Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued the following statement after the Department of the Interior and the state of California announced the first phase of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan for federal land in the California desert:
“I applaud the Obama administration for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan—an ambitious effort to comprehensively manage renewable energy, conservation and recreation on 22.5 million acres of California desert. By working with our state to develop this plan, the federal government has shown it can be an effective partner in the state’s efforts to combat climate change, all while protecting the magnificent—yet fragile—California desert landscape.
“The desert’s sweeping desert vistas and rugged mountain terrain provide vital refuge for everything from bighorn sheep and desert tortoises to Joshua Trees and Native American artifacts. The desert likewise holds great potential for utility-scale renewable energy—something we must utilize to reach the state’s goal of generating 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. But we must ensure that the proper balance is struck when managing this effort so the desert is protected.
“Context matters when it comes to renewable energy. The first phase of this plan allows for smart renewable energy development by funneling that development into appropriate areas of the desert, areas where the environmental impact can be altogether avoided or at least mitigated. At the same time, the plan sets aside new lands for conservation, protecting the desert’s most fragile ecosystems and encouraging recreation in an area that is nationally and internationally renowned as a recreation destination.
“This plan shows that, when working together, we can find the right balance between responsible renewable energy development, conservation and recreation. I’m grateful for the Interior Department’s efforts to work with the state to achieve our energy goals and hopefully more states will follow California’s lead.”