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Tag Archives: Bureau of Land Management

BLM Moves Forward with Phase I of Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

By Marc Campopiano, Josh Bledsoe, Jennifer Roy, and James Erselius Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) has now been approved, paving the way for streamlined permitting and environmental review of qualified renewable energy projects on Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-administered lands in the Mojave and Colorado/Sonoran desert regions of Southern California. … Continue Reading

BLM Receives Challenges to Greater Sage-Grouse Plans From All Sides

By Marc Campopiano and Max Friedman Following the May 28, 2015 release by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of 14 final Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) for land use plans designed to provide greater protection to the greater sage-grouse on approximately 50 million acres of BLM-managed land in 10 different western states, more than 40 … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds that the BLM’s Grant of a Right-of-Way for a Road Over Federal Land Does Not Trigger Consultation Under the ESA or an Environmental Impact Statement Under NEPA for a Wind Project with Independent Utility

By Christopher Garrett & Daniel Brunton On May 27, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the US Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) grant of a right-of-way over federal land for a road (the Road Project) for a wind energy project developed by North Sky River Energy, LLC (North Sky) on … Continue Reading

DRECP Agencies Announce Phase I Updates

By Marc Campopiano, Joshua Bledsoe, Jennifer Roy, James Erselius Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (“DRECP”) is underway on the 9.8 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). As discussed in our previous post, the four lead agencies responsible for the plan introduced a phased approach to … Continue Reading

Bureau of Land Management Releases Conservation Plans for Greater Sage-Grouse

By Marc Campopiano, Max Friedman and Gunnar Gundersen On Thursday, May 28, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released fourteen final Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) that incorporate greater-sage-grouse conservation measures into the land-use plans for about 50 million acres of BLM-managed land in 10 western states. The population of the sage-grouse has declined by more … Continue Reading

The Department of the Interior does not list sub-population of greater sage-grouse as a threatened or endangered species, but broader review under the Endangered Species Act continues

By Marc Campopiano and Gunnar Gundersen On April 21, 2015, Sally Jewell, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, announced that a sub-population of greater sage-grouse along the California-Nevada border does not require Endangered Species Act protection. In 2010, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared the bi-state population of greater sage-grouse a “distinct … Continue Reading

Agencies Modify Strategy with Desert Renewable Energy Plan Over Concerns From Local Agencies, Industry and Environmental Groups

By Marc Campopiano, Josh Bledsoe, Jennifer Roy, and James Erselius Concerns from local agencies, industry, and environmental groups over the long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”)/Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (“DRECP”)—a renewable energy and conservation plan covering 22.5 million acres of desert located in seven Southern California counties—have caused … Continue Reading

Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan to Streamline Permitting for 20,000 Megawatts of Renewable Energy

By Jennifer Roy, Marc Campopiano and Joshua T. Bledsoe On September 23, 2014, the California Energy Commission (“CEC”), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”), US Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), and US Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS”) for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan … Continue Reading

White House Announces Methane Reduction Strategy

By Joel Mack, Eli Hopson and Ben Lawless On March 28, 2014 the White House announced its Methane Reduction Strategy  (“MRS”) containing the broad outlines of a multi-agency strategy to reduce methane emissions  from four major sources: the oil and gas industry, cattle and dairy farming, coal mining, and  landfills. The MRS is part of … Continue Reading

Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility Project Also Survives Challenge to the Project’s Scientific Studies

By Taiga Takahashi In previous commentary, we have noted the importance of a well-developed administrative record in project approval in risk management, controlling the potential for delay, and in project-related litigation. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California recently affirmed this general principle in rejecting a broad-based challenge by an environmental group … Continue Reading

Court Strikes Down Quechan Tribe’s Challenges to the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility Project

By Janice M. Schneider and Andrea M. Hogan On February 27, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California rejected the Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation’s (“Quechan Tribe”) suit challenging the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility Project (the “Project”), a wind energy project in the Sonoran Desert in California.  See Quechan … Continue Reading

Federal Government Approves Designation of Renewable Energy Development Areas in Arizona

By Anne B. Beaumont  On January 18, 2013, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the approval of Arizona’s Restoration Design Energy Project (RDEP), a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) initiative to identify public lands in Arizona that may be suitable for renewable energy development. The RDEP Record of Decision (ROD)[1] establishes 192,100 acres of … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Vacates Ruby Pipeline “No Jeopardy” Biological Opinion Under the Endangered Species Act

By Janice Schneider, Buck Endemann, and Jennifer Roy On October 22, 2012, the Ninth Circuit vacated certain federal authorizations for the Ruby Pipeline, a completed natural gas pipeline running from Wyoming to Oregon.  The Court concluded that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Biological Opinion (BiOp) failed to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act … Continue Reading

Federal Government Issues Record of Decision Approving Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States

By Laura A. Godfrey, Janice M. Schneider and Anne B. Beaumont Latham & Watkins has issued a Client Alert regarding the Record of Decision approving the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States.” With the signing of the Record of Decision on October 12, 2012, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) … Continue Reading

Federal Government Finalizes Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States

By Laura Godfrey, Joshua Marnitz and Janice Schneider On July 27, 2012, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as joint lead agencies announced the availability of the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States (Final Solar PEIS).  77 Fed. Reg. 44267 (July … Continue Reading

Federal Government Seeks to Establish a Competitive Process for Leasing Public Lands for Solar and Wind Energy Development

By Janice Schneider and Joshua Marnitz Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published in the Federal Register an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking outlining a competitive process for leasing public lands for solar and wind energy development.  76 Fed. Reg. 81906 (December 29, 2011).  BLM believes that a competitive process will better enable … Continue Reading

Roadblock to California Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade Program Removed, but Others Remain

By Michael Feeley and Aron Potash A lawsuit which delayed and once threatened to dismantle California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) cap and trade scheme was largely resolved last week, removing one roadblock to California’s plan to be the first state to impose an economy-wide GHG trading program.  Under modified regulations adopted by the California Air Resources … Continue Reading

San Diego District Court Allows the 117-Mile Sunrise Powerlink Project to Proceed

By James L. Arnone, Damon P. Mamalakis, and Janice M. Schneider On June 30, 2011, District Judge Roger T. Benitez of the Southern District of California issued a decision allowing San Diego Gas and Electronic Company (SDG&E) to proceed with its construction of the Sunrise Powerlink, a 117-mile electrical transmission line that will connect the San … Continue Reading

BLM extends public comment period for Draft Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

David A. Goldberg and Daniel S. Feinberg The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) has extended the public comment period for the Draft Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (“Draft Solar PEIS”) by thirty days to April 16, 2011.  The Draft Solar PEIS should be of interest to any developer seeking to build utility-scale solar energy projects … Continue Reading

US Chamber of Commerce study: regulatory and legal barriers to energy projects delay cleantech efforts and prevent economic growth

Clean energy projects have tremendous potential to create jobs and grow the economy and help the nation meet its energy needs in a more sustainable way, but regulatory and legal barriers to energy projects have substantially reduced job creation and economic growth while impeding efforts to bring new energy generation facilities on line, according to … Continue Reading

Large solar project on Federal land enjoined for BLM’s failure to adequately consult Quechan Tribe on historic resources

Finding that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had likely failed to consult adequately with the Quechan Tribe over a large solar project’s potential impacts on historic resources, the Federal District Court for the Southern District of California issued an order on December 15th granting a preliminary injunction that halts development of the project.  The … Continue Reading
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