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Proposed Action, Implement the Wind Energy Development Program and Amend Selected BLM Land Use Plans

The proposed Wind Energy Development Program policies and BMPs would establish a comprehensive mechanism for ensuring that the impacts of wind energy development on BLM-administered lands would be kept to a minimum. These elements of the program, along with the proposed amendment of land use plans, would likely result in shorter time lines and reduced costs for wind energy projects, thereby facilitating development.

The proposed policies would

  • identify specific lands on which wind energy development would not be allowed;
  • establish requirements for public involvement, consultation with other federal and state agencies, and government-to-government consultation;
  • define the need for project-level environmental review;
  • establish requirements for the scope and content of the project Plan of Development (POD); and
  • incorporate adaptive management strategies.

The proposed BMPs would establish environmentally sound and economically feasible mechanisms to protect and enhance natural and cultural resources.

Implementation of the proposed program would ensure that potential adverse impacts to most of the natural and cultural resources present at wind energy development sites, except wildlife and visual resources, would be minimal to negligible. Potential impacts to wildlife and visual resources would be considerably reduced by the programmatic BMPs and by the requirement that site-specific and species-specific concerns be addressed comprehensively at the project level.

The proposed action includes the amendment of 52 BLM land use plans in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The proposed amendments include the (1) adoption of policies and best management practices (e.g., wildlife management guidelines) applicable to wind energy development projects, and (2) exclusion of lands from wind energy development.

The potential economic impacts of the proposed action would generally be beneficial to local and regional economies.

In terms of cumulative impacts, the potential for wind energy development on BLM-administered lands, as projected by the proposed action development scenario, is relatively small compared both with other commercial uses of BLM-administered lands and with projected levels of wind energy development on non-BLM-administered lands. Under the proposed action, potential environmental impacts would be mitigated to the maximum extent possible by the programmatic policies and BMPs. Provided that the level of development falls within the development scenario projections and that the proposed policies and BMPs are implemented, the cumulative impacts of the proposed action are unlikely to be significant.

For More Information

More information on potential impacts associated with the proposed action alternative is available in the Programmatic EIS Section 6.1 Impacts of the Proposed Action in Chapter 6 (PDF, 132 KB).

More information on potential cumulative impacts associated with the proposed action alternative is available in the PEIS Section 6.4 Cumulative Impacts in Chapter 6 (PDF, 132 KB).

More information on the proposed land use plan amendments is available in Appendix C.

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