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Notice

West Fry Wind Energy LLC, California Desert District, Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and To Amend the California Desert Conservation Area Plan

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of Intent.

SUMMARY:

Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Barstow Field Office, Barstow, California, will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the development and operation of a wind energy farm on public lands in the West Fry Mountains northeast of Lucerne Valley, California to meet the requirements of NEPA. The project and associated ancillary facilities will require one or more BLM right-of-way authorizations. Pursuant to the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan, new power generation projects must be evaluated through the planning process. By this notice the BLM is announcing a 45-day period for public scoping of alternatives, issues, the scope of the direct, indirect, and cumulative analysis for this proposal and associated planning criteria. In addition, BLM is requesting the views of other agencies as to the scope and content of the environmental information that is germane to the statutory responsibilities or areas of expertise for your agencies in connection with the proposed project and the analysis of its impacts.

DATES:

This notice initiates the public scoping process. Requests for participation in the development of this EIS as a cooperating or participating agency, and comments on issues or alternatives related to this proposal must be received within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register, and may be submitted in writing to the address listed below. Additionally, at least two scoping meetings will be held to encourage public input. The public meetings will be announced through the local news media, newspapers, and the BLM Web site (http://www.ca.blm.gov/​barstow) at least 15 days prior to the event. Additional opportunities for public participation will be provided upon publication of the draft EIS.

ADDRESSES:

Requests for participation in the EIS development by agencies, requests to be added to the mailing list, and comments on the scope and content of the EIS should be sent to Edy Seehafer, Environmental Coordinator, Bureau of Land Management, Barstow Field Office, 2601 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311, by fax at 760-252-6099, or e-mail at cabaeis@ca.blm.gov. A follow-up hard copy is requested when comments are sent by fax or e-mail, to assure readability. Documents pertinent to this proposal, including comments with the names and addresses of respondents, will be available for public review Monday through Friday, except holidays, at the BLM Barstow Field Office located at 2601 Barstow Road, Barstow, California, during regular business hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and may be published as part of the EIS. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations and businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be available for public inspection in their entirety.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

EIS/EIR Process: Edy Seehafer, 760-252-6021, or cabaeis@ca.blm.gov. Technical Information: Joan Patrovsky, 760-252-6032, or jpatrovs@ca.blm.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

West Fry Wind Energy, LLC has applied for a right of way on public lands to construct a wind energy generating facility in the West Fry Mountains in San Bernardino County, California. The 3,100 acre project site is northeast of Lucerne Valley, on public lands managed as the Johnson Valley Off Highway Vehicle area. The proposed project is comprised of (1) A main access road from the northwest (off Camp Rock Road); (2) other internal access roads; (3) up to 34 wind turbine generators, each up to 425 feet tall; (4) associated pad-mounted transformers; (5) an underground electrical collection system; (6) a new 230 kV electrical substation; (7) a 500-ft 230 kV overhead transmission line from the substation to a new switchyard; (8) the new switchyard where the project would interconnect to Start Printed Page 30151Southern California Edison's Pisgah No.2, 230 kV line; (9) an operations and maintenance (O&M) building; (10) underground communication lines; and (11) two permanent meteorological towers. The O&M facility would be on a separate BLM parcel located approximately 7 miles from the wind energy facility. The proposed project would take approximately 7 months to construct.

Issues that are anticipated to be addressed in this EIS and plan amendment include impacts to visual resources, noise, birds, socioeconomics, OHV use, hiking, hunting, electrical transmission capacity, and cumulative impacts. The CDCA Plan (1980, as amended), while recognizing the potential compatibility of wind generation facilities on public lands, requires that all power generating facilities be considered through the planning process. Planning criteria for consideration of a CDCA plan amendment to provide for power generation at this site include:

a. The plan amendment will be completed in compliance with FLPMA, NEPA and all other applicable Federal and State laws, Executive orders, and management policies of the BLM;

b. The plan amendment will recognize and conform to previous site-specific planning decisions from BLM regional and bioregional plans;

c. Where existing planning decisions are still valid, those decisions will remain unchanged;

d. Where appropriate, this EIS will reference the BLM Programmatic Wind EIS (2005);

e. For the purposes of cumulative analysis, past, present, and reasonably foreseeable projects will be those alternative energy projects which have been approved, or for which a draft or final plan of development has been received, or is anticipated prior to the release of the draft or final EIS, within the CDCA;

f. The plan amendment and any rights-of way issued will recognize valid existing rights; and

g. Interagency and Native American Tribal consultations will be conducted in accordance with policy, and will be given due consideration. The planning process will include the consideration of impacts on Indian trust assets, other jurisdictions, and agencies. Copies of the environmental assessment and initial study are not attached. Pursuant to NEPA Departmental Guidelines, in 516 DM 11.4, the Bureau of Land Management has opted to forego preparation of an environmental assessment and proceed directly to a draft EIS.

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Dated: May 12, 2008.

Roxie C. Trost,

Field Manager, Barstow Field Office.

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[FR Doc. E8-11602 Filed 5-22-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-40-P