BLM to hold virtual information forum for Maricopa County solar proposals
Projects would add up to 350 MW of clean energy to the Arizona grid
PHOENIX —The Bureau of Land Management will host a virtual forum to share information and receive public input on two right-of-way applications for the proposed Caballero and Southwest Crossroads solar projects. The two projects are within designated solar variance areas in Maricopa County.
The proposal for the Caballero project consists of a 200-megawatt solar facility on 1,278 acres of public lands managed by the BLM about 14 miles west of the city of Maricopa. The proposal for the Southwest Crossroads project would include a 150-megawatt facility on 1,398 acres of BLM-managed public lands about eight miles north of Gila Bend.
As part of the solar variance application process, the BLM gathers information during the public input period and uses that input to inform the BLM’s determination on whether to continue processing the application. If the BLM continues to process a solar variance application, it will be subject to the National Environmental Policy Act review process, including environmental review and additional opportunities for public involvement.
The virtual public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 5 p.m., and is expected to last about 90 minutes. Participants can register in advance via Zoom. BLM staff will provide a short introduction followed by a presentation from the project applicants. Members of the public are invited to ask questions and provide input on the proposal. The meeting will be recorded and posted to the BLM Arizona YouTube channel.
Interested parties may also submit comments until Sept. 8, 2023, via email at BLM_AZ_PDO_Solar@blm.gov (preferred) or via mail to the Lower Sonoran Field Office, Attn: Matt Drahnak, 2020 E. Bell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85022. Project information, including maps and preliminary environmental screening, is available on the BLM National NEPA Register.
The BLM manages vast stretches of public lands that have the potential to make significant contributions to the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. To promote the development of these energy sources, the BLM provides sites for environmentally sound development of renewable energy on public lands. The efficient deployment of renewable energy from our nation’s public lands is crucial in achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’ direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.