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Home News July 27, 2012
DOI announces Progress in Siting Solar Energy Development
The Department of Interior (DOI), in partnership with the Department of Energy, has published the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for solar energy development in six southwestern states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. This PEIS evaluates actions the two agencies are considering to facilitate utility-scale solar energy development in those states. For the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the PEIS looks at identifying BLM-managed lands that will be excluded from utility-scale solar developments as well as specific locations well suited for solar energy production. In the latter areas, identified as solar energy zones or SEZs, the BLM would prioritize solar development. The proposed SEZs include nearly 285,000 acres of federally managed land.
The BLM managed the Section 106 process for this PEIS, in which the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) agreed to participate in 2008. In addition the consulting parties include the State Historic Preservation Officers from the six affected states and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The BLM also contacted over 300 Indian tribes requesting tribal participation and inviting government-to-government consultation. As a result of the Section 106 consultation, a Programmatic Agreement (PA) is currently being finalized which would create a phased approach to identifying and evaluating historic properties, and assessing adverse effects, as a result of consultation. We expect the PA will be executed in the coming month or two, before the Record of Decision for the PEIS is signed. The Programmatic Agreement will be appended to this article once executed.
To see the DOI announcement, go to:
For background information on the Section 106 process for the Solar PEIS, see our Case Digest articles from 2009 and 2011: