FINAL EIR ISSUED FOR SDG&E'S PROPOSED OCOTILLO SOL SOLAR PROJECT

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August 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Gas & Electric’s Ocotillo Sol Solar Project Final Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed California Desert Conservation Area Plan Amendment were published last week in the federal register. See notice http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-07-26/html/2013-17870.htm and links to full documents here: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/nepa/ocotillosol.html. The project follows on the heels of a controversial Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility recently built that has raised many serious environmental, tribal and community concerns. An earlier desert solar project proposed for Ocotillo was blocked by a tribal lawsuit, as ECM previously reported: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/4801

 
The BLM announcement states that the comment period is closed but that protests may still be sent regarding the 115-acre project on public lands. 
 
The BLM has received a right-of-way (ROW) application from SDG&E to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission the Ocotillo Sol Solar Project, a solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant facility, on approximately 115 acres of BLM-administered public lands in Imperial County, California. The site for the solar facility would be adjacent to the existing Imperial Valley Substation (IVS), 4 miles south of Interstate 8, approximately 5 miles north of the United States-Mexico border, 5 miles south of Seeley, 9 miles southwest of El Centro, and 82 miles east of San Diego. The proposed project site is located within the BLM's CDCA, the BLM's Yuha Basin Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and the Yuha Desert Management Area for flat-tailed horned lizard. A portion of the north-south running Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail lies approximately 5 miles southwest of the project site at its closest point. The Jacumba Mountains Wilderness lies 11.7 miles to the west of the project site.
 
DATES: BLM planning regulations state that any person who meets the conditions as described in the regulations may protest the Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment. A person who meets the conditions and files a protest must file the protest within 30 days of the date that the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its notice of availability for the EIS in the Federal Register.
 
ADDRESSES: Copies of the Ocotillo Sol Solar Project Final EIS/Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment have been sent to affected Federal, State, and local government agencies and to other stakeholders, including tribal governments. 
 
Copies are also available in the BLM California Desert District Office at 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553 and at the El Centro Field Office, 1661 S. 4th Street, El Centro, CA 92243. Interested persons may also review the Final EIS/Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment on the Internet at http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/nepa/ocotillosol.html.
 
All protests must be in writing and mailed to one of the following addresses: 
 
Regular Mail
BLM Director (210)
Attention: Brenda Williams
P.O. Box 71383
Washington, DC 20024-1383. 
 
Overnight Mail 
BLM Director (210)
Attention: Brenda Williams
20 M Street SE., Room 2134LM
Washington, DC 20003. 
 
For Further Information
Noel Ludwig, Project Manager
22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos
Moreno Valley, CA 92553
(951) 697-5368 
 
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.