3. Brunet Alternative
Carol and Lawrence Brunet, representing a number of West Lancaster homeowners and other concerned citizens, proposed a hybrid alternative that would cross Lancaster using Alternative 5, but then would tie back into the route proposed by SCE before reaching Leona Valley. This hybrid route would leave the Antelope substation heading due south along existing street corridors and utilizing existing street and utility ROWs until reaching the California Aqueduct. At this point, the transmission line would tie back into the route proposed by SCE before crossing Elizabeth Lake Road in Leona Valley. According to the Brunet group, this hybrid route would avoid and preserve the historic Cochems Ranch and prehistoric clusters located there. It would also avoid populated areas in West Lancaster, Leona Valley and Agua Dulce.
The Brunet alternative would require establishment of approximately 4.7 miles of completely new 180-foot ROW within the City of Lancaster, compared to the proposed project and Alternatives 1 through 4 which require the establishment of only 1.1 miles of new 180-foot ROW and approximately 3.2 miles of widened ROW (from 50 to 180 feet) for the same portion of the route. The suggested alternative routing would avoid a significant impact to a cultural resource site and reduce two significant visual impacts identified in the Draft EIR/EIS. However, mitigation measures have already been proposed in the Draft EIR/EIS to reduce these impacts, and these same impacts are also avoided by Alternative 5, which would not traverse the Cochems Ranch. Furthermore, due to the greater length of the route proposed by the Brunet group, certain impacts would be greater than those of the proposed project. For instance, there would be a greater amount of habitat disturbance, especially along the Portal Ridge. The suggested alignment across Portal Ridge would also place more towers in a sky-lined condition above the ridge top, thereby increasing its visibility from both sides of the ridge.
The Brunet group's proposed alternative route need not be further evaluated, because the impacts avoided by this alternative route have already been reduced to a less-than-significant level by Mitigation Measures proposed in the Draft EIR/EIS, and another alternative analyzed in the Draft EIR/EIS (i.e., Alternative 5) already addresses these impacts. Neither NEPA nor CEQA requires a separate analysis of alternatives which are not significantly distinguishable from alternatives actually considered or which have substantially similar consequences.
A discussion of the Brunet group's proposed alternative can be found at pages Ap.8B-30 to Ap.8B-33 of the Final EIR/EIS.