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Ocotillo Express draft environmental documents up for public comment  

Credit:  By ELIZABETH VARIN, Imperial Valley Press Staff Writer, www.ivpressonline.com 24 July 2011 ~~

A controversial wind project near Ocotillo is taking steps forward as a federal agency released a draft environmental review for comment earlier this month.

The Bureau of Land Management announced the release of the draft environmental study for the proposed Ocotillo Express Wind Project on Friday. The project, a 465-megawatt wind farm on almost 12,500 acres of mostly bureau land, could generate enough energy to power 140,000 homes.

The project has come under fire by some Ocotillo residents because of its proximity to the community and what residents say are potential adverse effects on residents’ health and wellness from the windmills.

The proposed facility is set to be about five miles west of Ocotillo, with a small portion of the project on lands under Imperial County’s jurisdiction, according to a press release. Both the bureau and county have been working on environmental reports and a draft plan amendment for the project.

The documents analyze site-specific impacts on air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, water resources, geological resources, hazardous materials handling, land use, noise and visual resources, according to the press release. The documents are available at http://blm.gov/jqjd

The publication of the draft studies initiates a 90-day public comment period, set to end Oct. 5, according to the press release. At least one public meeting will also be held to solicit public comments on issues, concerns, potential impacts, alternatives and mitigation measures that should be addressed in the final analysis of the proposed project.

No date has been set yet for when the bureau-county meeting will be held. More information about the proposed project can be found at www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro.html or by contacting Cedric Perry with the bureau at 951-697-5388 or caocotillo@blm.gov

Source:  By ELIZABETH VARIN, Imperial Valley Press Staff Writer, www.ivpressonline.com 24 July 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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