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Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)

Final environmental impact statement (FEIS) evaluates Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage project (LEAPS) on Lake Elsinore and San Juan Creek in California (P-11858-002)
Issued: January 30, 2007

This final EIS evaluates the potential natural resource benefits, environmental effects, and economic costs associated with granting a FERC license for the entire LEAPS Project and granting a Forest Service special use permit for the transmission lines associated with the project.

In response to the draft EIS and comments on the draft EIS, the co-applicants revised their proposed transmission alignment. In response to comments on the draft EIS, we also revised the staff alternative transmission alignment and powerhouse location. As described in the draft EIS, both the co-applicants' proposed and staff alternative alignments would have created conflicts with commercial enterprises along the northern segment of the transmission alignments. Both the co-applicants' proposed and staff alternative alignments now avoid those conflicts. Both also include underground segments of about 3 and 2.1 miles, respectively, to reduce potential effects on egress from the Rancho Capistrano community and on hang gliding activities at the USFS permitted hang gliding launch sites. The staff alternative transmission alignment also reduces conflicts with the Cleveland National Forest Land Management Plan and USFS fire suppression activities.

Despite the higher cost of the staff alternative compared to no action, it would have the benefit of allowing the co-applicants to construct and operate the project as a peak energy resource and as part of a long-term solution to southern California's transmission congestion bottlenecks. The Talega-Escondido/Valley-Serrano transmission line could provide up to 1,000 MW of import capability into the San Diego area with up to 500 MW of this imported power being supplied by the LEAPS Project during high-demand periods. Based on our independent analysis of the LEAPS Project, including our consideration of all relevant economic and environmental concerns, we select the staff alternative as our preferred alternative and conclude that our preferred alternative represents the best balance between developmental and non-developmental resources.