BLM opens comment period for solar project near Pahrump

A 2016 map provided in the app shows the area along Nevada State Route 160 where a Yellow Pine Solar Project would be located.
The Office of Land Management opened a 45-day public comment period on the proposed Yellow Pine Solar Project that would be located about 10 miles southeast of Pahrump and 32 miles west of Las Vegas in Clark County. One-day public comment period on the proposed Yellow Pine Solar Project to be located about 10 miles southeast of Pahrump and 32 miles west of Las Vegas in Clark County.
The move comes after the BLM released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that looks at the environmental impacts of the 250-megawatt Yellow Pine Solar Project.
The document addresses two separate requests that have been sent to the local BLM Las Vegas office. Yellow Pine Solar LLC initially requested a right-of-way on public land to build, operate, and maintain a proposed solar power station and ancillary facilities, including battery storage, known as the Yellow Pine Solar Facility. GridLiance West, LLC applied for a right-of-way on public land to build, operate, and maintain a 230-kilovolt Trout Canyon substation and associated transmission line. These two applications are collectively known as the Yellow Pine Solar Project, according to the documents.
“The BLM actively supports the Department of the Interior’s First Energy Plan in America,” a strategy of all of the above “that supports the development of energy on public lands,” Gera Ashton, Acting District Manager, said in a press release. from Southern Nevada, Gera Ashton. “We look forward to receiving public input on the Yellow Pine Solar Project as we continue to evaluate this project.”
However, some environmental groups have asked the BLM to delay the comment period in light of the COVID-19 crisis because the BLM will not be able to hold public meetings in person.
The state of Nevada recently closed all non-essential businesses for 30 days due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Kevin Emmerich, co-founder of the non-profit organization Basin and Range Watch, said conducting a full environmental review amid a pandemic “is nothing short of irresponsible.”
“How can the BLM expect to get the normal range of public comment in this situation? This only helps the developer. BLM should suspend this review for three months, not continue business as usual, “said Emmerich.
One of the main concerns expressed by conservation groups has been the effect of the 250 megawatt Yellow Pine Solar Project on the habitat of the desert tortoise. The desert tortoise is classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
“The Yellow Pine Solar Project will destroy more than 3,000 acres of ancient habitat in the Mojave Desert,” said Emmerich. “The area is home to the declining desert tortoise and Nextera Energy will destroy thousands of Mojave yuccas and replace them with solar panels. Some of the yuccas are hundreds of years old. The BLM should reject this project because of all the rooftop and built environmental alternatives for solar power in southern Nevada. Public lands are not areas of solar sacrifice. ”
Wildlife Advocates, the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watershed Projects also raised their concerns in the BLM scoping report.
Kirsten Cannon, public affairs specialist for the Southern District of Nevada, said the agency “is in the first discussions” to evaluate other options for an in-person public meeting, including a possible virtual open house or possible extension in the review period.
“If we move forward with an extension of the comment period, we will determine the amount of time to extend based on where we are in the review period and what the public situation is at the time,” Cannon said in an email.
In the press release, the BLM also said “alternative ways” to provide comments are also being explored. BLM will announce the details of these meetings at least 15 days in advance through public notices, press releases, emails and on the BLM website.
The Yellow Pine Solar Project would be located on approximately 3,000 acres of public land managed by BLM. According to the documents, the project’s construction workforce for 24 months would average 200 to 300 workers, with up to 400 construction workers.
peak. Upon completion, the facility would be comprised of up to 10 operations people, according to the press release.
The 45-day comment period ends on May 4, 2020.
Comments can also be mailed to blm_nv_sndo_yellowpine@blm.gov
People who wish to comment can also fax their contributions to 702-515-5023 or send an email to the Yellow Pine Solar Project, at the attention of: Herman Pinales and send it to the local BLM Las Vegas office, 4701 N. Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130.
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in your comment, you should know that all of your comment – including your personally identifiable information – may be publicly available at any time, according to the BLM press release. While you may request to retain your personally identifiable information from public review, there is no guarantee that they can.
For more information, contact Herman Pinales, Energy and Infrastructure Project Manager, at 702-515-5284.

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