BLM seeks public comments on proposed wind energy project near Searchlight

Feb 3, 2012
by WLJ

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Las Vegas Field Office is initiating a 90-day scoping period to solicit review and comment on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Notice of Segregation addressing a proposed wind energy facility near Searchlight, NV. The right-of-way application area encompasses approximately 18,790 acres of BLM-administered public lands. The permanent footprint of the project as proposed would be approximately 163 acres. The public comment period will close March 18.

Publication of the Notice of Availability in the Jan. 20 Federal Register initiates the 90-day public review and comment period on the Draft EIS for the Searchlight Wind Energy, LLC proposal. Scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through local media and on the BLM website at

BLM has determined that a temporary segregation of the public land is necessary to maintain the status quo while it processes the rightof-way applications. About 18,790 acres are segregated from new applications and claims under the public land laws for a period of two years, including location under the Mining Law, but not the Mineral Leasing Act or Materials Act, subject to valid existing rights. The temporary segregation is necessary to prevent the filing of mining claims in the project area which could increase costs or hinder the development of the project.

The proposal is to construct and operate a wind energy generating facility that would produce 200 megawatts of electricity. The proposed wind turbines would be 415 feet tall. In addition to the wind turbines, the proposed project would require the construction of new access roads, two electrical substations, an overhead transmission line connecting the two substations, an electrical interconnection facility/switchyard owned and operated by Western Area Power Administration, an operation and maintenance building, and temporary and permanent laydown areas.

Three permanent meteorological masts would remain on the site to measure the wind speed and direction across the site over the life of the project. The Searchlight Wind Energy Project would generate and deliver electrical power to the electrical transmission grid by 2013 via an interconnection with the Western Area Power Administration, Davis-Mead 230-kilovolt transmission line.

Only written comments will be accepted. Comments may be submitted in a number of ways; at the Nevada BLM website, keyword “searchlight”; by email at BLM_NV_SNDO_Search lightWindEnergyEIS@blm. gov; by fax at 702/515–5010, attention Gregory Helseth; or by mail at BLM Las Vegas Field Office, Attn: Gregory Helseth, 4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130–2301.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time.

While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

For more information, please call Gregory Helseth at 702/515-5173. — WLJ