What's in the Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS
The Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS evaluates the potential impacts associated with the proposed action to develop a Wind Energy Development Program, including the adoption of policies and best management practices (BMPs) and the amendment of 52 BLM land use plans to address wind energy development.
The Programmatic EIS also evaluates the No Action alternative and a Limited Wind Energy Development Alternative.
Proposed Policies and Best Management Practices
The BLM proposes to adopt a number of policies and BMPs as part of the proposed Wind Energy Development Program. The BLM proposes that these policies and BMPs would establish the minimum requirements for management of individual wind energy projects. The proposed policies express the desired outcomes that BMPs are intended to achieve. In addition, the proposed policies address the administration of wind energy development activities, and the proposed BMPs identify required mitigation measures that would need to be incorporated into project-specific Plans of Development (PODs) and ROW authorization stipulations. Additional mitigation measures would be applied to individual projects, in the form of stipulations in the ROW authorization as appropriate, to address site-specific and species-specific issues.
Proposed Land Use Plan Amendments
The BLM proposes to amend 52 individual BLM land use plans to address wind energy development. Land use plans are planning and management documents that define how resources will be managed within a specific planning area and establish restrictions on activities to be undertaken in that planning area. Land use plans are developed by BLM in accordance with Federal requirements and BLM regulations and planning policies.
A maximum potential development scenario was developed to define the magnitude of future wind energy development activities on BLM-administered lands and to identify which land use plans would be amended. Examples of proposed amendments to land use plans include:
- adoption of policies and BMPs (e.g., wildlife management guidelines) applicable to wind energy development projects, and
- exclusion of lands from wind energy development.
Scope of the Programmatic EIS
The scope of the Final Programmatic EIS includes an assessment of the positive and negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of wind energy development; discussion of relevant mitigation measures to address these impacts; and identification of appropriate, programmatic policies and BMPs to be included in BLM’s proposed Wind Energy Development Program. The scope includes all BLM-administered lands in the western United States, excluding Alaska. The Programmatic EIS does not evaluate site-specific issues associated with individual wind energy development projects.
The Programmatic EIS also evaluates the no action alternative of not establishing a Wind Energy Development Program or amending land use plans. Under the no action alternative, BLM would continue to allow wind energy development in accordance with the requirements of the interim policy, Instruction Memorandum No. 2003-020.
The Programmatic EIS also evaluates a limited wind energy development alternative under which the BLM would limit wind energy development to those areas where it currently exists or is under review or approved for development at the time the ROD for this PEIS is published.
Programmatic EIS Schedule and Content
The Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS and Record of Decision have been completed and include:
- public and agency scoping;
- coordination and consultation with federal, state, and local agencies and tribal governments;
- publication of a draft EIS;
- public review of the draft EIS; and
- publication of a final EIS and Record of Decision.
The Final Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS is now available online.
Programmatic EIS schedule details are available under Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS Schedule.
Resources and Impacts Considered
The Programmatic EIS evaluates the resources listed below that involve important issues associated with wind energy development:
- wildlife and wildlife habitat including avian impacts,
- visual environment, and
- social and economic considerations
The Programmatic EIS also addresses the indirect and cumulative impacts associated with wind energy development on a wide range of other resource issues.
The Final Programmatic EIS describes:
- wind energy technologies,
- activities undertaken for site monitoring and evaluation,
- activities undertaken for full commercial development,
- the distribution of wind energy resources on a regional scale, and
- best management practices to minimize potential impacts.
The Programmatic EIS also describes the impact associated with current technologies, monitoring, and mitigation measures and constraints relevant to wind energy development and it includes a statement of the purpose and need for the proposed action.