For Immediate Release: March 19, 2009
Media Contact: Susanne Garfield - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Releases Statement on Proposed Desert Preserve

SACRAMENTO -- U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she would introduce new legislation establishing a national monument preserving thousands of acres in the Mojave Desert. The former Catellus lands were previously donated to or purchased by the Department of the Interior for conservation.

Statement from California Energy Commission Chairman Karen Douglas

"We believe this could be a win-win for renewable energy and California's famous desert preserve. We look forward to engaging actively with Senator Feinstein to craft legislation that jumpstarts renewable energy development, provides for vital transmission infrastructure in the right places and protects the Mojave desert for all time.

"Through Governor Schwarzenegger's renewable energy executive order, California has initiated a Natural Community Conservation Plan that has a goal of expediting the creation of renewable energy sources throughout the region while conserving our desert resources. The Senator's efforts will be a great first step in our collective work on a comprehensive plan that balances these two goals.

"The federal stimulus package provides tens of billions of dollars in tax credits, loan guarantees and federal grants, and we are working with Senator Feinstein to maximize the benefits to California of this stimulus in accelerating renewable energy development and bringing jobs to our state."

The Renewable Energy Executive Order

Governor Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-14-08 on November 17, 2008 that established a target for all retail sellers of electricity within the state to serve 33 percent of their electric load with renewable energy by 2020. The order directs the California Energy Commission and the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) to implement a number of specific directives focused on natural resource conservation planning and renewable energy permitting. Currently, the Renewable Energy Action Team, composed of the California Energy Commission, the CDFG, the federal Bureau of Land Management and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have already held two public meetings to discuss how the Governor's renewable energy order can be implemented in a way that allows for protection of the Mojave and Colorado deserts and development of renewable resources in those regions.

More information on the renewable energy executive order and the renewable energy comprehensive planning process is available at:

http://www.energy.ca.gov/33by2020/

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