Bureau of Land Management releases last-minute proposal to rollback California’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)

The Mojave desert scrublands of Red Rock State Park are just one of the four ecoregions that collide at Tehachapi, California.
Transformative Power The Mojave desert scrublands of Red Rock State Park are just one of the four ecoregions that collide at Tehachapi, California. © Ian Shive

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) joins partners and the state of California in opposing the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed amendments to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) only one week before the transition to a new administration. 

The following is a statement by Erica Brand, director of the California energy strategy at TNC:

“This last-minute proposal to make major changes to the DRECP undermines years of collaborative planning, and will only serve to create confusion and ultimately delay progress toward achieving California’s clean energy and climate goals. 

“The DRECP is an essential building block in California’s efforts to achieve 100 percent clean electricity while protecting biodiversity. The plan uses science and data, paired with a multi-year public planning process, to inform a blueprint for energy, recreation, protection of cultural values, and conservation on desert public lands so we can transition more quickly to a carbon free economy.. 

“For over 50 years, TNC has worked to protect the lands and waters of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. To address the urgent threat of climate change, TNC has invested in over a decade of scientific research to accelerate the development of clean energy on public lands while protecting conservation values. Based on that research, we provided expert comments throughout the eight-year public process to develop the DRECP. The resulting plan is a nationwide model for clean energy planning on public lands.

“TNC urges the incoming Biden administration to set these proposed changes aside. We look forward to collaborating with the incoming administration, the state of California and a diverse spectrum of stakeholders to achieve ambitious climate targets and protect the biodiversity of California’s deserts.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.