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Frequently Asked Questions

Public Involvement

There have been several opportunities for public involvement in the Solar PEIS process: during scoping, after issuing the Draft Solar PEIS, after issuing the Supplement to the Draft Solar PEIS, in April 2012 prior to release of the Final Solar PEIS, during the 30-day protest period following issue of the Final Solar PEIS, and through participation in follow-on studies.

The Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Final Solar PEIS appeared in the Federal Register on July 27, 2012. Publication of an NOA of a Final PEIS does not trigger a formal public comment period. However, the Agencies reviewed comments submitted and used them to inform their Record of Decision (ROD). The BLM and DOE considered these comments to the extent practicable and did not respond to comments individually.

Implementation of the Program established through the ROD for the Solar PEIS is being aided through the Solar Energy Program Web site released on August 15, 2013. By presenting information and news about ongoing solar development in the six-state area, the Web site provides opportunities for continued public involvement.

The Solar Energy Program Web site also includes information about the regional mitigation and long-term monitoring introduced on the Follow-on Studies page of this Web site.

Protests to Land Use Plan Amendments

Pursuant to the BLM's land use planning regulations in 43 CFR 1610.5-2, any person who participated in the land use planning process for the Solar PEIS and has an interest that may be adversely affected by the land use planning decisions may protest the proposed planning decisions contained in the Final PEIS. The BLM received 16 protest letters on the proposed land use plan amendments in the Final Solar PEIS. After careful consideration of all issues raised in these protests, the BLM Director concluded the responsible planning team followed all applicable laws, regulations, and policies in developing the proposed plan amendments.

Individual protests and responses are published in the Director's Protest Resolution Report. Clarifications and modifications made to the Solar Energy Program and Solar Energy Program policies as a result of protests, comments, and internal BLM review are discussed in the Solar PEIS ROD.

Past Public Involvement Opportunities: Comments on the Supplement to the Draft Solar PEIS and on the Draft Solar PEIS

The public comment period for the Supplement to the Draft Solar PEIS began on October 28, 2011 and closed on January 27, 2012. Responses to comments received on the Supplement to the Draft Solar PEIS, as well as to comments received on the Draft Solar PEIS, were included in Volume 7 of the Final PEIS.

The public comment period for the Draft Solar PEIS began on December 17, 2010 and closed on May 2, 2011. Responses to comments received on the Draft Solar PEIS were included in Volume 7 of the Final Solar PEIS.

Cooperating agencies provided comments on the Draft Solar PEIS and the Supplement to the Draft Solar PEIS, and also reviewed draft sections of text prior to issuance of the Final.

Public Meetings on the Supplement to the Draft Solar PEIS

The Agencies held 5 public meetings on the Supplement to the Draft Solar PEIS between November 2011 and January 2012. Visit the Public Meetings page to view the locations and dates that the meetings took place.

Public Meetings on the Draft Solar PEIS

The Agencies held 14 public meetings on the Draft Solar PEIS in February and March 2011. Visit the Public Meetings page to browse/download transcripts of the meetings and to view the locations and dates that the meetings took place.

Past Public Involvement Opportunities: Public Scoping

Public Scoping Process

During the original scoping period (May 29-July 15, 2008), the Agencies invited interested Federal and State agencies, organizations, Native American tribes, and members of the public to submit comments or suggestions to assist in identifying significant environmental issues and in determining the scope of this PEIS.

On June 30, 2009 the Agencies issued a Federal Register Notice of Availability to inform the public of the availability of maps that identify 24 tracts of BLM-administered land for in-depth study for solar development. In a second round of public scoping (June 30-September 14, 2009), the Agencies solicited public comments for consideration in identifying environmental issues, existing resource data, and industry interest with respect to the proposed SEZs.

Original Public Scoping Comments Available

Public comments received during the original scoping period are available on this Web site, under Search Scoping Comments.

Proposed Solar Energy Zone Scoping Comments Available

Public scoping comments received in response to publication of the proposed solar energy zone maps are available on this Web site, under Search Proposed Solar Energy Zone Comments.

Scoping Summary Report Available

The scoping summary report, entitled Summary of Public Scoping Comments Received during the Scoping Period for the Solar Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement is available. The report presents a summary of the comments that were received during the original scoping period. The Agencies used this report and the individual comments to inform the scope of analysis in the PEIS. No scoping summary report was published for the second public scoping period.

Public Scoping Meetings

During the original scoping period, public scoping meetings for the Solar Energy Development PEIS were held in eleven cities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah in June and July 2008. No public meetings were held for the second public scoping period.

Transcripts of the scoping meetings, as well as materials presented at the scoping meetings, including agency presentations, technical summaries prepared by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and a project factsheet, are available on the Documents page.

For More Information

For more information on public participation in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, please consult the following publications:

PDF A Citizen's Guide to the NEPA: Having Your Voice Heard (932 KB)
PDF DOE, NEPA,and You Brochure (1.46 MB)

For further information on the Solar PEIS, please contact:

Ray Brady
Bureau of Land Management
Washington Office
rbrady@blm.gov
Phone: (202) 912-7312

or

Jane Summerson
Department of Energy
Washington Office
jane.summerson@ee.doe.gov
Phone: (202) 287-6188