California lawmakers’ grand ambitions to fight climate change are running into a familiar obstacle: the parochial concerns of local governments and property owners.
The latest battle over state needs vs. local control is being fought in San Bernardino County, where the Board of Supervisors voted last month to ban solar and wind farms across vast stretches of rural desert communities. The decision was cheered by residents who have complained that the proliferation of large renewable energy projects threatened to wipe out their scenic vistas and upend the fragile desert ecosystem.
San Bernardino County’s ban comes just as California is supposed to be dramatically ramping up its renewable energy usage as part of the state’s effort to slash the carbon emissions that promote climate change. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring utility companies to get 60% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and 100% from zero-carbon sources by 2045. And demand for power is only going to grow as California shifts the transportation sector from fuel pumps to the electric grid through battery-powered cars, buses and trucks.
Green power runs up against desert conservation in California, by The Times Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2019.