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Proposed wind farm project comment period extended, field trips planned

June 21, 2011

The Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office will conduct a open-to-the public field exam and two public scoping meetings for the Ewind Farm and ENEL (Padoma) wind monitoring project areas within the Black Lake, Adobe Valley, and Granite Mountain areas west of Benton in eastern California.

The proposed project could cover thousands of acres at the northern base of the Glass Mountains with 200-foot tall wind towers, if it is fully developed. The current proposal, however, is just to put between five or six test towers on the sites, in order to determine how much wind energy could be generated. The lifetime of that project is three years, with an evaluation of the yield of the towers to follow. Instruments on these towers would collect wind speed and direction data and other weather information. The companies have not submitted plans to develop wind energy projects.

The comment period for the project has been extended to July 30. It was originally set for June 20.

The field exam will start at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 9, at the intersection of S.R 395 and 120. Participants may also link up with the group at the Highway 120 eastbound mile marker 24.00 at 8:45 a.m. Six monitoring tower sites will be visited.

BLM will provide two 4x4 trucks capable of holding eight people for access to two of the sites. Some sites will have difficult walking conditions.

The BLM will conduct a public scoping meeting for these wind monitoring projects on Monday, July 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Lee Vining Community Center in Lee Vining.

Another public scoping meeting will be conducted on Tuesday, July 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Benton Community Center near the junction of S. R 6 and S.R. 120 in Benton. The BLM will provide information and accept scoping comments on the two proposed wind energy right-of-way applications at these meetings.

Natural resource issues in the Ewind proposal include sage grouse habitat and potential visual impacts to the Granite Mountain Wilderness Area, the Mono Lake Scenic Area and private landowners. Resource concerns for the Padoma proposal involve a golden eagle nesting site and territory.

Written comments on issues to be addressed in the environmental assessments for these proposals can be submitted to the BLM Bishop Field Office Manager, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100, Bishop, Calif. 93514 or sent by email to Lawrence_Primosch@blm.gov.

For more information, contact Larry Primosch, Bishop Field Office, (760) 872-5031.

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