Cooperating Agency Involvement
The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are co-lead agencies on the Solar PEIS.
There are nineteen cooperating agencies: U.S. Department of Defense; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS); U.S. National Park Service (NPS); U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Pacific Division; Arizona Game and Fish Department; California Energy Commission; California Public Utilities Commission; Nevada Department of Wildlife; N-4 Grazing Board, Nevada; Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office; Clark County, Nevada, including Clark County Department of Aviation; Dona Ana County, New Mexico; Esmeralda County, Nevada; Eureka County, Nevada; Lincoln County, Nevada; Nye County, Nevada; and Saguache County, Colorado.
Interactions with the cooperating agencies have continued throughout preparation of the Final Solar PEIS through reviews of draft sections of text prior to issuance of the Final.
Additionally, the BLM worked with the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) between the release of the Supplement and the Final Solar PEIS to exclude additional lands in close proximity to NPS units and overlapping priority desert tortoise connectivity habitat. These cooperating agencies have provided additional data for consideration regarding applications in variance areas (these areas are discussed under "What is the Scope of the Final Solar PEIS").
Additional Data from the FWS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has identified certain areas within the proposed variance areas that may be important for desert tortoise connectivity (i.e., priority desert connectivity habitat). Recovering desert tortoises throughout their range requires that conservation areas be connected by habitat linkages in which tortoises reside and reproduce. Such areas will need to be free of large-scale impediments from anthropogenic activities that result in loss of habitat. A map of the priority desert tortoise connectivity areas identified by the FWS is provided on the Maps page; a GIS layer for the connectivity areas is provided on the GIS Shapefiles page. Developers that propose utility-scale solar energy projects in variance areas that overlap priority desert tortoise connectivity areas identified on FWS maps will be required to meet with the BLM and FWS early in the application process as part of required preliminary meetings to receive instructions on the appropriate desert tortoise survey protocols and the criteria the BLM and FWS will use to evaluate results of those surveys.
Additional Data from the NPS
The National Park Service (NPS) has identified areas within the proposed variance areas where utility-scale solar development poses a high potential for conflict with the natural, cultural, and/or visual resources administered by the NPS. Maps of the NPS high potential for resource conflict areas and resource conditions are provided on the Maps page; GIS layers for these areas and resources condition data are provided on the GIS Shapefiles page. The BLM will utilize these maps and associated data in the screening of proposed solar energy projects in variance areas. In cases where a utility-scale solar energy development application is submitted in a variance area identified as having a high potential for conflict with the resources of a unit of the NPS or special areas administered by the NPS, additional documentation will be required. A detailed discussion of the required documentation is provided in Section 188.8.131.52 of the Final Solar PEIS (Volume 1).
NPS points of contact for identified areas of high potential resource conflict:
California and Nevada – Pacific West Region Renewable Energy Coordinator at 415-623-2154 or [email protected]
New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah – Intermountain Region Renewable Energy Specialist at 303-969-2527 or [email protected].