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You Have More Time To Comment On That Desert Energy Plan

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Better get reading | Photo: Christian Schnettelker/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Those of you who are planning to comment on the gargantuan and nearly incomprehensible plan to regulate energy development on 22 million acres of the California Desert now have an extra six and a half weeks to do so.

Faced with an onslaught of criticism that the 8,000-plus page draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan , or DRECP, is too complex, unwieldy, and hard to understand to allow substantive and constructive comment by most members of the public, the four state and federal agencies shepherding the plan through the environmental assessment process have pushed back the deadline for public comments by 45 days, from January 9 to February 23, 2015.

In a press release issued last week, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Energy Commission, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said the comment period extension came as a result of requests from the public for more time.

Neither the National Environmental Policy Act nor the California Environmental Quality Act set a maximum length of a public comment period for draft environmental assessment documents, so the agencies could have extended the comment period for the draft DRECP by a significantly longer amount. (We describe why that might well be a good idea here.)

All 8,000-plus pages of the draft DRECP can be downloaded here, and instructions on how to comment can be found at the DRECP website as well.

And you'd better get cracking: with just under 100 days until the new comment deadline, that's about 800 pages you'll have to read each day to make your comments substantive enough to pass muster with the relevant agencies.

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