DESERT COMMITTEE IN-PERSON SUMMER MEETING

The Desert Committee Summer meeting is scheduled for August 20-21, 2022, at Camp Noren in the White Mountains. The meeting chair will be John Hiatt.

Details will be available later on this website.

Time-sensitive Issues

Rooftop Solar and the CA Public Utilities Commission - TAKE ACTION AGAIN!

Earlier this year, your voice helped to defeat the CPUC’s first rooftop Solar Tax. We need your voice again, as loud as ever!

Joshua Tree status - final consideration for listing as Threatened under CESA

Joshua Tree

The Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) is already considered by many as being “threatened” in the meaning of the provisions of the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), and we can imagine that many of the upcoming solar and mining projects will further increase the stress on this species.

It might therefore be prudent for us individually to lobby the State Fish & Game Commission to move ahead with listing such that environmental impacts in these future EIRs will necessarily identify and quantify threats to the Joshuas.

The notice of Final Consideration of Petitions Hearing and the relevant F&G Commission hearing are available here as pdfs. Note that you can join by Zoom, telephone or in-person with instructions shown in the agenda.
The actual date of the hearing is Wednesday, June 15, and the Joshua Tree petition hearing is item #5 on the agenda.

Conglomerate Mesa in the News Once Again

On March 21, 2022, K2 Gold, a Canadian mining company, announced that it was suspending its gold mining project on Conglomerate Mesa. For several years K2 has accessed the area by helicopter and has been drilling prospect cores to assess the value of the ore. More recently, it sought permission to construct a road into the area and to expand their explorations to over forty drill holes. Before granting permission, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) required that a lengthy Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared. The appearance was that the probability of economic success was not sufficient for K2 Gold to justify the cost of the EIS and that was responsible for their withdrawal.

However, on May 14, K2 Gold informed the Ridgecrest BLM office that it has REVERSED ITS DECISION and intends to resubmit its mining proposal and will pursue an EIS. The future of Conglomerate Mesa remains in limbo.....

Conglomerate Mesa is entirely roadless, has a rich variety of flora, and is sacred ground for several Native American Tribes. These Tribes, local residents in the nearby Owens Valley, and a number of environmental organizations have long argued that Conglomerate Mesa deserved the same legislative protection that is given to the neighboring Malpais Mesa and Inyo Mountains Wilderness Areas. While Conglomerate Mesa does have some level of protection under BLM protocol, these latter designations are administration and can be overridden by the 1872 Mining Act and NAFTA treaty obligations.  (Posted 5-15)