A sweeping renewable energy management plan for Southern California's desert regions is stirring fears about potential new solar farms and transmission lines in San Diego and Imperial counties.
Federal and state officials have been crafting a desert management plan for five years.
The recently unveiled proposal would help manage development and habitat protection on 22 million acres of federal, state and privately owned land in the eastern part of the state.
The idea is to streamline the development process for renewable energy projects on about two million acres.
East County resident Donna Tisdale has fought against backcountry development for years. She's trying to get the word out that this plan could have major negative impacts.
"I had to contact a lot of farmers in the Imperial Valley to try and get them up to speed on what was going on," Tisdale said. "People in East County were kind of shocked to hear that there's at least one more 500 KV line, like Sunrise Powerlink, proposed."
Sunrise Powerlink is a 117-mile transmission line that connects San Diego with the Imperial Valley. It was put into service June 17, 2012.
The plan's architects consist of what they call "an unprecedented collaborative effort between the California Energy Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also known as the Renewable Energy Action Team."
The state and federal coalition is currently seeking public comment.
The desert energy and conservation protection plan is scheduled to be finalized next year.