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DRECP Plan and High Desert Corridor Projects Have Energy in Mind

On October 29, I attended the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) public comment meeting, and on November 6 I attended the High Desert Corridor meeting. Both meetings were held in Victorville to give the public an opportunity to speak out about the proposed plans and projects. The DRECP is an 8000 page document that, for lack of a better word, “zones” about 2.5 million acres of the California high desert. The word “conservation” in the name is deceiving, because the actual goal is to define where big solar and wind projects will go. The High Desert Corridor is a new freeway that could be built between Palmdale and Apple Valley. It features eight lanes of car traffic, plus routes for high speed rail and big energy transmission lines. Touted as a “green” project, some people feel that it is in actuality one more piece of the puzzle that allows big solar and wind to build their planned plants in the Apple Valley area. There are several groups fighting this “zoning” of the Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley areas to streamline the approval of these big supposed “green” energy projects. One speaker, Neville Slade, who teaches Agriculture and Natural Resources, and developed the Mojave Sustainability Project at Victor Valley College spoke about the “human” aspect of the DRECP plan. He asked, “where are humans in this plan?” The impact on endangered animals and plants has been studied, but no studies on the effect this plan has on the quality of life for people is ever mentioned. Not one person at the well-attended (300+) meeting was in favor of this plan, which most feel would “drive massive desert destruction.” The other project, High Desert Corridor, is a 63-mile “multi-modal” freeway route connecting Palmdale’s Transportation Center from Hwy 14 to Hwy 18 via Dale Evans Parkway in Apple Valley. Planners say it will “connect some of the fastest growing residential, commercial and industrial areas in Southern California.” However, the residents of these areas are aware of the fact that there is presently little traffic between those two destinations, and that this is just one more way to push several projects (ie. high speed rail, big energy) through in a hurry. There are four different variations to the project, with options like a toll road, high speed rail, and a bicycle path running alongside.

Information websites:

HDC: DRECP plan:

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