Plan in the works to develop renewable energy without harming endangered species

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California is moving ahead with a plan that will outline how renewable energy projects can be developed on desert lands with minimal impact to endangered species.

California is moving ahead with a plan that will outline how renewable energy projects such as wind and solar can be developed on desert lands with minimal impact to endangered species. It would apply to more than 22 million acres of state, federal and private desert lands in California.

Karen Douglas serves on the California Energy Commission. She says the goal of the plan is to address endangered species and conservation needs up front, and require developers to pay for them.

"The plan will propose development areas, where permits to build projects will be streamlined," says Douglas. "And the plan will also propose a conservation strategy."

That conservation strategy would have to directly help counteract any negative impact. For example, if the desert tortoise could be affected or even killed by the renewable project, the builders would be required to help establish or improve other habitat.

There's a public meeting to discuss the plan Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Sacramento.

A draft is due out in December.

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