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--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on preserving and connecting California's Parks & Wildlife Corridors


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Solar power plans for CA Desert from the feds and L.A....

Feds Target 1.7% of the land in California for Solar Power facilities (OK, 1.7 million acres), but say much less than that will be used

From the Fed's notice:
In California,  1,766,543 acres of land would be available under the solar energy development program alternative. Four SEZs would be identified: Imperial East (5,722 acres), Iron Mountain (106,522 acres), Pisgah (23,950 acres), and Riverside East (202,896 acres).

Public Comment on the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIS):

The Draft Solar PEIS is now available for public review, as detailed in the “Notice of Availability for the PEIS” published in the Federal Register on December 17, 2010 ( The Notice provides information on dates, times, and locations of public meetings on the PEIS, and solicits public comments. Comments can be submitted using the Public Comment Form on the Solar PEIS website (

For More Information Information about the Solar PEIS is available on the Public Information website (



This press release says "reasonably foreseeable solar energy development is anticipated on only about 214,000 acres of the suitable and appropriate BLM lands in 6 western states."


12/16/2010--The Wilderness Society studied the 24 areas initially suggested by the BLM and this month and identified two that aren’t suitable for development, said Alex Daue, a spokesman for the society.
One is the 110,000-acre Iron Mountain zone in California, located between the Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave Desert National Preserve.
“A couple of the zones are inappropriate for large-scale solar development,” Daue said in a telephone interview. “Iron Mountain should be taken off their map.”
The Wilderness Society plans to work with other environmental groups and the Interior Department to promote development at the solar zones it considers best suited for large-scale energy plants, Daue said. It will do so during a 90- day comment period that begins when the document is published in the federal register, he said.
“We support solar development on most of the zones and we want the BLM to ensure projects are built within those zones,” Daue said.


Solar Project near Ridgecrest opposed by Fed's advisory committee:
6/29/2010--Steering committee opposes solar project

Ridgecrest, Calif. —
The Bureau of Land Management Steering Committee, at its meeting Thursday, voted 12-1 to approve a letter stating its opposition to Solar Millennium's proposed solar-power-plant project. Committee Member Dave Matthews cast the dissenting vote.
…He said the committee members represent certain entities in the Indian Wells Valley. “We represent their beliefs of what they would like to see or what they wouldn't like to see.”
The committee's letter states the project would use approximately 600,000 gallons of water a day during construction, 200,000 gallons a day during operations and 191,000 gallons of propane a year.
The letter also stated a concern the project would disturb 2,000 acres of top soil known to contain spores that cause valley fever and the proximity of the disturbed soil to human population that includes children and the elderly.
…The committee's letter stated the draft EIS does not comply with CEQA and NEPA regarding full and frank discussion of alternative sites.
“Preference is to be given to land that has already had disturbance,” it said.
According to the letter, the Garlock alternative has such a disturbance and is not located nearly as close to communities and individuals as the proposed site.
“DEIS discussion of the site does not indicate it has the wildlife issues (ground squirrel, tortoise) that the RSPP has,” said the letter.
It also states the draft document does not comply with the state and national acts regarding full and frank discussion of alternative energy sources, and the southern project area sits squarely within the northern gateway to the El Paso Mountains — one of the most popular recreational destinations in the Desert District.


Plus--L.A. Plans Solar "Ranch" in Owens Valley
FROM Eastern Sierra Land Trust-10/14/2010:

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announces plans for 3000 acre Owens Valley "Solar Ranch"

LADWP is preparing an Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, which would provide 200 megawatts of energy from photovoltaic solar panels. Two potential sites are being considered for this 3000 acre development. The northern site is located northeast of Lone Pine, east of the Owens River. The second site is just east of HWY 395 and north of Owens Lake. More info about the upcoming scoping meeting and where to send comments can be found here: Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch.

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