March 9, 2016 – The Bureau of Land Management Rawlins Field Office has released the second of two Environmental Assessments, along with a draft Finding of No New Significant Impact, for Phase I of the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project. The CCSM Project is a 1,000-turbine wind farm being developed by Power Company of Wyoming LLC.
This Environmental Assessment analyzes and evaluates PCW’s site-specific plan of development for the initial 500 wind turbines, turbine access roads and associated facilities. The EA is tiered to the 2012 project-wide Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision, which approved the CCSM Project site as suitable for wind energy development. The 500 wind turbines in Phase I are located within the western portion of the Chokecherry Wind Development Area and within the western portion of the Sierra Madre Wind Development Area.
The Phase I development area totals about 75,000 acres of private, federal and state land. However, the long-term surface disturbance only will be about 849 acres, or 1.1 percent of the land.
Reflecting six major revisions and many more minor revisions, the Phase I layout is designed to avoid and minimize potential impacts to birds and other wildlife by using over five years’ worth of scientific data gathered via methods approved by the BLM and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
PCW has voluntarily set aside over 105,000 acres, or about 33 percent, of the 320,000-acre Overland Trail Cattle Company ranch as specific “turbine no-build areas” – a significant, proactive conservation measure. In addition, PCW intends to place 27,500 acres of private land into a conservation easement for the benefit of greater sage-grouse and other wildlife.
As a further environmental benefit, by harnessing the nation’s highest-quality onshore wind resources, Phase I of the CCSM Project – at 1,500 MW of nameplate capacity – is estimated to produce nearly 6 million megawatt-hours of clean electricity per year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by millions of tons per year.
According to the BLM news release issued today, BLM will host two public open houses in Carbon County, Wyoming, during the EA comment period. The first meeting will be 4:30-6:30 p.m. on March 28 at the Saratoga Town Hall in Saratoga. The second meeting will be 4:30-6:30 p.m. on March 29 at the Jeffrey Center in Rawlins.
BLM will accept written comments on the Phase I Wind Turbine Development EA and draft FONNSI until April 8. Comments may be emailed to BLM_WY_PCW_windfarm@blm.gov with “CCSM Phase I Wind EA Comment” in the subject line; faxed to 307-328-4224; or mailed or delivered to BLM Rawlins Field Office, Attn: Heather Schultz, CCSM Phase I Wind EA, 1300 N. Third St., P.O. Box 2407, Rawlins, WY 82301.
Documents related to the CCSM Project EIS and the two EAs are available from the BLM Rawlins site or from the BLM ePlanning site.
For more details about PCW and the proposed Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project development, visit www.powercompanyofwyoming.com.
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