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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
California Desert District
 
Release Date: 02/15/13
Contacts: Stephen Razo , 951-697-5217  
  David Briery , 951-697-5220  
News Release No. CA-CDD-13-31

BLM Releases Final Environmental Review for Alta East Wind Project in Kern County


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a proposed wind energy project on public lands in Southern California, suggesting a preferred alternative with a smaller footprint to reduce environmental impacts to wildlife and woodland habitat.

Alta Windpower Development, LLC has requested a right-of-way authorization to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission the up to 318-megawatt Alta East Wind Project. The project is proposed on about 2,592 acres on the north and south sides of State Route 58 in southeastern Kern County, California. The proposed project would include wind turbines, access roads, energy collection lines, and ancillary facilities on 2,024 acres of public land and 568 acres of private land.

The BLM’s preferred alternative in the FEIS has a smaller acreage footprint than the original proposal, and reduces impacts identified in the Draft EIS issued in June 2012. The preferred alternative would reduce the size of the project from 2,024 acres of public lands to 1,705 -- with a corresponding reduction in electrical output from 318 megawatts to 291 megawatts.

The smaller footprint avoids impacts to desert tortoise and some Joshua tree woodland habitat adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition, it reduces impacts to golden eagles by eliminating nine turbines closest to three active nests. The preferred alternative would result in a total of 97 wind turbines.

The final EIS also includes a proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.

Publication of the Environmental Protection Agency NOA in the Federal Register initiates a public protest period of 30 days, ending Monday, March 18. During the protest period, the BLM will work with the protestors to address issues and concerns and attempt to resolve those protests.

For information, contact Jeffery Childers at (951) 697-5308, or e-mail jchilders@blm.gov.




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

Last updated: 02-20-2013