 pm Public Comment

Desert Renewable Energy Plan Talking Points:

  • We support the alternative (The alternative will be identified at the meeting) that protects the core of the Mojave Desert by connecting national park units and wilderness with other conservation lands. These lands are the connective tissue of the California desert that ensures the ecological health of her wildlife and plant populations. This alternative also focuses development on previously disturbed lands and near existing transmission corridors.
  • Multiple stakeholders, environmental groups and land management agencies have made significant conservation investments in the proposed Sand to Snow National Monument and surrounding region. A grassroots campaign to raise the awareness about the value of these conservation lands led to the defeat of the ill conceived Green Path North project. This broad based effort should be honored in regional land use planning and therefore these lands are not appropriate for renewable energy development.We support the protection of critical wildlife corridors and natural processes between Joshua Tree National Park and the Palen-McCoy and Chuckwalla Wildernesses. Additionally, we urge the preservation of air quality and scenic viewsheds beyond these sensitive areas’ designated boundaries.
  • We support the protection of all lands identified in the proposed California Desert Protection Act of 2011. The aforementioned designated lands should be excluded from renewable energy development.
  • We urge the selection of an alternative that protects the character and recreational tourism economies of gateway communities throughout the California desert. Renewable energy development has the potential to adversely impact recreational opportunities, air quality, scenic viewsheds, ecological corridors and rare and sensitive species- the very things that attract tourists to the California desert. A thorough study and analysis of how renewable energy will impact recreational tourism in the California desert must be included in this plan.
  • New ACECs should be created that permanently protect sensitive habitats like sand transport corridors, riparian habitats, wildlife habitat, wildlife corridors, cultural resources and recreational opportunities. Any plan must further identify sensitive areas and permanently protect these fragile resources.
  • National Park and wilderness viewsheds must be protected from renewable energy development outside the boundaries of these protected areas. Viewshed protection must not only be oriented inside the boundaries of a national park or designated wilderness, but consideration must be given to viewsheds beyond their boundaries.
  • More research must be conducted on desert soils and soil crusts as a carbon sink to better understand the role of natural desert processes related to climate change. These soils may be a considerable carbon sink to offset increased CO2 levels and therefore blading or destroying these soil processes diminishes our ability to buffer ourselves from the worst impacts of climate change. (Look up research by Lynn Fenstermaker of University of Nevada).
  • More research is needed on the ecological value of riparian and wash habitat that serve as critical wildlife habitat and wildlife linkages. As renewable energy development areas are designated, there needs to be additional criteria within these zones to minimize impacts on ecological processes, wildlife connectivity and wildlife habitat.
  • Renewable energy projects that could adversely impact groundwater resources, such as contributing to overdraft conditions of an aquifer, should be subject to additional review.
  • There is concern that there has not been sufficient tribal consultation on cultural resources and information gathered to adequately protect historic and archaeological resources in the California desert. Predictive archaeological modeling, which could identify archaeological sites, should be incorporated into any future renewable land use plan.
  • Surveys for rare plants must be conducted on a multi-year basis and include at least one wet spring and one wet fall.

Dear CDC Supporters,

It's been a while since we've been in touch and asked for your action. Your response to a call has been important in the past and is needed now.

Please plan to attend the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Meeting in Ontario, California on April 26, 2012. The message below from NPCA and CDC gives you details about why this meeting is important and how you may participate. If you live in the Morongo Basin a free ride will be provided.

Let's show the DRECP stakeholders that their decisions are important to us.

Sincerely,
Ruth Rieman
CDC Vice Chair
www.cadesertco.org


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