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San Diego to analyze San Bernardino County energy MOU

The demand for clean and renewable energy sources has led to the need to balance the desires of energy providers with the retention of community character.

A recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the County of San Bernardino and the US Bureau of Land Management requires both jurisdictions to work together collaboratively on environmental reviews and public participation, and the County of San Diego will be investigating whether such an MOU is suitable for San Diego County.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 September 16 to direct the county’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to analyze the County of San Bernardino’s MOU. If the MOU is determined to be beneficial the CAO will also work with the Bureau of Land Management to establish a similar MOU for the County of San Diego.

“It will make the county a formal partner in sharing information,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

Clean and renewable energy sources include solar, wind, and geothermal generation. “The news is good and bad,” Jacob said.

Adverse side effects include bird deaths and fire hazards.

In many cases, proposals for renewable generation projects are on Federal lands which are not subject to county land use authority. In San Bernardino County, many of the projects which led to the MOU are proposed for the high desert areas.

The County of San Bernardino MOU gives the county the ability to review applications, and the county can become the lead agency for some of the applications if warranted. The MOU does not give the County of San Bernardino the authority to reject projects, but it requires that any issues raised by the county be addressed.

“Both sides need an adequate voice and need to be heard,” Jacob said of the community and the energy providers.

Although fewer than half a dozen applications for projects in San Diego County are on file with the Bureau of Land Management, proposals have increased in recent years.

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