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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/23/2013 06:30:24 PM PDT

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday extended a temporary moratorium on commercial solar energy projects by 10 months, 15 days in order to set design standards and land-use parameters for such projects.

Nearly 30 people, many of them speaking via closed-circuit television from the county’s video conferencing site at the Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center, spoke either in favor of or against the moratorium during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

But most spoke in favor of the moratorium.

Supporters of the moratorium argued time was needed to ensure that the proper guidelines are in place that will strike the delicate balance between the demand for renewable energy facilities and the preservation of the environment.

Opponents argued the moratorium kills jobs and hurts the local economy, and that the county could accomplish its goals without the moratorium.

Bill Perez, executive secretary for the San Bernardino and Riverside Counties Building Construction Trades Council, told the board that hundreds of Inland Empire construction workers will remain out of work as a result of the moratorium.

“I don’t think they’re in a position to say, ‘there’s a moratorium on my work,'” Perez said. “A moratorium sends chills across the Inland Empire.”

The board adopted an ordinance on June 12 imposing a 45-day moratorium, with the option to extend the moratorium by up to a year. The 10-month, 15-day extension allows the county the full year to prepare its guidelines for solar development.

Supervisor James Ramos said it is unlikely that the county will need the entire 10 months, 15 days, and that it is likely that the moratorium will be lifted before then.

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