Protect rural communities, residents tell supervisors - The Desert Trail: News

Protect rural communities, residents tell supervisors

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Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 7:33 am | Updated: 7:35 am, Wed Feb 14, 2018.

JOSHUA TREE — Residents speaking from multiple locations on Tuesday, Feb. 13, urged county supervisors to act in defense of rural communities against the development of large-scale solar and wind energy projects.

Some spoke directly to board members meeting in regular session at the County Government Center in Hesperia. Others address the board via video link from Hesperia and Joshua Tree.

All were concerned with a reconsideration of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan by federal officials and urged board members to speak out against an expansion of possible sites for solar and wind energy farms.

They also urged county officials to take action on Policy 4.10 which, they said, would help protect rural communities from large-scale energy projects.

Among those who spoke during the public comment period of the supervisors’ meeting was Sarah Kennington, representing the Morongo Basin Conservation Association, and Pat Flanagan, who represents Desert Heights on the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council.

“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 now have so much solar that we sometime have to pay other states to take it off our hands,” he claimed.

“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 11,000 acres, 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.

Flanagan urged Policy 4.10 to move out of county staff members hands and to the planning commission so it can be forwarded to the board of supervisors for approval.

“When you remove the vegetation, that land will fly dust,” she said.

“Time is passing,” Steve Bardwell said.

© 2018 Hi-Desert Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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