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Showing posts with the label CDPA 1994

Celebrating the Desert Protection Act

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Senator Dianne Feinstein's California Desert Protection Act (CDPA) was signed into law 20 years ago on October 31, 1994, establishing new protections for vast stretches of the desert.  The CDPA established 69 new Wilderness areas,  created the Mojave National Preserve, converted Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Monuments into National Parks, and added acreage to both parks.

Watching the sun set in a remote corner of the Mojave forges a connection between me and generations past, and it would be nice to know that future generations will share the same natural heritage.  Witnessing mountain shadows gently stretch across miles of open desert, hearing coyotes howl at twilight as bats flutter by, and being immersed in an infinite blanket of stars overhead are some of the treasured experiences you can have in the desert. 

These experiences are increasingly threatened, however, as cities sprawl outward, new major highways threaten to slice across the landscape, and transmission li…

Senator Feinstein Reintroduces California Land Management Bill

Senator Feinstein reintroduced the California Desert Protection Act (CDPA 2011, S.138) this month, a necessary step in order to put the legislation back in motion after Congress adjourned last year without putting the 2010 version of the bill (CDPA 2010, S.2921) to a vote.  CDPA 2011 is mostly identical to last year's legislation, except that Senator Feinstein removed provisions seeking to streamline the permitting process for utility-scale solar energy projects, a process she has previously criticized, in particular because she believed projects should be sited on already-disturbed or private land.

CDPA 2011 will create the much needed Mojave Trails National Monument (941,000 acres), and the Sand to Snow National Monument (134,000 acres), and set aside new wilderness areas throughout the Mojave Desert.  The bill would also add land to Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and Death Valley National Park.   One of Senator Feinstein's motivations in proposing the …

Can the California Desert Protection Act of 2010 be Passed this Year?

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Following the announcement of Senator Feinstein's proposed California Desert Protection Act of 2010 (CDPA 2010) in December, civic organizations across California have been seeking support from local city councils and members of Congress in order to pave the way for its introduction into Senate and then House debate.  Senator Feinstein indicated that she would like to see the bill (S.2921) at the Senate for a vote before the end of this year.  So how does it look for CDPA 2010?  Even though several town councils, off-road organizations, and conservation groups have joined to support the intent of the legislation--which would set aside 1.6 million acres for conservation and provide permanent off-road vehicle recreation areas--the legislation's passage may be threatened by political realities in Washington that ignore the local grassroots and civic support building behind the legislation in California.

Probably the biggest trend in American politics that could affect CDPA 2010 w…

CDPA 2010: Product of NIMBY Environmentalists?

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One of the dynamics that will inevitably unfold over the next year--assuming Senator Feinstein is able to get her proposed California Desert Protection Act 2010 before Congress for a vote--will be opponent's attempts to frame CDPA 2010 as the product of Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) environmentalists looking to shut out economic development. Read about early signs of opposition here.

The portrayal of Feinstein's legislation by opponents almost certainly will over-simplify the field of stakeholders by labeling what is actually a diverse array of opinions as stubborn NIMBY environmentalists.  Although you can count this blogger as an early supporter of the legislation's intent, I hope you never read anything on this blog that over-simplifies the arguments against CDPA 2010...if you do, call me out on it.


The California Desert Protection Act of 1994 (which established Mojave National Preserve, and designated Joshua Tree and Death Valley as National Parks) provides a useful case …

Rep. Jerry Lewis Set to Oppose CDPA 2010?

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Congressional Representative Jerry Lewis (41st District) has expressed concern that Senator Feinstein's proposed California Desert Protection Act 2010 (CDPA 2010) locks up too much desert land from potential energy development, mining, and military training, according to the Hi-Desert Star website.    Rep. Lewis' early opposition deserves some historical context.


The early California Desert Protection Act of 1994 (which created the Mojave National Preserve and upgraded Joshua Tree and Death Valley to National Park status) lacked compromise with some stakeholders-- recreational users, hunters, and ranchers.  Rep. Lewis took advantage of this and a hostile atmosphere toward environmental conservation among the newly empowered GOP-controlled congress to opposed the 1994 bill.  In the end, compromises were made and the 1994 CDPA passed, although Rep. Lewis budgeted only $1.00 to run the newly created Mojave National Preserve (MNP) in its infant years.

Rep. Lewis is signaling his i…