|Project Name||Project Type||Description|
|Cleghorn Ridge Wind Project||High Priority||
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is authorized to issue special use authorizations for certain uses and activities--such as installation of wind generation facilities--on lands within the National Forest System. The USFS special uses regulations at 36 C.F.R. Part 251 and its recently issued wind energy directive provide direction and guidance specific to wind energy projects and processing applications for special use authorizations. The directive ensures consistent and sufficient analyses is undertaken to evaluate wind energy proposals prior to authorizing wind energy facilities.
The San Bernardino National Forest received Cleghorn Ridge Wind, LLC's proposal for a project area testing and feasibility permit on September 15, 2011. The proposed permit would authorize a project area of 2,816 acres and facilitate comprehensive evaluation of the feasibility of a 100-megawatt, 52 turbine wind generation facility along a 7-mile ridgeline.
The USFS is currently evaluating this proposal to determine whether it is consistent with the agency's special uses screening criteria found in the regulation at 36 C.F.R. 251.54. A primary purpose of the screening process is to ensure that a proposed use will not cause irreconcilable conflicts with existing uses, laws, regulations, and policies. If the proposal passes the screening process, the USFS will then determine whether competitive interest exists at the proposed location. If the Cleghorn Ridge Wind proposal satisfies the competitive interest considerations that are outlined in the wind energy directive, then the USFS will begin working with a variety of state and federal agencies to complete testing and feasibility review in about 18 months, rather than the three years originally estimated.
|Dakota Prairie Grasslands||High Priority||
USDA Forest Service (FS) is working under an expedited process to review oil and gas applications for wells and ancillary facilities (such as pipelines and power lines) in the Dakota Prairie Grasslands. Approximately 80 applications have been filed and are awaiting approval. The expedited process involves early coordination with the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management to identify surface resource concerns, data needs, and potential use of the 390 Categorical Exclusion provided under the 2005 Energy Policy Act. http://www.fs.fed.us/geology/mgm_energy.html
|Deerfield Wind Power Project||High Priority||
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is authorized to issue Special Use Permits (SUP) to individuals and businesses for certain uses and activities. The Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) accepted a formal application in November of 2004 to construct and operate a wind energy facility on the Green Mountain National Forest near the towns of Searsburg and Readsboro, adjacent to the Searsburg Wind Facility located on private land and operated by Green Mountain Power Company. If a SUP were to be issued, this would be the first commercial scale wind energy project on national forest system lands.
The wind generation facility being proposed by Deerfield Wind LLC would consist of 15 two-megawatt turbines and associated infrastructure. For projects of this magnitude, the USDA Forest Service is required to work through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process which includes in-depth analysis, scientific studies and public participation. NEPA documents for the Deerfield Wind proposal can be found here: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/project_list.php?forest=110920