Credit Mike Baker, flickr.
An announcement to approve the Blythe Mesa Solar Power Project was made just as the eighth annual Clean Energy Summit kicked off in Las Vegas, Nevada today. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved the Blythe Mesa project on disturbed land just off I-10 near the town of Blythe, California. President Obama will be delivering the keynote address at the summit, referencing the remarkable track record for wind and solar deployment on public lands.
The following is a statement by Chase Huntley, Senior Director of Policy and Government Affairs for The Wilderness Society's Energy and Climate Campaign, on the approval:
"BLM's approval of the Blythe Mesa solar permit today is a great example of how we can produce needed new renewable energy while protecting the places we love. The Blythe Mesa project will be built on previously disturbed lands and is an example of how we can meet our clean energy goals with limited impact to wildlands and wildlife habitat.
The administration has made tremendous progress toward achieving President Obama's climate action goals by jumpstarting clean energy production on our public lands. The achievement goes beyond megawatts.
Earlier this summer the BLM permitted three other solar projects in the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone just northeast of Las Vegas, punctuating a six-year effort to build a solar energy program that is truly 'smart from the start'. The benefits are clear: fewer impacts to lands and wildlife, faster permitting times and greater certainty for all stakeholders. We urge the BLM to continue to modernize its approach to energy by finalizing draft guidelines that steer renewable energy projects to low-conflict areas.
The Wilderness Society has worked for years to protect wildlands and wildlife across the nation and in the California desert. With climate change threatening our wild places, smartly sited renewable energy projects are key tools for protecting these lands for future generations."
The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 700,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org