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This Web site is the online center for public information and involvement in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States (Solar PEIS).

Project Summary

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Department of Energy (DOE); and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Department of the Interior (DOI), have prepared a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate utility-scale solar energy development, to develop and implement Agency-specific programs or guidance that would establish environmental policies and mitigation strategies for solar energy projects, and to amend relevant BLM land use plans with the consideration of establishing a new BLM Solar Energy Program.

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Announcements
Launch of BLM's New Solar Energy Program Web Site
The BLM has released its Solar Energy Program Web site (http://blmsolar.anl.gov), which is the online center for public information regarding the ongoing implementation of the Solar Energy Program. The Program was approved in October 2012 through the Record of Decision for the Solar PEIS. For more information, see Launch of BLM's New Solar Energy Program Web Site under News.

Withdrawal of Solar Energy Zone Lands
On June 27, 2013, a Public Land Order that withdraws 303,900 acres of land within the solar energy zones (SEZs) from location of mining claims that could impede development of solar energy sites became effective. The Public Land Order was published in the Federal Register on July 5, 2013. For more information, see Withdrawal of SEZ Lands under News.

Arizona Restoration Design Energy Project ROD
In January 2013, the Arizona Restoration Design Energy Project (RDEP) released a Record of Decision (ROD) and Approved Resource Management Plan Amendments. The ROD establishes 192,100 acres of renewable energy development areas on BLM land throughout Arizona. In addition, the ROD establishes the Agua Caliente Solar Energy Zone, which was developed under the guidance of the Solar PEIS. The Final RDEP EIS and ROD are available on the BLM website.

Signing of the Record of Decision for the Solar PEIS
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed the Record of Decision for the Solar PEIS on Friday, October 12, 2012. For more information, see the Press Release. The Record of Decision and the BLM's Protest Resolution Report addressing issues raised during the Final Solar PEIS protest period are also available.

Follow-On Studies: BLM's Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) Solar Regional Mitigation Planning (SRMP) Pilot Project
The BLM hosted the second public workshop for the Dry Lake SEZ SRMP on October 24 and 25 in Las Vegas. The topic of the workshop was baseline conditions and unavoidable impacts and a field tour to the SEZ was included. Additional information about the project is available through the Solar PEIS Follow-On Studies page.

BLM Announces Completion of Solar Programmatic Agreement
On September 24, 2012, the BLM executed a Programmatic Agreement (PA) governing its compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act for the proposed Solar Energy Program. Parties to the PA included the BLM, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and State Historic Preservation Officers from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah as Signatories and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe as Concurring Parties. See Solar Programmatic Agreement under News for additional information.

BLM and DOE release Final Solar PEIS
On July 24, 2012, the BLM and DOE released the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States. The Final Solar PEIS is now available for downloading or browsing online. See the Press Release. The Notice of Availability, published July 27, 2012, is now available.

DOI and DOE Announce Availability of the Supplement to the Draft Solar PEIS
On October 27, 2011, the Supplement to the Draft Solar PEIS became available for downloading or browsing online. See the BLM press release and the Notice of Availability for more information.

DOI and DOE Announce Availability of Draft Programmatic EIS
On December 16, 2010, the Solar Energy Development Draft PEIS became available for downloading or browsing online. See the BLM and DOE press releases for the Draft and the Notice of Availability of the Draft for more information.

Content of the Solar PEIS Project Web Site

About the PEIS
PEIS purpose, scope, alternatives, and schedule.

Public Involvement
How comments have been used, cooperator involvement, public meeting transcripts and information; and scoping comments.

Solar Energy and Transmission Guide
Utility-scale solar energy and electric transmission basics, environmental issues, maps, and links to related resources on the World Wide Web.

Solar Energy Zones
Interactive maps, summaries, and photo panoramas of solar energy zones proposed as priority locations for solar development.

Maps
Maps presented in the Solar PEIS and other maps related to the BLM's proposed Solar Energy Program, interactive mapping tools, and supporting spatial data for downloading and online viewing.

PEIS Documents
PEIS and related documents for downloading or online browsing.

Other Resources

Other resources include a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), news updates, and e-mail notices of important events.

Background Information

In response to direction from Congress under several federal orders and mandates, including Section 211 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as well as Executive Order 13212, Actions to Expedite Energy-Related Projects, the Agencies have evaluated how environmentally responsible utility-scale solar energy projects can be facilitated through developing and implementing agency-specific programs or guidance establishing environmental policies and mitigation strategies for solar energy development. Utility-scale solar energy projects generate electricity that is distributed to consumers through the electric power transmission grid, generally with capacities greater than 20 megawatts (MW).

The BLM has received a large number of utility-scale solar energy project proposals for BLM-administered lands, mainly in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Until the release of the Solar PEIS Record of Decision in October 2012 it processed solar energy right-of-way applications under a set of Solar Energy Polices. BLM's solar energy policies, published in Instruction Memoranda, are available for downloading on the Documents page. Some of these policies have been replaced by policies provided in the Solar Energy Program established through the ROD. The DOE's EERE Solar Energy Technologies Program currently addresses environmental concerns for projects it supports on a case-by-case basis.

News
Feb. 8, 2013
Arizona RDEP ROD

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