UPDATE JUNE 17, 2022: KEVIN McCARTHY’S NAVY BASE Scores The Hat Trick — SGMA Battered, BLM Beaten and COSO Geothermal Splits Profits 50-50. What’s Next at NAWS China Lake (Secret City)?
“Kevin McCarthy has set the stage for a massive land and water grab by the federal government, starting with 16,000,000 acres of BLM Public Lands currently reserved by the military.”
June 17, 2022
Indian Wells Valley, California
Time for an update on this Post, originally published on October 11, 2021.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield continues his strategy of establishing permanent federal enclaves in California’s Mojave Desert. The Coso Geothermal power plant located at NAWS China Lake is now in focus as a potential partner in a solution to the Indian Wells Valley’s water crisis.
“This may be the biggest deal we didn’t know about and the greatest opportunity for a SUCCESS at the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority”
Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake, California
October 11, 2021
What, no press release? McCarthy scores a 50 year renewal for NAWS China Lake, and nobody noticed? News Review? BLM? Anybody?
In December of 2016, Kevin McCarthy quietly extended the term of NAWS China Lake’s reservation beyond the 25-year term that’s typical for military reservations using BLM Public Lands.
See below in NDAA Section 2845, which simply crossed out March 31, 2039 and inserted March 31, 2064 thereby subverting the Department of Interior’s policies on military reservations of BLM Public Lands.
In 2014, McCarthy sponsored legislation to make NAWS China Lake a permanent military reservation:
At the time, the BLM issued a Statement to Congress citing the need for regular reviews by the Departments of Defense and Interior to assess the ongoing use of public lands for military reservations:
December 23 2016 NDAA Sec. 2845. Duration of withdrawal and reservation of public land, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California: NDAA FY17
Secret Renewal in Bold Underlined:
December 23, 2016 NDAA FY17 SEC. 2845. DURATION OF WITHDRAWAL AND RESERVATION OF PUBLIC LAND, NAVAL AIR WEAPONS STATION CHINA LAKE, CALIFORNIA.NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
Section 2979 of the Military Construction Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (division B of Public Law 113–66; 127 Stat. 1047) is amended by striking ‘‘March 31, 2039’’ and inserting ‘‘March 31, 2064’’
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2017
December 23, 2016 NDAA Fy17 Announcements?
Any Press Release by Congressman McCarthy? No.
Any Article in The News Review? No.
Was BLM aware of the withdrawal extension by NAWSCL? Unknown. Not Found.
So many questions…
Did the extension violate BLM Policies on military withdrawals to be 25 years or less? Unknown. Likely.
NAWS China Lake exploits loophole in SGMA to dominate water rights allocations in California. Who put DOD into Section 10720.3?
Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Ca-23) has quietly set the stage for the Department of Defense to exploit a loophole in California’s new groundwater law known as SGMA, or the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (effective January 1, 2015).
The law requires groundwater basins deemed in serious overdraft to be monitored and brought to a sustainable level in order to balance natural inflows and pumping in groundwater basins throughout the State.
Many communities and farmers are scrambling for water from the California State Water Project, but given the reliability factor associated with buying water in the future, it costs much more buy water today and casts doubt that SGMA will solve anything other than ensuring the U.S. Navy’s water superiority with SGMA’s Department of Defense water rights “must be respected” clause. (See Section 10720.3)
Meanwhile, the administrative costs and legal challenges to agencies like the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority and SGMA continue to mount.
Loophole in Bold Underlined:
10720.3. APPLICABILITY OF PART AND PARTICIPATION OF OTHER SOVEREIGNS
(a) This part applies to all groundwater basins in the state.
(b) To the extent authorized under federal or tribal law, this part applies to an Indian tribe and to the federal government, including, but not limited to, the United States Department of Defense.SGMA Section 10720.3 Applicability of Part and Participation of Other Soverigns Effective on January 1, 2015 sgma_20190101.pdf (ca.gov)
NAWS Commanding Officer gets spending authority on 50% of Coso Geothermal revenues
While we’re all struggling to pay our “replenishment fees” and Navy sits back and watches the attorneys adjudicate on SGMA, the Coso Geothermal power plant now pays half of its yearly revenue directly to the Commanding Officer at NAWS China Lake “for energy and water” security and projects, avoiding the need to send the money to Washington where it might be spent elsewhere.
On July 26, 2018, the House of Representatives passed the Conference Report for the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act with Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s support by a vote of 359 to 54.McCarthy Press Release July 27, 2018
Section 313 of the Conference Report allows 50% of the funds generated from geothermal resources on a military base to remain at that base for infrastructure improvements rather than going to Washington to be reallocated.
This provision means that Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake will be able to retain 50% of the funds generated from electricity sales at the Coso Geothermal Facility on the base. NAWS China Lake can use these funds for installation-related energy or water security initiatives.
According to the Department of Defense, $15 million is generated annually at the Coso Geothermal Facility on NAWS China Lake.
SEC. 313. USE OF PROCEEDS FROM SALES OF ELECTRICAL ENERGY DERIVED FROM GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES FOR PROJECTS AT MILITARY INSTALLATIONS WHERE RESOURCES ARE LOCATED.PUBL232.PS (congress.gov) PUBLIC LAW 115–232—AUG. 13, 2018 132 STAT. 1711
Subsection (b) of section 2916 of title 10, United States Code, is amended—
(1) in paragraph (1), by striking ‘Proceeds’ and inserting ‘Except as provided in paragraph (3), proceeds’; and
(2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
‘(3) In the case of proceeds from a sale of electrical energy generated from any geothermal energy resource—
‘(A) 50 percent shall be credited to the appropriation account described in paragraph (1); and
‘(B) 50 percent shall be deposited in a special account in the Treasury established by the Secretary concerned which shall be available, for military construction projects described in paragraph (2) or for installation energy or water security projects directly coordinated with local area energy or ground-water governing authorities, for the military installation in which the geothermal energy resource is located.’.
Originally developed in 1987, the 142-megawatt Coso Geothermal facility has been a steady source of renewable power for the Southern California region for more than three decades. The Coso site is considered one of the top three producers of geothermal electrical power in the United States.
CIT arranged the financing on behalf of project sponsor Avenue Capital and its wholly owned asset manager Middle River Power, and other co-owners Bardin Hill, Corre, and Voya investment funds, . The project is supported by three separate power purchase agreements that enable the delivery of Coso’s reliable baseload geothermal-generated electricity to customers.CIT Serves as Coordinating Lead Arranger for $323 Million Geothermal Financing
And there you have the likely reason for NAWS China Lake’s BLM extension from 17 years remaining on the term to 43 years.
Please see IWVGA Class Action for in-depth information: