By Deb Murphy
Mono County Board of Supervisors will get briefed today on the details and process of the Owens Valley Pumped Storage Project. Currently Premium Energy Holdings is in stage one toward a preliminary permit to explore the possibility of reservoirs on Wheeler Crest and the Owens River and/or Rock Creek gorges in a closed loop system to generate approximately 5,200 MW of energy.
Material in the Board packet provides more detail on the procedure for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s permits.
“At the time this report was written, FERC was reviewing the preliminary permit application to confirm whether it includes the content required by FERC regulations,” the staff report states.
Here are the steps that would follow if the Commission accepts the application:
The FERC will open a 60-day comment period for all interested parties and stakeholders.
Commission staff will then hold a public scoping meeting and project site visit.
Premium, with Commission staff, will develop a study plan on impacted resources.
Another public input period before environmental documents are prepared.
Premium would then prepare and file its application proposal.
The FERC reviews and solicits public comment.
The environmental documents are issued by the FERC, opening another round of public comment.
The FERC issues its license order.
The Supervisors will also review a comment letter on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s plan for 40 monitoring wells in Long Valley. At issue is the Department’s Negative Declaration.
According to LADWP, the wells installed at 20 sites will be “collecting field data….in support of the Environmental Impact Report for the Mono County Lease Renewal Project.” The wells would “help in creating a regional groundwater model.”
The County’s letter questions the process necessary to drill those wells which, it states, “has the potential to result in significant impacts” including impacts to Bi-State Sage Grouse nesting areas, tribal cultural resources, aesthetics and noise or vibration.