Biden administration restores amendments to Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

California Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to revoke amendments to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) filed by the Trump Administration last month.

“We are pleased to learn that the Department of Interior has restored the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan by terminating a last-minute attempt by the previous administration to unilaterally amend it,” said Douglas. “Today’s action means these valued public lands will continue to be protected while ensuring renewable energy projects needed to achieve California’s 100% clean electricity target can be developed responsibly. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the Biden administration on a range of climate and renewable energy issues to boost the nation’s economic recovery while working to achieve our mutual environmental goals.”

Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, also expressed support for the Biden administration’s move.

“It’s an enormous relief that the Biden administration is moving quickly to keep this carefully crafted plan in place,” Anderson said. “We don’t have to choose between preserving important conservation areas and building the renewable energy systems crucial to addressing the climate crisis, and this agreement proves that. In fact, it’s the only way to slow climate change, address the wildlife extinction crisis and preserve life on the planet.”

The DRECP was developed by the CEC, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The comprehensive plan identifies areas in the desert appropriate for the utility-scale development of wind, solar, and geothermal energy projects. It also provides for the long-term conservation and management of covered species and preserves the natural resources, recreational areas, and scenic values of the desert.

News item from the California Energy Commission

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