CA Counties Respond to Renewable Energy and Conservation Plan

Seven California counties are pushing back against an 8,000 page renewable energy and conservation plan released last September.

According the LA Times, the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan aims to “streamline permitting processes for development of renewable energy generation and transmission, while simultaneously enforcing environmental regulations protecting species such as the desert tortoise, along with tribal lands and public recreation areas.”

All in all, the plan has set its sight on over 22 million acres of public and private land across the state, with initial focus placed on 10 million acres of public land. 

The most stringent critics of the plan – including Los Angeles, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino and Inyo Counties – have voiced deep concerns. San Bernardino and Imperial County officials expressed dismay at the plan’s lack of a thorough cost benefit analysis and complained that certain proposed conservation zones would restrict key economic opportunities, including mining and agriculture. Other counties are concerned about losing tax revenues from a key state tax exemption for solar projects that was extended through 2025.  

As a result of the push back from local governments, state and federal proponents of the plan have announced that they will approach implementation in strides, and seek to resolve local issues on a “county-by-county” basis. 

To read more on county governments’ reaction to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, click here.