The California Energy Commission estimates that as many as 160,000 acres of desert lands in California are needed to meet its 33 percent renewable energy goal by 2020. However, by proclaiming a portion of these lands a naitonal monument, a prominent Senator may stand in the way of wind power development.
California’s Bureau of Land Management has on its desk 130 applications for solar and wind energy development in the state’s deserts, covering public land in excess of 1 million acres.
Several of the applications are located in the eastern Mojave Desert on or near property previously owned by Catellus that was donated to or by purchased by the Department of the Interior for conservation.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., intends to introduce legislation to establish a national monument on these lands, a move that would restrict future wind power development.
A national monument designation would ensure that hundreds of thousands of acres between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve are protected in perpetuity, according to a press release from Feinstein’s office.