U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar has announced a number of initiatives designed to encourage rapid and responsible development of renewable energy projects on public lands.
The proposals from the DOI's Fish and Wildlife Service and the policy guidance from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provide clarity and guidance to stakeholders, including developers and employees, about smart siting and effective mitigation for renewable energy projects.
The BLM's final policy memoranda provide guidance to field managers in evaluating, screening and processing applications for utility-scale solar and wind energy projects on BLM-managed lands. According to the DOI, this field guidance clarifies and improves National Environmental Policy Act documentation; streamlines the project application review and approval process; and strengthens plans of development and due-diligence requirements. The BLM developed these policies from recommendations offered by federal and state agencies and industry and environmental groups based on lessons learned from last year's fast-track renewable energy initiatives.
Last year, the DOI approved a dozen renewable energy projects on public lands, including nine commercial-scale solar energy initiatives that will create more than 7,000 construction and operational jobs and produce almost 4,000 MW of energy the department adds.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Interior