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California Desert District
Release Date: 12/14/12
Contacts: David Briery , (951) 697-5220 and  
  Steve Razo , (951) 697-5217  
News Release No. CDD-13-24

BLM Extends Comment Period for West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation Area

The Bureau of Land Management is extending until Jan. 14, 2013, the protest period for the West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation Area (REEA) of Imperial County, California.

The BLM released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) and Proposed California Desert Conservation Plan Amendment for the area in late November.

The Final EIS analyzes the potential impacts of making 20,762 acres of BLM-managed surface lands in the REEA available for testing and developing solar and wind energy facilities and for leasing 19,162 acres of federal mineral estate near Niland, Calif., for geothermal energy testing and development.  The Final EIS also analyzes the potential environmental impacts of approving a pending geothermal lease application in the REEA.

The preferred alternative in the Final EIS would open the REEA to geothermal energy development and create a new Solar Energy Zone there, providing incentives for future solar development in the area. 

If a Solar Energy Zone is created, any proposed renewable energy project would undergo a site-specific environmental review.  Under the preferred alternative, the BLM would restrict development around riparian areas and in sensitive habitat within the REEA, and would not allow certain renewable energy technologies, such as wind turbines, that would conflict with local military operations.

For more information contact Sandra McGinnis, Project Manager, California State Office at (916) 978-4427 or email:


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

Last updated: 12-14-2012