July 22, 2011 – The Bureau of Land Management has released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, a 2,000-3,000 megawatt wind farm proposed by Power Company of Wyoming LLC in south-central Wyoming.
The Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS is published in today’s edition of Federal Register, the official daily publication of the federal government, and begins a 90-day comment period.
The approximately 1,100-page Draft EIS document results from more than three years of analysis, public input and collaboration among federal, state and local cooperating agencies. The report informs the public of various factors associated with the wind power plant, including its ecological, aesthetic, cultural, economic and social effects. BLM is preparing this EIS pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act because about half of the PCW wind project is sited on federal land.
“The Draft EIS is a significant milestone as we work to turn Wyoming’s high-capacity, high-volume wind resources into a product that people need – cost-effective renewable energy,” said Bill Miller, PCW president and CEO. “We appreciate the cooperation and strong support we’ve received locally, regionally and nationally for the project and its economic and environmental benefits, and we encourage people to review the Draft EIS and continue to participate in the NEPA process.”
The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project is one of the world’s largest proposed wind power plants, with up to 1,000 turbines to be located on a 320,000-acre working cattle ranch in Carbon County, Wyoming. The ranch’s outstanding wind resources coupled with smart turbine siting will allow PCW to produce approximately 2,500 megawatts of renewable energy yet permanently use less than 2,000 acres of land.
In addition to generating enough clean energy for approximately 800,000 homes, the project will advance federal and state renewable energy goals, provide hundreds of millions of dollars in local and state tax revenue, and create and sustain thousands of construction, manufacturing, services and operations jobs. PCW also has committed to implementing a comprehensive science-based conservation plan designed to minimize the wind project’s impacts on wildlife and designed to provide a net conservation benefit to species such as the greater sage-grouse. PCW’s wind turbine layout will avoid Wyoming’s designated sage-grouse core areas.
BLM officials will host two open house meetings next month to provide opportunities for the public to review the Draft EIS, ask questions and provide written comments for consideration as BLM prepares the Final Environmental Impact Statement. The meetings will be:
- Monday, Aug. 22, at the Jeffrey Memorial Community Center in Rawlins, 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
- Tuesday, Aug. 23, at the Platte Valley Community Center in Saratoga, 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
The Draft EIS is posted on the BLM project website and may be reviewed at http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/rfo/Chokecherry.html.
Comments can be submitted by e-mail at WYMail_PCW_windfarm@blm.gov or by mail to:
Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project
Pam Murdock, Project Manager
BLM Rawlins Field Office
1300 North Third Street
Rawlins, WY 82301
To be considered in the Final EIS, public comments are requested by Oct. 19, which marks the end of the 90-day comment period. The Final EIS is expected to be released in mid-2012.
For more information about PCW and the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, visit www.powercompanyofwyoming.com.
For more information about BLM’s programs and goals regarding renewable energy generation and transmission development on federal land, visit http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/energy/renewable_energy.html.
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