Roadmap Released for a ‘Smart from the Start’ #CleanEnergy Future in California Desert

Bureau of Land Management Finalizes the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan for Public Lands

Sacramento, Calif. – (RealEstateRama) — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized the first phase of theDesert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) on public lands, a conservation strategy developed by the state of California, the federal government and conservation stakeholders, including Defenders of Wildlife. The plan identifies smart from the start areas for renewable energy development that avoids or minimizes adverse effects on wildlife.

Kim Delfino, California program director for Defenders of Wildlife issued the following statement:

“Today the future of the California desert and its wildlife is a little brighter. Through the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, the Obama administration is establishing a balanced approach to renewable energy development. This plan will enable us to combat climate change, which is a threat to wildlife, habitat and landscapes worldwide, while preserving important habitats. This is a blueprint for other states, the nation and the world to consider as we all work together to fight climate change and race against extinction.”

Background

Smart from the start renewable energy development aims to avoid or minimize adverse effects on wildlife, valuable agricultural lands and high-value resource lands by creating a science-based conservation strategy that identifies and conserves areas important for the long-term survival and recovery of plants and wildlife. This approach protects vital natural resources and makes the permitting process for renewable energy projects more efficient because development is directed towards more degraded lands.

The DRECP aims to establish responsible renewable energy development areas on federal BLM lands to meet federal and state clean energy mandates. These areas are called Development Focus Areas (DFAs).

Once the first phase of the DRECP is complete, federal and state agencies will be working with the six affected desert counties to identify degraded private lands for renewable energy development and areas for future conservation. Thus far, three counties have already identified more than 300,000 acres of land for renewable energy development. The other three counties are currently undergoing planning processes.

Identifying lands for responsible development of renewable energy is essential to meeting climate objectives for California and for the nation. In 2006, California enacted the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 or Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), the most far-reaching climate bill in the country. The law calls for the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In 2011, the state of California enacted a requirement that one-third of California’s electricity should come from renewable sources by the end of 2020. This renewable energy standard was extended in 2015 to 50 percent by 2030.

Just this month, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 32, extending the goals set in the Global Warming Solutions Act by mandating that California reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2040. The conversion to clean renewable energy is a critical part of California’s climate change efforts.

In 2009, the Obama administration made a pledge to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels (7,379 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, MMTCO2e) by 2020 if all other major economies agreed to limit their emissions as well.

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org. For the latest news from Defenders, follow us at@DefendersNews. For more on conservation issues in California, follow Kim Delfino on Twitter at@KimDelfinoDOW.

Media contact: Catalina Tresky, (202) 772-0253 or ctresky (at) defenders (dot) org

Source: Defenders of Wildlife

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