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Environmental report delayed on Walker Ridge wind project

The release of a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Walker Ridge wind project in western Colusa County has been postponed, U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials announced Friday.

AltaGas Renewable Energy Pacific Inc. requested the delay in order to complete a revised plan of development.

The request came to the BLM field office on Wednesday, officials said, too late to pull the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement on the federal register that the draft EIS will be available to the public.

A retraction of the EPA notice will be published in the Federal Register next week, officials said.

AltaGas hopes to build a 67-megawatt wind energy project on nearly 8,000 acres in the Mendocino National Forest, on the border between Colusa and Lake counties.

The company planned to have the wind power project under construction by early next year, according to previous announcements, but are now asking the BLM for the EIS to be delayed until 2012.

The draft EIS alternatives include 29 or 42 wind turbine generators, an underground electrical collection system, a substation, a 115-kV overhead transmission line, an interconnect station, an operations and maintenance building, access roads and a temporary laydown area.

The draft EIS describes and analyzes the proposed action and alternatives, including measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts on the environment.

The Ukiah Field Office Resource Management Plan identified the Indian Valley Management area, which includes Walker Ridge, as available for wind energy development.

Once constructed, AltaGas plans to connect to PG&E’s 115-kilovolt distribution system.

The project has so far received preliminary support from Colusa County and Williams officials and the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce.