[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 127 (Friday, July 1, 2011)]
[Pages 38680-38681]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-16556]



Bureau of Land Management

[LLCAD070000, L91310000, EI0000]

Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement for the West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation 
Area, Imperial Valley, California, and the Draft California Desert 
Conservation Plan Amendment

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 
prepared a Draft California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan 
Amendment, and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 
West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation Area. By this 
notice, the BLM is announcing the opening of the comment period.

DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the Draft CDCA Plan Amendment and Draft EIS within 
90 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency 
publishes its Notice of Availability for the Draft EIS in the Federal 
Register. The BLM will announce future meetings or hearings and any 
other public involvement activities at least 15 days in advance through 
public notices, media releases, and/or mailings.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the West Chocolate 
Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation Area by any of the following 
     E-mail: wcm_comments@blm.gov.
     Fax: (951) 697-5299.
     Mail: Bureau of Land Management, California Desert 
District Office, 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, 
California 92533-9046, Attn: Peter Godfrey.
    Copies of the Draft EIS and Draft CDCA Plan Amendment for the West 
Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation Area are available in 

[[Page 38681]]

California Desert District Office at the above address; at the El 
Centro Field Office at 1661 S. 4th Street, El Centro, California; and 
the Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office at 1201 Bird Center Drive, 
Palm Springs, California.

telephone (719) 852-6213; or e-mail jvieira@blm.gov. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above 
individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours 
a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above 
individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Draft EIS analyzes the potential 
environmental impacts associated with amending the CDCA Plan to make 
available approximately 20,762 acres of BLM-managed surface lands 
(acquired lands included) for solar, wind and geothermal testing and 
development in a renewable energy evaluation area located near Niland, 
California. The Draft EIS also analyzes the potential environmental 
impacts of approving a pending geothermal lease application within the 
renewable energy evaluation area.
    This CDCA Draft Plan Amendment/Draft EIS analyzes 6 alternatives, 
including (1) No Action Alternative (the CDCA Plan would not be 
amended, and existing plan decisions, stipulations, and allocations 
would not change as a direct result of this planning process), (2) No 
Development Alternative, (3) Renewable Energy Development Emphasis, (4) 
Geothermal Development Only, (5) Solar Development Emphasis with 
Moderate Geothermal Development and No Wind Development, and (6) 
Geothermal Development Emphasis with Moderate Solar Development and No 
Wind Development. If an alternative is selected that establishes the 
evaluation area as available for solar energy development, it will be 
identified as a solar energy zone.
    The principal issues identified thus far include Native American 
concerns; potential land use conflicts including recreation; cumulative 
impacts considering existing, proposed, and potential geothermal 
projects in the area; and potential impacts on cultural resources, 
wildlife, visual resources, and surface and groundwater resources. The 
Draft EIS also addresses geology, mining, geothermal resources, 
vegetation, threatened or endangered species, air quality, noise, 
transportation, human health and safety, and social and economic 
issues, as well as other issues raised during the scoping process.
    The Draft EIS identifies stipulations and mitigation measures that 
could be applied to future energy projects. This document will not 
authorize any specific energy developments at this time. Additional 
project-specific environmental analyses would need to be conducted 
before on-the-ground development activities could occur.
    The BLM, in compliance with FLPMA, NEPA, and all other relevant 
Federal laws, Executive orders, and management policies of the BLM, 
used an interdisciplinary approach in developing the EIS, working 
collaboratively in order to consider the variety of resource issues and 
concerns identified.
    Please note that public comments and information submitted 
including names, street addresses, and e-mail addresses of persons who 
submit comments will be available for public review and disclosure at 
the above address during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), 
Monday through Friday, except holidays.
    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.

    Authority:  40 CFR 1506.6, 1506.10, and 43 CFR 1610.2.

Teresa Raml,
California Desert District Manager.
[FR Doc. 2011-16556 Filed 6-30-11; 8:45 am]