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Public comments sought on Ocotillo area wind farm proposal

A much-protested wind project near Ocotillo is set for discussion at two public meetings later this month in Imperial County.

The Bureau of Land Management has scheduled two meetings later in August to discuss the Ocotillo Express project – a 193-wind-turbine project on mostly public land that could generate up to 465 megawatts of power.

The proposed project would be located on 12,436 acres of mostly Bureau-managed land about five miles west of Ocotillo, according to the press release from the federal bureau. A small portion of the project would be on land under Imperial County’s jurisdiction, and the bureau has been working with the county on a joint draft environmental impact report.

The project has been criticized by some Ocotillo residents who say it is too close to homes in the area, as well as claiming that the project can cause health problems and destroy desert life.

The environmental impact report looks into some of those issues, including analyzing site-specific impacts on air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, water resources, land use, noise, visual resources and more, according to the press release. The public can comment on the draft report until Oct. 5.

A copy of the environmental report set to be discussed Aug. 24 and 25 is available online at http://blm.gov/jqjd and more information is available by e-mailing caocotillo@blm.gov or by contacting Cedric Perry at 951-697-5388.