BLM extends land ‘segregation’ for California solar project

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans to segregate certain public lands in California for two years from appropriation pursuant to public land laws, including location pursuant to the General Mining Act, but not the Mineral Leasing Act or the Materials Act of 1947.

The segregation is needed to continue processing the proposed Stateline Solar Energy right-of-way (ROW) application and provide for the orderly administration of public lands and avoid conflicts between renewable energy generation and mining claims. The public land contained in this segregation totals 6,223 acres in San Bernardino County, BLM noted in a notice to be published in the Sept. 24 Federal Register.

Desert Stateline LLC submitted a ROW application to construct, operate, maintain and decommission a solar energy project on a portion of its ROW-application area.

In order to process the ROW application filed on these lands and to maintain the status quo, the BLM originally published a notice in the Federal Register in August 2011 to segregate the lands for a period of two years, which expired on Aug. 4, 2013. The BLM has determined that an additional segregation of the public lands is needed for the orderly administration of public lands while the BLM considers a revised proposal for the project area. The BLM is segregating the lands under regulations which permit a segregation period of two years, subject to valid existing rights, not to exceed a total period of four years.

BLM, as the lead reviewing agency, recently released for public comment in November 2012 a draft environmental impact statement on the Stateline solar project. The BLM website indicates that comments on that draft EIS are still being reviewed and that no final EIS has been issued. The applicant is a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Solar Development and this is a 300-MW alternating current solar photovoltaic project.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.