USFWS to discuss Chokecherry eagle take permit

 


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will host an informal open house from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Dec. 17 at the Platte Valley Community Center (PVCC) Great Hall to discuss the proposed Chokecherry-Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project in Carbon County.

The service anticipates receiving an application for an eagle take permit for Phase I of the project, and invites public input in advance of review of the potential environmental impacts associated with issuing such a permit.

The Chokecherry-Sierra Madre project, when fully built, may consist of up to 1,000 wind turbines, although the proposed Phase I of this project would consist of up to 500 turbines in the western portion of the project area. Construction and operation of Phase I could result in the death of golden eagles. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the service are currently working with the project proponent, the Power Company of Wyoming, to develop strategies to minimize the impacts of these turbines on eagles and other wildlife.


Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the federal government is obligated to review the impacts of its actions on the natural and human environment. While the BLM conducted an initial NEPA review of the Chokecherry-Sierra Madre project which culminated in their 2012 final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), the service has an independent statutory responsibility to analyze the impacts of issuing a permit for take of eagles which are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Public scoping meetings will take place in both Saratoga and Rawlins. During public scoping, the USFWS requests input as to which issues they should consider as they review the 2012 BLM FEIS and develop an EIS for the potential eagle take permit. The public is invited so they can meet with personnel, learn about the NEPA and permitting process and provide input. Public comments will be solicited following the presentation.

For those who cannot attend that meeting, another meeting takes place from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday at the Jeffrey Center, 315 W. Pine St. in Rawlins.

If someone is unable to attend either meeting, scoping comments are accepted until Feb. 3, 2014. Information about the project, requests to be added to the project mailing list and physical and email addresses to which comments can be submitted are found on the project website, http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/wind/ChokecherrySierraMadre/index.html.

Federal Register: NOI: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/12/04/2013-29005/phase-i-development-of-the-chokecherry-sierra-madre-wind-energy-project-bald-and-golden-eagles.

 

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