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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
California State Office
 
Release Date: 11/20/14
Contacts: Dana Wilson, (916) 978-4622, dmwilson@blm.gov    
News Release No. CA-SO-15-06

BLM Rejects Solar Development in Silurian Valley


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today it has rejected an application for a solar energy right-of-way in the Silurian Valley in San Bernardino County, Calif.

The project application, submitted by a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, LLC, had proposed a 200 megawatt photovoltaic solar project on 1,616 acres about 10 miles north of Baker along highway 127. The BLM determined that the solar project would not be in the public interest after undergoing a rigorous review process in accordance with the BLM's Western Solar Plan.

The Plan, approved in October 2012, created Solar Energy Zones across the West where solar energy projects would be prioritized. The Plan does allow for solar development outside of Solar Energy Zones, however applications in these variance areas must go through a review process based on required factors specified in the Plan before determining if the area is suitable for solar development.

In making its determination on the Silurian Valley project, the BLM analyzed environmental data in addition to gathering information from the public and local, state, federal and tribal governments. The initial review and analysis indicated that the impacts to the Silurian Valley, a largely undisturbed valley that supports wildlife, an important piece of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, and recreational and scenic values, had too great of an impact on the resources. The BLM concluded that these impacts likely could not be mitigated and that the project would not be in the public interest.

The BLM has approved 18 solar, wind and geothermal projects on public lands in California since 2010. The Silurian Valley project is the first to be denied through the variance process.




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Last updated: 11-20-2014