The following statement can be attributed to Chase Huntley, senior government relation director for The Wilderness Society. Chase was invited to testify before the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on H.R. 596 and H.R. 1363.
“The bills before the subcommittee today represent two very different visions of renewable energy development on federal lands. H.R. 596, the Public Lands Renewable Energy Act, is a balanced, forward-thinking bill that would encourage smart investment in wind, solar, and geothermal projects. These projects would benefit nearby communities, investing some of the revenues back into the local economy, as well as paying back the land itself through investments in conservation.
“The bill continues a trend started by the Bureau of Land Management to put the right energy development in the right place, for a maximum amount of energy for a minimum impact on the land. This eliminates the scatter-shot approach to permitting that has had a role in limiting the adoption of clean, renewable energy on federal lands.
“Unfortunately, H.R. 1363, the "Exploring for Geothermal Energy on Federal Lands Act” does not follow this lead. Rather than improve on the policies that govern geothermal energy development, this bill would undercut longstanding environmental safeguards. It would likely add delays to permitting and construction, rather than expedite them.
“There is a right way to increase renewable energy production on federal lands, and it is a needed step in reducing carbon pollution and fostering a clean energy economy. H.R. 596, the Public Lands Renewable Energy Act is that right way.”