BLM to Invest Recovery Act Funds on Renewable Energy Permitting
May 6, 2009
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will invest $41 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds in reducing the backlog of pending applications for wind and solar power projects on BLM-managed land. The investment is part of a $305 million investment announced by the Interior Department on May 1. The $41 million will also support the regional planning and siting of future wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass energy projects, and the transmission lines needed to deliver that renewable energy to market. Coordinating the development and transmission of renewable energy on a regional scale will accelerate the approval of projects and the creation of jobs associated with the projects. BLM will invest an additional $1.2 million to install solar power systems at 16 BLM fire stations in Nevada. The BLM is also investing $143 million to upgrade its facilities throughout the United States, and a portion of that funding will go toward energy efficiency improvements. See the Interior Department press release.
The Interior Department also announced on May 5 that it will further expedite the production of renewable energy on public lands by creating four new Renewable Energy Coordination Offices, while forming five smaller renewable energy teams. The new offices will be located in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Wyoming, while the smaller teams will be in Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah. The renewable energy offices and teams will cut red tape by expediting applications, processing, reviews, and permitting of renewable energy projects. See the Interior Department press release.