By ordering new land-use plan, Trump could spark a fight in California deserts

It looks like a barren no man's land, but the vast desert outside Indio, Calif., has many suitors.

Conservationists see its acres of creosote bush and cholla cactus as a rare habitat for tortoises, pronghorn antelope and an elusive variety of mule deer. Energy companies view its sunbaked plains and windswept ridgelines as prime perches for solar panels and wind turbines. Dirt tracks that wiggle across its sandy washes are testament to its popularity among off-road motorsports enthusiasts.

Until last year, all parties had reached something of an accord. Obama-era rules ensured that portions of California's sunniest public lands would be reserved for conservation; other parts set aside for large-scale solar, wind and geothermal development and mining; and other sections designated for recreation.

But that delicate peace among competing interests could be upended.

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