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California Desert District
Release Date: 07/29/13
Contacts: David Briery, (951) 697-5220    
  Stephen Razo, (951) 697-5217    
News Release No. CA-CDD-13-51

BLM Releases Environmental Study for Solar Project near El Centro

The Bureau of Land Management has released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Proposed California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan Amendment for the proposed San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) Ocotillo Sol Solar Energy Project in Imperial County, Calif. for public review.

SDG&E has applied to the BLM for a right-of-way on public lands to construct a solar photovoltaic power plant facility on about 115 acres nine miles southwest of El Centro and 82 miles east of San Diego.

If approved by the BLM, the project would be a peak 20-megawatt photovoltaic project with construction planned to begin in late winter 2013 or early 2014.  The project would utilize solar panels and would be built in a single phase.  It would connect to the existing SDG&E Imperial Valley Substation to its immediate north via a buried 12.47-kilovolt cable.

The FEIS/Proposed Plan Amendment analyzes the site-specific impacts on air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, fire and fuels, geology and soil resources, greenhouse gases and climate change, lands and realty, noise, paleontological resources, public health and safety, recreation, socioeconomics and environmental justice, special designations, lands with wilderness characteristics, transportation and public access, water resources, and visual resources.

The FEIS/Proposed Plan Amendment describes the following three alternatives:  1) No Action/No CDCA Plan Amendment; 2) the Applicant’s Proposed Project to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission a 100-acre solar PV facility on BLM-managed lands under an authorized ROW, plus utilization of a 15-acre temporary ROW for construction laydown; and 3) a Reduced Footprint Alternative which would retain the 100-acre facility, but reduce the laydown area from 15 acres to 2 acres.  All of the alternatives except the No Action/No CDCA Plan Amendment would include an amendment to the CDCA Plan.  Alternative 3 is the preferred alternative in the FEIS.

The Environmental Protection Agency published a notice in today’s Federal Register that initiates a 30-day public protest period.  The BLM will publish a more detailed Federal Register Notice for the FEIS/Proposed Plan amendment. The public protest period ends August 19, 2013..  You may also contact Noel Ludwig, BLM Project Manager, at (951) 697-5368 or at

Further details on the proposed project, including public protest procedures and mailing addresses, can be found at

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Last updated: 07-29-2013