BLM Issues Environmental Assessment for Phase I Wind Turbine Development for CCSM Project


The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 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 (CCSM) Project, a 1,000-turbine wind farm being developed by Power Company of Wyoming LLC (PCW).

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 environmental assessment 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 approximately 75,000 acres of private, federal, and state land. However, the long-term surface disturbance will only amount to approximately 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 through methods approved by the BLM and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

PCW has voluntarily set aside more than 105,000 acres, or approximately 33 percent, of the 320,000-acre Overland Trail Cattle Company ranch as specific turbine no-build areas — a significant proactive conservation measure. Additionally, PCW intends to place 27,500 acres of private land into a conservation easement for the benefit of greater sage grouse and other wildlife.

Phase I of the CCSM Project — which is at 1,500 MW of nameplate capacity — is estimated to produce nearly 6 million MWh of clean electricity per year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by millions of tons annually.

Documents related to the CCSM Project environmental impact statement (EIS) and the two environmental assessments are available from the BLM Rawlins website or from the BLM ePlanning website. 

— Source: The Power Company of Wyoming LLC

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