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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
California Desert District
 
Release Date: 11/23/09
Contacts: Stephen Razo , 951-697-5217 , email: srazo@ca.blm.gov
News Release No. CA-CDD-10-15

BLM Initiates Environmental Review of Solar Project in California Desert


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to conduct an environmental review on the impacts of Solar Millennium’s proposed Ridgecrest Solar Power Plant (RSPP), in Kern County, California.

Solar Millennium LLC, has applied to the BLM for a right-of-way (ROW) on public lands to construct a 250-megawatt (MW) dry-cooling, parabolic trough, solar thermal, electric power plant facility.  The project site is located on both sides of Brown Road, southwest of Highway 395, approximately five miles southwest of Ridgecrest, Calif.

The BLM, as the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the CEC, as the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), intend to jointly prepare a preliminary staff assessment/draft environmental impact statement (PSA/DEIS) to analyze the site-specific impacts of the proposed grant of the right-of-way and a proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.  Under federal law, BLM is responsible for processing requests for ROWs to authorize such proposed projects and associated transmission lines on land it manages.  Under California law, the CEC is responsible for reviewing the application for certification (AFC) filed for thermal power plants over 50 MW and also has the role of lead agency for the environmental review of such projects under CEQA.

The EIS will analyze the site-specific impacts on air quality; biological, geological, cultural, visual, and water resources; hazards and hazardous materials handling; land use; noise; transmission system engineering and transmission line safety. 

Publication of the NOI initiates a public scoping and information hearing period of 30 days, ending December 23, 2009.  During the scoping period, the BLM and CEC will solicit public comment on issues, concerns, potential impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be considered in the analysis of the proposed action.  The BLM and CEC public meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through local news media and the BLM website at http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/ridgecrest.html  The BLM and CEC will use the public comments received to prepare the PSA/DEIS to be available for public review anticipated in early 2010.

Further details can be found at the BLM web page: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/ridgecrest.html and the CEC’s website at http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_ridgecrest/index.html.  

For information contact Janet Eubanks, BLM project lead at carspp@blm.gov  or Eric Solorio, CEC project lead at esolorio@energy.state.ca.us.




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California Desert District   22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553  

Last updated: 11-23-2009