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California Desert District
Release Date: 02/10/10
Contacts: Stephen Razo , 951-697-5217 ,
News Release No. CA-CDD-10-33

BLM Initiates Environmental Review of Proposed West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Project

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today published a notice of intent (NOI) to conduct an environmental review on a proposal to consider renewable energy development, including geothermal, solar, and wind, on public lands within the West Chocolate Mountains area, near the Salton Sea in Imperial County, east of Niland and northeast of El Centro, California.

The proposed project areas covers approximately 21,300 acres of BLM-managed public lands bordered by the Imperial/Riverside County line on the north, the Chocolate Mountains Aerial Bombing and Gunnery Range on the east, the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area on the south and the Imperial Valley agricultural belt on the west.

Publication of the NOI initiates a public scoping period of 30 days, ending March 12, 2010.  During the scoping period, the BLM solicits public comment on issues, concerns, potential impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be considered in the analysis of the proposed action.  The date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through local media and the BLM Website at:  In order to be considered in the draft environmental impact statement (EIS), all comments must be received prior to the close of the scoping period or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later.  We will provide additional opportunities for public participation upon publication of the draft EIS.

The principal issues identified thus far include hydrology; Native American concerns; cumulative impacts of other existing or proposed energy projects in the area; and potential impacts on cultural resources, wildlife, recreation and visual resources.  The draft EIS will also address issues such as geology, geothermal resources, vegetation, threatened or endangered species, air quality, noise, transportation, human health and safety, and socioeconomics, as well as any additional issues raised by the public during the scoping process.

Public comments received will be used in the development of a draft EIS in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.  Written comments should be submitted to the BLM's California Desert District Office, Attn: John Dalton, Chocolate Mountains Geothermal Leasing Coordinator, 22835 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, California 92553. 

For more information contact John Dalton at (951) 697-5311 or e-mail, or Daniel Steward, BLM El Centro Field Office branch chief (760) 337-4400 or e-mail


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

Last updated: 02-11-2010