Official statement: Department of the Interior will revoke the BLM’s comment period on proposed amendment to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan
In 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) completed the first phase of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), focused on 10.8 million acres of public lands in the desert regions of seven California counties – Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego. It is a landscape-level plan that streamlines renewable energy development while conserving unique and valuable desert ecosystems and providing outdoor recreation opportunities. The DRECP is a collaborative effort between the BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Energy Commission, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Trump Administration moved to scrap the carefully developed plan, thereby undermining opportunities for renewable energy development and enduring conservation measures. In a Federal Register notice to be published in the coming days, the Department will formally revoke the Bureau of Land Management’s comment period on the Trump administration’s draft environmental impact statement to amend the DRECP.
Please see below for a quote from Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel Davis:
“The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan represents an unprecedented partnership between the federal government and the state of California to balance our country’s equally important goals of facilitating renewable energy while ensuring that lands in California’s deserts are set aside for conservation and recreation. The plan was developed after years of thoughtful outreach with stakeholders, other federal and state agencies, and government-to-government consultation with Tribal Nations. The Trump administration’s proposal in its final days to re-open the plan is unnecessary and at odds with balanced land management. The Department will not move forward with the proposed environmental review of potential amendments to the DRECP. We look forward to renewing our partnership with the state to build a clean energy economy that creates jobs, addresses climate change, and conserves public lands for current and future generations.”
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $111 billion in economic output across the country in fiscal year 2019—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 498,000 jobs.