BLM to hold virtual information forum on Hopper solar proposal south of Safford

Contributed File Photo/Courtesy Navajo Tribal Authority: The Kayenta Solar project created as many as 284 construction jobs as it was being built, in an area with chronically high unemployment. The BLM will host a virtual meeting regarding a solar energy project proposed on BLM-managed lands south of Safford.

Meeting will be Wednesday, August 17

Contributed Article/Courtesy BLM

SAFFORD — The Bureau of Land Management’s Safford Field Office will host a virtual information forum to share information and receive public input on a right-of-way application from IP Land Holdings LLC for a solar energy project proposed on BLM-managed public lands within a designated solar variance area. The proposed project is the Hopper Renewable Project, in the San Simon Valley, south of Safford.  

The BLM manages vast stretches of public lands that have the potential to make significant contributions to the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. To promote the development of these energy sources, the BLM provides sites for the environmentally sound development of renewable energy on public lands. The efficient deployment of renewable energy from our nation’s public lands is crucial in achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’ direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025. 

As part of the solar variance application process, the BLM gathers information during the public input period and uses that input to inform the BLM’s determination on whether to continue to process or deny the application. If the BLM decides to process a solar variance application, it will continue through the National Environmental Policy Act planning process, which will include additional opportunities for public involvement.  

The virtual public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, beginning at 5 p.m. The meeting will be hosted via Zoom and is expected to last about 90 minutes. BLM staff will provide a short introduction followed by presentations from the project applicant. Members of the public can provide input on the proposed projects.  

Interested parties can access the Zoom meeting using Passcode 08172022. The meeting will also be recorded and posted to the BLM Arizona YouTube channel.  

The BLM considers right-of-way applications for utility-scale solar energy development on a case-by-case basis based on environmental considerations; coordination with appropriate federal, state, and local agencies and Tribes; and public outreach.  

Interested parties may also submit comments during the 30-day comment period until Sept. 17 via email at BLM_AZ_SFO_Solar@blm.gov or via mail to the Safford Field Office, Attn: Ron Peru, 711 S. 14th Ave., Safford, AZ 85546. Project information is available on the BLM’s National NEPA Register. 

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