Solar zone meetings will be this week

Published: Monday, March 7 2011 3:48 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Public comments are being sought by the Bureau of Land Management for input that could shape the scope and feel of three proposed solar zones in Utah suitable for "utility scale" energy production.

An environmental analysis will take into account that input for zones proposed in Wah Wah Valley and Milford Flats South, both in Beaver County, and the Escalante Valley in Iron County.

These areas, according to the federal agency, have been pre-screened for their suitability in an assessment that included eliminating land that is off-limits to this type of production, where the geography's slope is too extreme or where sunlight levels are inadequate.

Meetings are slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Crystal Inn Hotel & Suites, 1575 W. 200 North, Cedar City, and at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Hampton Inn & Suites-Airport at 307 N. Hampton Inn & Suites.

The meetings, hosted by the BLM and the U.S. Department of Energy, will be open one hour prior to the official start time and will be closed after all individuals who wish to speak have been heard.

 Individuals may register to speak at a meeting in advance at the project's website, http://solareis.anl.gov, and maps and informational posters will be on display at the meetings. The agencies will also provide computers to review details of the project and to submit electronic comments.

Initially, public comments were due by March 17, but that deadline has been extended to April 16.

The draft analysis on the solar energy zones in the West has been compiled over the last two years and is a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Department of Energy to promote the development of renewable energy resources.

Those zones have been identified in six Western States, including Utah.

E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com

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