By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Robert A. Lovingood testified before a state Assembly Committee Monday on the benefits of a bill that would protect the desert, reduce air pollution and help businesses cut costs.
Lovingood initiated and proposed Assembly Bill 1034, which was unanimously approved by the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources. The bill would remove regulatory hurdles that prevent construction of renewable energy projects on already-disturbed land on mining sites.
“AB 1034 is a common-sense bill,” Lovingood said. “It promotes job growth, reduces the need to build renewable energy projects on pristine desert land, cuts air pollution and helps mine operators reduce costs.”
The bill is receiving bi-partisan support and is part of Supervisor Lovingood’s policy vision to promote job growth and prioritize renewable energy projects on disturbed lands and preserve our desert.
“The land on mine sites is already distributed making it them a perfect location for renewable energy without the impacts such projects can have on local communities,” Lovingood told the committee. “AB 1034 is a common sense measure that has multiple benefits for the environment, for business, and for our communities.”
Lovingood thanked Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, R-Big Bear, for authoring and advocating for the bill.
AB 1034 would remove a potential regulatory hurdle that discourages mine operators from siting renewable energy projects on disturbed land.
Currently, a renewable energy project proposed for a mine site, could open the entire mine operation to a full, new Surface Mining and Reclamation Act permit and review process.
The largest county by size in the contiguous United States, with large swaths of desert and public lands has made the County of San Bernardino the home to more than $5 billion in planned or completed solar energy projects. Large utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands provide numerous benefits; however, those projects remove thousands of acres of public land and impact recreation, habitat, wildlife, economic development and scenic vistas.
Some of these projects are located near communities. We have heard a consistent message from the public: Put renewable energy projects on disturbed land, and away from areas where there are impacts to neighborhoods.