COMMISSION RECOMMENDS NO NEW SOLAR FIELDS IN THE MORONGO BASIN

For residents of the Morongo Basin and Lucerne Valley, the odds of seeing a new, utility-scale solar power plant go up next door got a little less likely yesterday. Reporter Mike Lipsitz was at yesterday’s meeting of the county planning commission and has this report…

Tasked with recommending a policy to address conflicts that arise when large-scale, renewable energy power plants are located in or near desert communities, the county planning commission yesterday heard from dozens of desert denizens in San Bernardino and from remote teleconferencing locations in Joshua Tree and Hesperia. The overwhelming majority opposed a proposal by the county department of Land Use Services that would have allowed such power plants in our neighborhoods under certain, rather weak conditions. Speaker after speaker explained how the large solar fields erode neighboring property values, harm public health by generating large amounts of dust, destroy desert ecosystems, and harm tourism. At the end of the day, bolstered by public testimony and urging from Planning Commissioner Paul Smith of Twentynine Palms, the commission voted to recommend a policy that will prohibit any new, utility-scale plants in the communities in question. Next, the county board of supervisors will decide whether or not to put the policy in place.

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