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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
California Desert District Office
 
Release Date: 11/27/13
Contacts: Stephen Razo (951) 697-5217; email: srazo@ca.blm.gov    
News Release No. CA-CDD-14-11

BLM Invites Public Comment on Draft Environmental Review for Soda Mountain Photovoltaic Solar Project near Baker


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will open a 90-day public comment period on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzing the proposed Soda Mountain Solar Project on public lands in San Bernardino County, California.

The BLM will publish in Friday's Federal Register a Notice of Availability of the Draft Joint EIS and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) as well as a California Desert Conservation Area Plan amendment analyzing the proposed project.

Soda Mountain Solar, LLC, has requested a right-of-way authorization to construct, operate, maintain and decommission a photovoltaic facility along with the necessary ancillary facilities, including a project substation, access road, realignment of an existing route, operations and maintenance buildings and lay-down areas. The proposed project site is six miles southwest of Baker, California on 4,179 acres with the solar field occupying about 2,557 acres.

If approved by the BLM, the project would have a peak production of 358 megawatts, providing enough electricity to power 116,300 homes. The project would utilize solar panels and would be built in several phases starting in late summer 2014. It would connect to the existing Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's 500kV transmission line via a proposed substation. 

The BLM prepared the Draft EIS and plan amendment in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The Draft EIS analyzes the site-specific impacts on air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, fire and fuels, geology and soil resources, greenhouse gases and climate change, hazardous materials handling, lands and realty, noise, paleontological resources, public health and safety, recreation, socioeconomics and environmental justice, special designations, transportation and public access, water resources, and visual resources.

San Bernardino County, as the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act, analyzed the project in the EIR in support of required permits for water extraction. 

During the public comment period, which closes February 26, 2014, the BLM will solicit input on issues, concerns, potential impacts and mitigation measures considered in the analysis of the proposed action. A public meeting will be held in Barstow, California. Details on that meeting will be available to the public 15 days in advance. The BLM will consider the public comments in its preparation of the Final EIS, which would be available for public review early next year.

Further details can be found at the BLM web page: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/cdd.html. For information contact Jeff Childers, Project Manager, (951) 697-5308, or e-mail sodamtnsolar@blm.gov.




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

Last updated: 11-27-2013