U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
BLM Approves the Sunrise Powerlink Project
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today signed a record of decision (ROD) approving the southern route alternative for the Sunrise Powerlink transmission project proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) designed to help met state renewable energy goals.
BLM California State Director Mike Pool signed the decision to offer a right-of-way grant and temporary use permit to SDG&E with extensive mitigating terms and conditions, including those in the biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. Once SDG&E agrees to the conditions, the BLM will then issue the grant and permit for the power line.
"Approval of this critical transmission line is a significant step forward for California and the nation in upgrading our ability to more efficiently transport power and bring future renewable energy sources on line. California is at the forefront of this effort, and where appropriate, public lands will play a vital role toward energy independence," Pool said.
Pool also approved an amendment to the agency’s Eastern San Diego County Resource Management Plan regarding the power line. His actions are consistent with a separate decision issued December 18, 2008, by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approving the project, available at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/aspen/sunrise/D08-12-058.pdf. In its decision, the commission states, "We are convinced that approval of Sunrise will help to unlock the potential of one of the richest renewable energy regions in California."
Both BLM's and the CPUC's decisions note the extensive environmental and public review that have been conducted since SDG&E's application was filed in 2005. Both decisions avoid impacts to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, one of the original proposal's more controversial aspects.
BLM's decision authorizes issuance of right-of-way grant to SDG&E for the final environmentally superior southern route alternative as analyzed in the final EIS/EIR, issued in October 2008. The approved route crosses 48.9 miles of BLM land, 19.2 miles of U.S. Forest Service land, 2.0 miles of Department of Defense land, and 0.4 miles of state land. The approved route is described in detail and shown on maps in the final EIS/EIR, available at CPUC’s website http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/aspen/sunrise/sunrise.htm.
The ROD is available on BLM’s website at http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/ca/pdf/elcentro/nepa/2007/eis.Par.9361.File.dat/ROD-SunrisePowerlinkJan2009.pdf
A notice of availability of the ROD will be published in the Federal Register, shortly. A 30-day appeal period will begin upon publication in the Federal Register. Details on appealing BLM's decision to the Interior Board of Land Appeals are provided in the ROD. For further information, contact BLM's El Centro Field Office, phone (760) 337-4400.
California Desert District Office – 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553- (951) 697-5217