Message to supervisors: Hands off public lands

Steve Bardwell addresses the San Bernardino County board of Supervisors, via video link from Joshua Tree, during a board meeting Tuesday, Feb. 13.

JOSHUA TREE — Residents urged county supervisors to act in defense of rural communities against the development of large-scale solar and wind energy projects during the board of supervisors meeting Tuesday.

Some spoke directly to board members at their meeting in San Bernardino. Others address the board via video link from Hesperia and Joshua Tree.

All were concerned that federal officials recently embarked on a reconsideration of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. They urged the county’s board members to speak out against the expansion of sites where solar and wind energy farms will be allowed.

Sarah Kennington, representing the Morongo Basin Conservation Association, and Pat Flanagan, who represents Desert Heights on the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council, both spoke.

“We don’t need more big energy projects and we certainly don’t need to ruin our rural communities,” Steve Mills, speaking in San Bernardino, said.

“We need the board of supervisors to step up yet again,” said Neil Nadler. “You have to walk the walk.”

Bryan Hammer of Lucerne Valley said his community is facing the possibly of 17 square miles of solar power fields.

“We just want it built in rational places,” he said.

Victoria Paulson of Newberry Springs spoke of the sand loosened by solar projects and blowing onto neighboring property.

“Blowing sand buries the houses across the street,” she said. “When you disturb the desert just a little bit, the sand is like a blizzard.”

“We are once again at a crossroads,” Kennington said, urging board members to submit a comment during the DRECP comment period, which will end March 22.

(3) comments

Parker

We need not put these massive solar and wind farms so close to our populated areas.
I love the idea of being energy efficient. But we need to do it even closer to home. On our roof tops, including the large commercial roof tops such as our big box shopping centers and other commercial buildings.
It's a travesty loosing our visual serenity. I remember what it used to look like in the Desert Hot Springs area near Hwy 62 and the I10 before these energy farms took over. It was much more beautiful than the ugly overwhelming sight of windmills and solar panels.
I get the need for alternative energy, but at what cost to our beautiful deserts.
Use our roof tops, not our sacred lands.

Roadrunner dessert

Exactly Parker. Unfortunately the Fed's would rather lease out the land to the Chinese who will build solar farms and sell the power back to the grid. They can't pull that off with roof top panels.

horsehouse

I agree that there is plenty of space on top of developed lands for solar. I would love to have shade over giant parking lots at Walmart, Home Depot,and Vons. Do we really need to negatively impact even more than we have already? The covenant between development and environment started with commercial development making its big footprint. It is time to concentrate further development within the established development zones. It is also time to pledge in favor of the open environment and those who appreciate tranquility.

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