Bureau of Land Management proceeds with processing of the Copper Rays Solar Project Application
LAS VEGAS – The BLM has completed the initial evaluation of the Copper Rays Solar Project right-of-way application in coordination with appropriate federal, state, and local agencies and Tribes; and public outreach.
“After careful consideration of the evaluation conducted, the BLM will continue processing the application and proceed with initiation of the National Environmental Policy Act process,” said Nicholas Pay, Pahrump Field Office Manager. “Sensibly deployed renewable energy projects like Copper Rays will contribute to our goals for a clean energy future and help to combat the threats of climate change.”
BLM hosted two virtual information forums on the Zoom platform on December 2021 to gather public input. These meetings provided a description of the application evaluation process, information on the proposed Copper Rays Solar Project, and the opportunity to ask questions and provide public input. The virtual information forums were attended by 59 individuals and 40 comments were received at the two information forums. Additionally, 67 input submissions were received during the input period for the Copper Rays Solar Project. The BLM also conducted an agency meeting with federal, state, local, and Tribal governments for the Pahrump Valley solar projects, including the Copper Rays Solar Project and provided an agency input period. The virtual meeting was attended by 16 agencies and four comment letters were received during the input period. The BLM sent letters to and conducted field trips for Native American tribes to assess initial interest on the Project and invite the tribes to initiate formal government-to-government consultation. The review of the input that BLM received regarding this project has not raised any issues or concerns that would preclude the continued processing of this application. Tribal Consultation for the Copper Rays Solar Project is ongoing.
The next step for the Copper Rays Solar Project in the National Environmental Policy Act process would be publication of the Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, which starts the public scoping process and comment period. Comments made during the initial evaluation will be further considered during the National Environmental Policy Act process for the Copper Rays Solar Project.
Copper Rays Solar Project is a proposed 700 MW utility-scale photovoltaic solar power generation and battery storage facility on approximately 5,127 acres of BLM-managed public land located in the Pahrump Valley in Nye County immediately adjacent to the county line, southeast of the Town of Pahrump and approximately 40 miles west of Las Vegas.
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.
Proceeding with processing the Copper Rays Solar Project does not render Copper Rays Solar Project approval or otherwise entitle the applicant in any way, nor does it create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person. The application evaluation package, Input Summary Report, and additional information for the Copper Rays Solar Project can be found at https://go.usa.gov/xekXJ.
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.