Western Solar PEIS
Dear Tribal Partners,
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has initiated a process to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) and resource management plan amendments to update its utility-scale solar energy planning on BLM-administered lands. We are following up after our initial invitation for you to participate in Government-to-Government consultation on the programmatic EIS sent on December 5, 2022, and our recent correspondence inviting you to participate in the planning process as a cooperating agency.
The utility-scale solar energy planning effort will cover 11 westerns states: Arizona, California (exclusive of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) planning area), Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. The BLM will consider identifying lands that: may be preferable for solar energy applications, excluded from solar energy development, and which may potentially be available for solar applications under a variance process. The public scoping period closed on March 1, 2023, and the BLM is reviewing public comments and working to develop draft alternatives that would include preferable areas, exclusion areas, and variance areas. We have not yet identified these areas.
As we continue the process by reviewing and evaluating any Tribal concerns, we would like to offer two virtual informational sessions to discuss the planning effort with Tribes. At this early stage, prior to our making any planning decisions, these sessions are intended only for Tribal representatives. At each of the two virtual informational sessions, the BLM will present an overview of the utility-scale solar energy programmatic EIS effort followed by an opportunity for questions and answers. We will provide attendees with the most current information available about the planning effort, including the schedule.
We hope that these two virtual information sessions will be valuable as Tribes prepare for more substantive engagement on development of the draft programmatic EIS. Representatives of BLM leadership from Headquarters and State Offices will participate. Links to register for these meetings are below:
May 10, 2023, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.: Register for this session.
June 14, 2023, 9:00-a.m - 11:00a.m.: Register for this session.
It is a priority for the BLM to further strengthen Government-to-Government relationships by fulfilling our trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations and participating in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation. We understand that Tribal sovereignty and self-governance, as well as honoring the Federal trust responsibility to Tribal Nations, must be the cornerstones of Federal Indian policy.
If you have questions or concerns in advance of the virtual sessions, please BLM_HQ330_Solar@blm.gov or the appropriate BLM State Tribal Liaison at your earliest convenience.