BLM Evaluates Application
When the BLM receives an application for a solar energy project on lands outside of designated leasing areas (DLAs), responsible staff start an adjudication process to determine whether to proceed with processing the application.
- The BLM notifies the applicant that it has received the application and application fee. The BLM may assess additional fees during application processing if needed.
- Most solar energy development applications for lands outside of DLAs will require preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and more than 50 hours of federal work for processing (categorized as Processing Category 6 [43 CFR 2804.14]).
The BLM and applicant must enter into a written agreement that describes how the BLM will process the application, and discusses a project work plan, financial plan, and any existing agreements the applicant has with other Federal agencies for cost reimbursement associated with the application. In processing of the application, the BLM will:
- Determine the issues subject to analysis under NEPA.
- Prepare a preliminary work plan.
- Develop a preliminary financial plan, which estimates the reasonable costs of processing the application and monitoring the project.
- Discuss the following with the applicant: preliminary plans and data; availability of funds and personnel; applicant's options for the timing of processing and monitoring fee payments; and applicant financial information.
- Complete final scoping and develop final work and financial plans which reflect any work the applicant has agreed to do, including monitoring the project.
- BLM may elect to prepare any environmental documents related to the application.
- If BLM allows the applicant to prepare environmental documents and conduct needed studies, the work must follow BLM standards.
- BLM will make the final determinations and conclusions arising from such work.