U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
BLM Arizona is applying the principles outlined by national BLM directives to consider regions as a whole in establishing mitigation policy. The Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy (SRMS) program follows best practices developed and employed by BLM Nevada in its mitigation plan for the Dry Lake SEZ.
Under the strategy, BLM Arizona is considering the potential impacts that utility-scale energy projects would create within the SEZs and surrounding areas. The BLM Arizona SRMS program is designed to identify potential impacts on natural resources in advance of an applicant seeking to build on the land. The strategy will help steer applicants away from conflicts or provide a means of offsetting impacts through compensation elsewhere.
The strategy also proposes to set a per-acre fee for developers that would fund agreed-upon mitigation measures. The industry favors this practice because potential costs are identified before developers propose a project on public land.
BLM Arizona has approved construction of Sonoran Solar in Maricopa County, Quartzsite Solar in La Paz County and the Mohave County Wind Farm. Construction has not started on these projects because their proponents have not secured power purchase agreements to sell the electricity that would be produced. BLM Arizona has one additional solar project application, and the Dry Lake Wind Farm is operating on BLM and Arizona State Trust Lands in northeastern Arizona.
Work could begin on the approved projects in a relatively short time.