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In March 2015, the REAT agencies announced that the plan would move forward using a phased approach.
In Phase I, BLM will complete the Land Use Planning Amendment (LUPA) component that designates development focus areas and conservation areas on public lands. The benefits of finalizing the public lands component include:
Providing certainty to local governments, stakeholders and the public with respect to development and conservation on public lands
Providing additional time and opportunities for the state and federal agencies to work on Phase II activities (see below)
Facilitating implementation of the Durability Agreement that provides mechanisms to achieve project mitigation on public land
Ensuring conservation protection for recreation, cultural scenic and other natural resource values in the California Desert Conservation Area, which was a major theme of comments received on the draft DRECP
In Phase II, the agencies will engage with the counties to better inform decisions on best options and timing for proceeding with the other components related to private lands. Several of the counties in the DRECP area are finalizing land use planning processes that include, or are focused on, renewable energy development. The goal of county engagement will be to better align renewable energy development and conservation at the local, state and federal level. This dialogue will allow the REAT agencies to explore opportunities for a tailored, county-by-county approach in addition to making improvements to the overall plan.
Taking a phased approach will result in a plan that is well-tailored to local government priorities and needs, helps California and the nation meet long-term climate change and clean energy goals, and provides for conservation of the desert’s unique and valuable resources.