According to a report from New York Times reporter Dan Frosch, the federal government has issued a moratorium on new solar projects located on public land so the Bureau of Land Management can study the projects' environmental impact – a potentially two-year process.
The Bureau of Land Management says environmental studies are needed to ‘determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states,’ Frosch writes. The six affected states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
Linda Resseguie, the manager of the bureau's environmental impact study, has noted that a number of factors – such as the impact of construction and transmission lines on native vegetation and wildlife – must be considered. The bureau maintains that the study will establish a beneficial set of environmental criteria to assess future solar proposals.
The report notes that solar companies have filed more than 130 proposals to lease public land with the Bureau of Land Management since 2005. The bureau will continue to process these proposals.
SOURCE: The New York Times