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US Government Moves Forward With California Desert Renewable Energy Plan

The first step in a long-term plan to utilize 22 million acres of California’s desert for renewable energy use was started earlier this month by the US Government.

On November 10, the US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel, in collaboration with California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird, revealed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (PDF) that outlines a 25-year blueprint for the development and management of 10 million acres of federal public lands in the California desert, currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The Impact Statement is a major step forward for what is a huge collaborative effort to fast-track renewable energy development in the region without destroying the region in the process.

Furthermore, the 25-year blueprint is one part of a much larger and more comprehensive effort to develop a total of 22 million acres in California’s desert, that — if allowed to develop fully — could eventually provide 20,000 MW of renewable energy, and meet federal and state renewable energy and climate change goals through to 2040.

“Using a landscape-level perspective, unprecedented collaboration, and extensive public engagement, this phase of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan will facilitate clean energy development, creating new jobs while cutting carbon pollution,” said Secretary Jewell. “This strategy provides effective protection and conservation for wildlife, recreation and cultural resources, while encouraging streamlined renewable energy development in the right places.”

“The state of California has worked closely for years with the US Department of the Interior to reach this milestone,” Laird said. “We salute our federal partners for this achievement. This foundational plan allows conservation, recreation and renewable energy development to fit together in a durable, balanced way.”

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