BLM seeks public feedback on proposed Ranegras Plains Solar Project in Arizona

Published by The Bee News

November 6, 2023

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PHOENIX — The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment to inform development of an environmental analysis for the proposed Ranegras Plains Solar Project in western La Paz County, Arizona. If approved, the project is expected to generate up to 700 megawatts of renewable energy.

“Public input during the scoping period is important in helping us develop alternatives and planning criteria for the environmental impact statement,” said Colorado River District Manager William Mack. “Members of the public, Tribes, partners, agencies, and stakeholders can all provide information that we will consider during the planning process.”

Once the BLM receives this initial feedback from the public and stakeholders about the project, the agency will develop a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) evaluating potential impacts from the proposed project, as well as potential alternatives to this proposal. These issues will include Tribal concerns; impacts to threatened, endangered, and sensitive species; socioeconomic effects; environmental justice; and more.

The DEIS, which will be subject to additional public review and comment, will also analyze mitigation measures to lessen environmental impacts and ensure the action alternatives would not result in unnecessary or undue degradation of public lands.

To maintain current conditions in the project area while this proposal is being evaluated, the BLM has withdrawn approximately 4,763 acres of public lands from new claims under the Mining Law of 1872 for a period of two years. The withdrawal will not affect existing mineral rights within this area.

A Notice of Intent in Thursday’s Federal Register will open a 30-day public comment period that will close Dec. 11, 2023. The BLM will hold a virtual scoping meeting via Zoom on Nov. 30 from 6–7:30 p.m. to gather input and provide information about the proposed project. More information, including maps and information on how to submit comments, are available at the BLM National NEPA Register.

The BLM manages vast stretches of public lands that have the potential to make significant contributions to the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. To promote our clean energy goals, the BLM provides sites for environmentally sound development of renewable energy on public lands and new transmission routes to connect into the grid. These efforts to deploy renewable energy from our nation’s public lands support the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’ direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025.

For more information, please contact project manager Derek Eysenbach at deysenbach@blm.gov or (602) 417-9505.

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