BLM Initiates Environmental Review of Transmission for Solar Project in the California Desert
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will conduct an environmental review on the impacts of a proposed generation-interconnection (gen-tie) transmission line for the Rio Mesa Solar Project in Riverside County, approximately 13 miles southwest of Blythe, Calif. If approved, construction would begin in late 2013 and take approximately 24 months to complete.
Rio Mesa Solar Holdings, LLC requested a right-of-way (ROW) authorization to develop, construct, operate, maintain, and decommission the 10-mile gen-tie line, a three-mile service power line, and three miles of access roads on BLM-managed land. Through an application with the California Energy Commission, the applicant proposes to construct its solar-generation facility on nearby private lands.
BLM, as the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act, will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the site-specific impacts of the proposed grant of the ROW and a proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.
Publication of a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register today initiates a 30-day public-scoping period ending Sept. 28, 2012. During the scoping period, BLM will solicit public comment on issues, concerns, potential impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be considered in the analysis of the proposed action. BLM public scoping meetings will be held at times and locations to be announced at least 15 days in advance. BLM will use the public scoping comments received to prepare the draft environmental documents to be available for public review later this year.
The EIS will analyze the site-specific impacts on air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, water resources, geological resources and hazards, hazardous materials handling, land use, noise, and visual resources and transmission system engineering and transmission line safety.
Further details can be found on the web at http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings/Solar_Projects.html or by contacting Cedric Perry, Project Manager, at (951) 697-5388, or e-mail CARioMesa@blm.gov.