[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 157 (Monday, August 15, 2011)]
[Pages 50493-50494]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-20671]



Bureau of Land Management

[CACA-48649, LLCAD06000 L51010000 ER0000 LVRWB09B2490]

Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for the Desert 
Sunlight Holdings, LLC, Desert Sunlight Solar Farm (DSSF) and 
California Desert Conservation Area Plan Amendment, California

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announces the availability 
of the Record of Decision (ROD)/Approved Amendment to the California 
Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan, the applicable Resource 
Management Plan (RMP) for the project site and the surrounding areas, 
located in the California Desert District. The Secretary of the 
Interior approved the ROD on August 9, 2011, which constitutes the 
final decision of the Department.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the ROD/Approved Amendment to the CDCA Plan are 
available upon request from the Field Manager, Palm Springs--South 
Coast Field Office, Bureau of Land

[[Page 50494]]

Management, 1201 Bird Center Drive, Palm Springs, California 92262, or 
via the Internet at the following Web site: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Allison Shaffer, BLM Project Manager; 
telephone (760) 833-7100; through mail at the address above; or e-mail 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Desert Sunlight Holdings, LLC, a wholly 
owned subsidiary of First Solar, Inc., filed right-of-way (ROW) 
application CACA-48649 for the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Project 
(DSSF). The DSSF is a solar photovoltaic (PV) facility, capable of 
producing 550 MW of electrical output. Southern California Edison (SCE) 
filed a ROW application to construct the 500-to-220 kiloVolt (kV) 
RedBluff substation (CACA-052682) where the project would interconnect 
with the SCE regional transmission system. The DSSF, along with the 
RedBluff Substation and other facilities, will be on 4,144 acres of 
BLM-managed lands approximately 6 miles north of Interstate-10 and the 
rural community of Desert Center in Riverside County, California. The 
project area is within 2 miles of Joshua Tree National Park. In 
addition to the project site, the project includes a distribution line, 
a 220-kV electrical gen-tie transmission line, fiber optic lines, and 
an access road. The RedBluff substation includes an access road and two 
offsite microwave telecommunication facilities. The gen-tie line will 
feed power into SCE's existing Devers-Palo Verde 1 500-kV transmission 
    The project site is in the California Desert District within the 
planning boundary of the CDCA Plan, which is the applicable RMP for the 
project site and the surrounding areas. The CDCA Plan, while 
recognizing the potential compatibility of solar generation facilities 
on public lands, requires that all sites associated with power 
generation or transmission not already identified in the Plan be 
considered through the BLM's land use plan amendment process. As a 
result, prior to approval of a ROW grant to the DSSF, the BLM must 
amend the CDCA Plan to allow the solar generating project on that site 
The approved Amendment to the CDCA Plan specifically revises the CDCA 
Plan to allow for the development of the DSSF and ancillary facilities 
on land managed by the BLM.
    The BLM preferred Alternative would result in construction of the 
solar farm, capable of generating approximately 550 MW of electricity, 
the RedBluff Substation, and associated ancillary facilities. This 550-
MW alternative and substation were evaluated in the Final Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS). The Notice of Availability of the Final EIS for 
the DSSF, RedBluff Substation, and the proposed CDCA Plan amendment was 
published in the Federal Register on April 15, 2011 (76 FR 21402).
    Publication of the Notice of Availability for the Final EIS 
initiated a 30-day protest period for the proposed amendment to the 
CDCA Plan. At the close of the 30-day period on May 16, 2011, seven 
timely and complete written protests were received and resolved. Their 
resolution is summarized in the Director's Protest Summary Report 
attached to the ROD. The proposed amendment to the CDCA Plan was not 
modified as a result of the protest resolution. Simultaneously with the 
protest period, the Governor of California conducted a 30-day 
consistency review of the proposed CDCA Plan amendment to identify any 
inconsistencies with State or local plan, policies or programs; no 
inconsistencies were identified.
    Because this decision is approved by the Secretary of the Interior, 
it is not subject to administrative appeal (43 CFR, 4.410(a)(3)).

    Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6.

Robert V. Abbey,
Director, Bureau of Land Management.
[FR Doc. 2011-20671 Filed 8-12-11; 8:45 am]