Today, a coalition of groups representing local government, hunters and anglers, conservationists, clean energy advocates, and the outdoor recreation community sent a letter to congressional leadership, asking them to move forward on bipartisan legislation that aims to advance renewable energy projects on public lands in a manner that protects fish and wildlife habitat, and strengthens local economies and communities.
The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act (PLREDA) identifies priority areas for wind, solar and geothermal, encouraging smart siting and efficient permitting of projects in places with high potential for energy and low impact on wildlife and habitat.
The legislation would also ensure that local communities benefit from renewable energy development by distributing a portion of the revenues generated to state and counties, and a portion to improve access to public land and for conservation efforts.
“The United States is home to some of the world’s best renewable energy resources. As our country moves toward a balanced domestic energy portfolio, counties are committed to working with the federal government as equal partners in the promotion of alternative energy development. Counties are eager to promote sustainable economic development at home and this proposed legislation will help us achieve just that,” said Matthew Chase, executive director of the National Association of Counties.
“It’s important to sportsmen and women that we conserve our public lands habitat, because that habitat translates into great fishing and hunting,” said Steve Moyer, vice president of government affairs at Trout Unlimited. “This bill is exactly the kind of solution we need right now – a smart approach to promoting renewable energy development in a manner that will co-benefit local communities and enhance the fish and game habitat that is vital to our sporting heritage.”
“The National Wildlife Federation has long advocated for smart-from-the-start energy development on public lands and supports the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act as an effective framework to achieve that. While it’s important that we promote clean, renewable energy sources, it’s also essential that we do it in a way that does not harm the public lands and waters that sustain fish and wildlife,” said Kate Zimmerman, the National Wildlife Federation’s public lands policy director.
“The expansion of wind and solar on our nation’s public lands has been a true success story,” said Bobby McEnaney, senior deputy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Western Renewable Energy Project. “It’s been a win-win for communities, clean energy development and climate resilience. Now is the time to continue that momentum. Moving this bipartisan legislation forward will ensure that the success of our renewable energy investments will endure.”
“This bill enjoys broad bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress because it promotes responsible development of clean renewable energy while protecting wild places and supporting local communities and the economy. Through smart siting in low-conflict areas where projects are most likely to succeed, the bill will help scale up renewable energy responsibly, increasing permitting efficiency and encouraging development,” said Chase Huntley, The Wilderness Society’s senior energy and climate director.