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Energy

OHV questions Soda Mountains Solar Project decision

June 17, 2015

James Ramos, Chairman
Robert Lovingood, Vice Chairman
San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors San Bernardino County Government Center 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., Fifth Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0110

 

Re: Soda Mountain Solar Project

Dear Supervisors Ramos and Lovingood,

We are writing to urge you to request an extension of the protest period and additional public hearings on the BLM's Final EIS for the Soda Mountain Solar project (CA 49584).

San Bernardino County has long supported off highway vehicle recreation on BLM lands. OHV use by county residents is among the highest in the state, and OHV opportunities in the county attract millions of visits and contribute billions of dollars.

On January 31, 2013, OHV leaders met with representatives of the BLM and Soda Mountain Solar and received assurances that the project would not encroach on the adjacent Rasor Off Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, and that they would keep OHV leaders abreast of developments. However, in reviewing the Final EIS dated June 2015, we find that the project will now take 52 acres away from the Rasor OHV Area.

This loss of OHV opportunity is a surprise to us because it was not suggested by any of the alternatives in the Draft EIS, nor were OHV leaders contacted by the BLM or project planners with respect to this change. We are confused by this breach of assurances and bothered by the continuing erosion of our OHV opportunities in San Bernardino County.

Therefore, due to the significant differences between the Draft and Final EIS documents and this disturbing change in the project footprint, we urge you to request that the BLM extend the protest period on the project by an additional 90 days, and that the BLM hold a new round of public meetings to explain the changes.

 

Sincerely,

American Motorcyclists Association, District 37 P.O. Box 1007
Yorba Linda, CA 92885

Blue Ribbon Coalition 4555 Burley Drive, Suite A Pocatello, ID 83202

American Sand Association PO Box 24638
Tempe, AZ 85285

California Four Wheel Drive Association 8120 36th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95824

California Off Road Vehicle Association 1500 West El Camino Ave. #352 Sacramento, CA 95833

Off Road Business Association 1701 Westwind Drive #108 Bakersfield, CA 93301

Friends of Rasor Road
15401 Chemical Lane Huntington Beach, CA 92649

cc:
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator
The Honorable Col. Paul Cook (Ret.), Member, United States House of Representatives
Mr. Jeffery Childers, Project Manager, BLM California Desert District

 


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Power Transmission Construction Permits Rules Eased

Nine Federal Agencies Agree to Expedite Permitting of Power Transmission Construction on Federal Lands

WASHINGTON (Oct 28, 2009) – Obama Administration officials today released a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by nine Federal Departments and Agencies to make it faster and simpler to build transmission lines on Federal lands. The goal of the agreement is to speed approval of new transmission lines, reduce expense and uncertainty in the process, generate cost savings, increase accessibility to renewable energy and jumpstart job creation.

As President Obama announced in his speech yesterday, the agreement “will help break down the bureaucratic barriers that currently make it slow and costly to build new transmission lines on federal lands.”

The MOU has been signed by the Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Read more: Power Transmission Construction Permits Rules Eased

21st Century Power Transmission Grid Policy Stated

Salazar Details Administration’s Policy Push to Build 21st Century Power Transmission Grid

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept 30, 2009) – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told energy industry officials today that the federal government’s past electric transmission policy has been as fragmented and disjointed as the nation’s outdated power grid and that one of President Obama’s top energy priorities is to speed the development of a 21st Century network to move American energy more cleanly, efficiently and safely around the nation.

“The President’s economic recovery plan makes an unprecedented $11 billion federal investment in building a better and smarter electric grid,” Salazar said in keynote remarks for a Transmission Policy Summit at the National Press Club. “The Administration is using a Cabinet-level working group to develop a unified, forward-looking strategy for siting, cost allocation, and coordinating the permitting for proposed transmission projects.  And Interior is fast-tracking a number of projects that are environmentally sound.”

Read more: 21st Century Power Transmission Grid Policy Stated

New BLM Office to Speed Renewable Energy Projects

Secretary Salazar, Director Abbey Open Renewable Energy Coordination Office in California to Speed Project Processing

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (Oct 9, 2009) – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey today officially opened a California Renewable Energy Coordination Office, one of several Interior initiatives to expedite the leasing and production of renewable energy resources on public lands in the West.

“These offices in California, Nevada, Arizona and Wyoming, along with our renewable permitting teams in six other western states, will help to swiftly complete application reviews on the most ready-to-go and environmentally appropriate solar, wind, and geothermal projects on U.S. public lands,” Salazar said. “In California the coordinating office will enable us to balance vital renewable energy development with the needed protection of sensitive resources in the California Desert Conservation Area.”

Read more: New BLM Office to Speed Renewable Energy Projects

Desert Solar Energy Project To Be Reviewed

BLM and Energy Commission Initiate Environmental Review of Solar Project in California Desert

(June 8, 2009) - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today published a Notice of Intent to conduct a joint environmental review with the California Energy Commission on the impacts of a proposed solar energy project, Stirling Energy System's (SES) Solar One, in San Bernardino County.

SES Solar One, LLC has applied to BLM for a right-of-way (ROW) on public lands to construct a concentrated solar thermal power plant facility.  The proposed Solar One project would be constructed on an estimated 8,230-acre site, approximately 37 miles east of Barstow and 115 miles northeast of Los Angeles, near the community of Newberry Springs. 

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.  The Energy Commission is the lead California agency for the licensing of thermal power plants over 50 megawatts and for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, including preparation of preliminary and final staff assessments (SA).

Read more: Desert Solar Energy Project To Be Reviewed

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