Poll shows strong support for balancing clean energy with conservation in the California desert

Amargosa River.

Mason Cummings.

California desert residents want to prioritize renewable energy development while setting aside lands for conservation.

A bipartisan poll recently conducted by PEW Charitable Trusts shows that California desert residents from across the political spectrum strongly support the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) for public lands.

The DRECP is being prepared by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other agencies, and will determine places in the California Desert to protect and where to develop clean, renewable energy.

The plan will affect 9.8 million acres of public lands, spanning 300 miles from the Mexican border to Death Valley National Park. This area is home to California’s most beloved desert treasures, such as Trona Pinnacles, Silurian Valley and many more gems that need to be protected.

The poll shows that residents of the California desert support developing renewable energy in appropriate places while protecting sensitive and special places that provide recreational opportunities and crucial wildlife habitat. 

The poll found that:

  • Among the California desert residents who are familiar with DRECP, support for the plan surpasses a margin of 4-1.
  • A 2-1 margin of desert residents believe “solar and wind power should be located mostly on already-disturbed areas that are unsuitable or not currently being used for agriculture.
  • By an almost 2-1 margin, desert residents believe that additional lands set aside for conservation by DRECP should not allow mining.

Voters across the spectrum share support for the DRECP, the poll shows that roughly 80 percent of San Bernardino County residents support the plan.

These values demonstrate that California desert residents not only want to see California transition into a clean energy future, they want to see public lands in the desert protected for future generations.