Press Release Jan 13, 2021

Desert Plan Rollbacks Threaten National Park Wildlife, Communities and Culture

Rollbacks could threaten crucial protections including for the Silurian Valley outside of Death Valley, and lands surrounding Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve and other wildlife-rich lands.

JOSHUA TREE, CALIF – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today proposed significant rollbacks to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP).

Finalized in 2015, the DRECP was the product of years of data collection and public process and defined policy governing how and where the California desert develops green energy. The DRECP also covers recreation, protection of access, protection of key species, and shifts the focus of development opportunities towards communities that have called for it.

Statement by Chris Clarke, Ruth Hammett Associate Director of the National Parks Conservation Association’s California Desert Program

“Over the last four years, this administration has put a bullseye on the California desert, topping it off with this unnecessary overhaul of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). Reopening the DRECP means this administration is discarding a decade of work by thousands of individuals from local communities and at every level of government. Changes could threaten crucial protections included in the final DRECP, including nearly 20,000 acres in the Silurian Valley outside of Death Valley, which connects remarkable conservation lands critical for wildlife including desert kit foxes, along with a portion of the Old Spanish trail and other cultural sites. The draft amendment would also harm Castle Mountains National Monument by removing protections from adjoining land and allowing future mining activities to threaten priceless cultural resources and landscapes.“

“Beyond the desert plan rollback, we’ve seen unprecedented and illegal review of national monuments including Mojave Trails, and a relentless attack on desert water through Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s continued support of the Cadiz water mining project.

“We urge the incoming Biden administration to abandon this amendment and implement the DRECP as it was adopted in 2016, as they find ways to reverse an entire presidential term’s worth of destruction of the California desert.”

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About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.4 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit