U.S. Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) have introduced the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, a bill to help combat the climate crisis and reduce dependence on fossil fuels by promoting development of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands.
The bill is cosponsored by Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Scott Tipton (R-CO), and others.
“As we work to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is critical that we embrace renewable energy development,” said Representative Levin. “Our federal public lands are ripe for solar, wind, and geothermal energy, and this legislation facilitates important environmentally sound development. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation and look forward to a hearing on the bill in the coming weeks.”
“This bipartisan bill will cut red tape standing in the way of developing renewable energy across America’s public lands,” added Representative Gosar. “Increasing access for sportsmen as well as ensuring counties and states receive adequate revenue for development impacting their communities is a no brainer.”
The new legislations includes measures to ensure a fair return for impacted states and communities and facilitates investment towards the highest quality renewable sources. In addition, PLREDA incentivizes development in these lower-conflict priority areas, while ensuring impacts to wildlife, habitat and cultural resources are avoided and minimized.
For example, H.R. 3794 establishes a revenue sharing mechanism ensuring a fair return for relevant stakeholders. The revenue sharing mechanism will distribute certain revenues derived through this Act by returning 25% to the state where development occurs, 25% to the counties of origin, 25% is deposited into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes, including increasing access to outdoor recreation, 15% is directed for the purposes of more efficiently processing permit applications, and reducing the backlog of renewable energy permits, and 10% is directed for deficit reduction.
“This legislation modernizes how we harness energy on America’s public lands. It helps identify areas appropriate for tapping wind, solar and geothermal energy — and minimizes impacts on wildlife, habitat and local communities,” said John Bowman, Managing Director, Government Affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “With this legislation, we have an opportunity to get this right from the start, by deploying climate friendly clean energy on our public lands in a way that is smart and effective.”
“The American Wind Energy Association is encouraged by this bipartisan action to drive more renewable energy development on public lands,” said Tom Vinson, AWEA’s Vice President of Policy and Regulatory Affairs. “Challenges remain, but we believe this bill will help make more lands available for clean, low-cost wind energy — something that’s in the interest of every American. Harnessing more of the inexhaustible wind energy resource found on our public lands will boost U.S. energy security, reduce air pollution, conserve precious water resources, and create good jobs.”