[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 144 (Friday, July 26, 2013)]
[Pages 45268-45269]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-17870]



Bureau of Land Management

[LLCAD07000, L51010000.FX0000.LVRWB10B4050]

Notice of Availability of the San Diego Gas & Electric Ocotillo 
Sol Solar Project Final Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed 
California Desert Conservation Area Plan Amendment, CA

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a 
Proposed California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan Amendment and 
Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the San Diego Gas & 
Electric (SDG&E) Ocotillo Sol Solar Project in Imperial County, 
California, and by this notice is announcing its availability.

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.

telephone 951-697-5368; address 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, 
Moreno Valley, CA 92553; or email [email protected]. 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 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.
    All proposed project components, including a temporary 15-acre 
construction laydown area, would be located on BLM-administered lands. 
The proposed Ocotillo Sol project components would include the PV 
modules and mounting structures, a maintenance building with an 
associated parking area, internal roads, inverters, transformers, and 
the combining switchgear. An existing road to the IVS would provide 
access to the proposed project site. New minor internal roads would be 
constructed between the module rows. The interconnection to the IVS 
would be via underground trench. Once approved and operational, the 
proposed Ocotillo Sol project is expected to have an average generating 
capacity of 15 to 18 megawatts (MW), depending on the specific 
technology chosen, with a peak output of up to 20 MW.
    In connection with its decision on the proposed Ocotillo Sol 
project, the BLM will also include potential amendments to the CDCA 
Plan, as analyzed in the Final EIS. The CDCA Plan, while recognizing 
the potential compatibility of solar energy facilities on public lands, 
requires that all sites associated with power generation or 
transmission not identified in the Plan be considered through the land 
use plan amendment process. The BLM is deciding whether to amend the 
CDCA Plan to identify the Ocotillo Sol project site as suitable or 
unsuitable for solar energy development.
    The Final EIS describes the following three alternatives: (1) A No 
Action/No CDCA Plan Amendment; (2) The Applicant's Proposed Project to 
construct, operate, maintain, and decommission a 100-acre solar PV 
facility on BLM-managed lands under an authorized ROW, plus utilization 
of a 15-acre temporary ROW for construction laydown; and (3) A Reduced 
Footprint Alternative which would retain the 100-acre facility but 
reduce the laydown area from 15 acres to 2 acres. All of the 
alternatives except the No Action/No CDCA Plan Amendment would include 
an amendment to the CDCA Plan.

[[Page 45269]]

Alternative 3 is the BLM's preferred alternative in the Final EIS.
    The issues evaluated in the Final EIS include the physical, 
biological, cultural, socioeconomic, and other resources that have the 
potential to be affected by the proposed project and alternatives. 
These issues include air quality, greenhouse gases and climate change, 
geology and soil resources, water resources, biological resources, 
cultural resources, paleontological resources, fire and fuels, lands 
and realty, special designations, lands with wilderness 
characteristics, recreation, visual resources, transportation and 
public access, noise and vibration, public health and safety, 
socioeconomics, and environmental justice.
    The BLM hosted two public scoping meetings in El Centro, 
California, on August 10, 2011. During the public scoping period, two 
Federal agencies, eight interest groups, and three individuals provided 
comments. Two public comment meetings for the Ocotillo Sol Draft EIS/
Draft CDCA Plan Amendment were held in El Centro on June 4, 2012. The 
formal comment period commenced with the publication of the Draft EIS/
Draft CDCA Plan Amendment on April 20, 2012 and ended 90 days later on 
July 19, 2012. The BLM received 13 comment letters (including public 
comment forms from public meetings, postal letters, emails, and faxes) 
from individuals, agencies, organizations, and groups during the public 
comment period.
    Comments on the Draft EIS/Draft CDCA Plan Amendment received from 
the public and internal BLM review were considered and incorporated as 
appropriate into the Final EIS/Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment. Public 
comments resulted in the addition of clarifying text, but did not 
significantly change the analysis, alternatives, or proposed land use 
plan decisions.
    Instructions for filing a protest with the Director of the BLM 
regarding the Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment may be found in the ``Dear 
Reader'' Letter of the Final EIS/Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment and at 43 
CFR 1610.5-2.
    All protests must be in writing and mailed to the appropriate 
address, as set forth in the ADDRESSES section above. Emailed protests 
will not be accepted as valid protests unless the protesting party also 
provides the original letter by either regular or overnight mail 
postmarked by the close of the protest period. Under these conditions, 
the BLM will consider the email as an advance copy and it will receive 
full consideration. If you wish to provide the BLM with such advance 
notification, please direct emails to [email protected].
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your protest, you should be 
aware that your entire protest--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your protest 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, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 1610.2

Thomas Pogacnik,
Deputy State Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-17870 Filed 7-25-13; 8:45 am]