BLM Takes Major Step to Bring Solar Energy to Arizona



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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today released the Draft Regional Mitigation Strategy for Arizona, building on the planning groundwork established by the BLM's Western Solar Plan, and taking a major step forward in bringing utility-scale solar energy to Arizona.The BLM is asking the public to review and provide comments on the draft strategy during a 30-day comment period that ends Oct. 2.The draft strategy, which was developed with significant stakeholder input, takes a landscape approach to managing solar energy zones (SEZs) on public lands. It identifies those natural and cultural resources that could be impacted by potential solar development, as well as ways to mitigate any unavoidable impacts off-site. The strategy also identifies "non-development areas" based on new information and newly mapped floodplains.This information provides solar developers with more certainty regarding the potential cost of mitigating resource impacts, and provides stakeholders with more assurance that any residual impacts of solar projects on Arizona SEZs would be addressed through mitigation. The draft strategy also proposes a per-acre fee that would fund agreed-upon mitigation measures.Each of the SEZs is required to have a compensatory mitigation strategy, according to the Record of Decision for the BLM's Western Solar Plan, which was completed in 2012.The draft strategy is for SEZs on BLM-managed lands in Arizona: -- Agua Caliente: 2,560 acres in Yuma County-- Brenda: 3,348 acres in La Paz County-- Gillespie: 2,618 in western Maricopa CountyThe Draft Regional Mitigation Strategy can be reviewed at Written comments may be submitted to the BLM Arizona State Office, Once North Central Avenue, Suite 800, Phoenix, AZ 85004, Attention: Lane Cowger or via email to

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.