[Federal Register: November 23, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 224)]
[Page 61167-61168]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Land Management

[CACA 048880, LLCAD06000, L51010000, ER0000, LVRWB09B2510]

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement/
Staff Assessment for the NextEra Ford Dry Lake Solar Power Plant, 
Riverside County, CA and Possible Land Use Plan Amendment

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA), as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Palm Springs-
South Coast Field Office, together with the California Energy 
Commission (CEC), intend to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) and Staff Assessment (SA), which may also include an amendment to 
the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan (1980, as amended), 
and by this notice are announcing the beginning of the scoping process 
to solicit public comments and identify issues.

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the EIS/SA 
and possible plan amendment. Comments on issues may be submitted in 
writing until December 23, 2009. The date(s) and location(s) of any 
scoping meetings, information hearings, and site visits will be 
announced at least 15 days in advance through local media, newspapers 
and the BLM Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/
palmsprings.html and the CEC's Web site at: http://energy.ca.gov/
sitingcases/genesis_solar/index.html. In order to be considered in the 
Draft EIS/SA, all comments must be received prior to the close of the 
scoping period or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever is 
later. We will provide additional opportunities for public 
participation upon publication of the Draft EIS/SA.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria 
related to the NextEra Ford Dry Lake Solar Power Plant Draft EIS/SA by 
any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings.html 
or http://energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/genesis_solar/index.html.
     E-mail: CAPSSolarNextEraFPL@blm.gov or 
     Fax: (760) 251-4899.
     Mail or hand delivery: Mike Monasmith, Project Manager 
Siting, Transmission and Environmental Protection Division, CEC, 1516 
Ninth Street, MS-15, Sacramento, California 95814 or Allison Shaffer, 
Project Manager, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office, BLM, 1201 Bird 
Center Drive, Palm Springs, California 92262.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information or to have 
your name added to our mailing list, contact Allison Shaffer, BLM 
Project Manager, telephone (760) 833-7100; address 1201 Bird Center 
Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262; e-mail CAPSSolarNextEraFPL@blm.gov or 
Mike Monasmith, CEC Project Manager, telephone (916) 653-8236; address 
1516 9th Street, MS-15, Sacramento, CA 95814; e-mail 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The applicant, NextEra, LLC has requested a 
right-of-way authorization to develop an 1,800-acre, 250-megawatt (MW) 
solar generation facility, including a substation, administration 
facilities, operations and maintenance facilities, evaporation ponds, 
surface storm water control facilities, and temporary construction lay-
down areas.
    The project is located approximately 25 miles west of the city of 
Blythe, California, on BLM-managed lands. The project area is south of 
the Palen/McCoy Wilderness Area and north of Ford Dry

[[Page 61168]]

Lake and Interstate 10. The project consists of two independent solar 
electric generating facilities with a combined electrical output of 250 
MW. Electrical power would be produced using steam turbine generators 
fed from solar steam generators. The solar steam generators receive 
heated transfer fluid from arrays of parabolic mirrors that collect 
energy from the sun. The project would use a wet cooling tower for 
power plant cooling. Water for cooling tower makeup, process water 
makeup, and other industrial uses such as mirror washing would be 
supplied from on-site groundwater wells. Project cooling waste water 
would be piped to lined, on-site evaporation ponds. If approved, 
project construction would begin in late 2010.
    The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant 
issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, 
including alternatives, and guide the process for developing the EIS/
SA. The BLM has identified the following preliminary issues: special 
area designations, air quality, biological resources, recreation, 
cultural resources, special status species, water resources, geological 
resources, land use, noise, paleontological resources, public health, 
socioeconomics, soils, traffic and transportation, visual resources, 
and other issues.
    Authorization of this proposal may require amendment of the CDCA 
Plan. By this notice, the BLM is complying with 43 CFR 1610.2(c) to 
notify the public of potential amendments to land use plans, predicated 
on the findings of the EIS. If a land use plan amendment is necessary, 
the BLM will integrate the land use planning process with the NEPA 
process for this project. The BLM will use the NEPA commenting process 
to satisfy the public involvement process for Section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f) as provided for in 
36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Native American Tribal consultations will be 
conducted in accordance with BLM policy, and Tribal concerns will be 
given due consideration, including impacts on Indian trust assets. 
Federal, State, and local agencies, along with tribes and other 
stakeholders that may be interested or affected by the BLM's decision 
on this project, are invited to participate in the scoping process and, 
if eligible, may request or be requested by the BLM to participate as a 
cooperating agency.
    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 1501.7 and 43 CFR 1610.2.

Tom Pogacnik,
Deputy State Director, Natural Resources, BLM California State Office.
[FR Doc. E9-27982 Filed 11-20-09; 8:45 am]