US Bureau of Land Management mischaracterizes public input as it caves to wind interests

In 2004, the U.S. Government Bureau of Land Management (BLM) granted Pacific Wind Development LLC (now Iberdrola/PPM) a 3-year Right-of-Way Temporary Use Permit for 17,617 acres of public lands for "wind energy testing and monitoring facilities". The testing right-of-way was permitted without the benefit of public notice or comments, apparently based on the assumption that wind testing would not prove controversial. Letters objecting to the right-of-way grant were submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity, the San Diego Sierra Club, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and others.

In December 2007 the BLM released an updated Eastern San Diego County Proposed Resource Management Plan (PRMP) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) that allowed Iberdrola/PPM to develop wind energy in the vicinity of McCain Valley on 6,931 acres, reduced from the initial 17,617 acres granted. Opposition mounted and letters of protest were lodged with the bureau of which only one, written by Iberdrola/PPM, argued that more land should be granted.

In response to the protest letters, the BLM filed a public notice of "significant change" in the Federal Register last month in which it stated: "Concerns have been raised by the public that the Eastern San Diego County PRMP is overly restrictive regarding wind energy development and is not adequately responsive to national goals and directives... regarding renewable energy development on public lands". Per its public notice, the BLM now proposes downgrading an additional 13,000 acres of public land to allow for Iberdrola's development plans. The land in question is immediately adjacent to areas of critical environmental concern, and BLM Wilderness Areas.

In its detailed letter of protest to the BLM, the Boulevard Planning Group wrote "Any plans to industrialize (rape) our local public lands, especially at the expense of US taxpayers and local property owners, will be met with fierce scrutiny and opposition. We are not alone." Written comments on the changes to the PRMP will be accepted until August 27, 2008.

Windaction.org encourages all of its subscribers to join the Boulevard Planning Group and file protest comments with the BLM.

AUG 19 2008
back to top