By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– First District Supervisor Robert A. Lovingood said it is clear that state and federal agencies are listening to local concerns over renewable energy plans involving San Bernardino and six other Southern California counties.
On Tuesday, state and federal officials said they will explore opportunities for a tailored, county-by-county approach to private lands under their Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. The DRECP plan is being prepared by The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Energy Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Last month, San Bernardino County sent a 56-page critique of the draft DRECP, highlighting County concerns over limiting access to mineral resources, recreational use as well as community and environmental impacts.
In citing his concerns with the draft DRECP last month, Lovingood called on state and federal officials to scale back plans for renewable energy projects that would impact residents in local communities. Lovingood noted that new changes to the DRECP now show significantly smaller zones for renewable energy in the Victor Valley.
Lovingood called for greater use of distributed generation of renewable energy and prioritizing already-disturbed lands for renewable energy projects, thereby protecting pristine desert. Lovingood also encouraged the DRECP team to develop mechanisms providing discounted electric rates or rebates for consumers in the High Desert.
“If you live in the corn belt and you’re surrounded by corn fields, your price for corn is going to be very inexpensive. So it only seems fair that desert residents who bear the brunt of impacts from renewable energy projects should see a similar benefit,” Lovingood said.
Environmental and community organizations offered widespread support for San Bernardino County’s position during a Feb. 10 public hearing.