Leaders call on Congress to pass bi-partisan renewable energy bill

Fees collected for solar energy development on our public lands could go to support local communities and conservation efforts once the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act is adopted.

Photo by Joe Verrengia, NREL

Counties and community leaders across the West are calling on Congress to pass the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act.

The National Association of Counties, state county associations and individual local elected officials have issued public support for this critical bi-partisan legislation that helps balance renewable energy development with county needs as well as other uses of our public lands.

For traditional forms of energy development on public lands and waters, including oil and natural gas, a portion of the monies collected for use of public lands are re-invested in affected communities and conservation efforts. The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act extends this effort to wind and solar energy projects too.

Western states and counties have a long relationship with energy development on public lands. Too often, however, the boom and bust cycle of exploration and development leaves communities without an opportunity to support and sustain growth.

Money that is reinvested in communities can contribute to the delivery of critical government services like road maintenance, public safety, conservation easements and the stabilization of county budgets in touch economic times. Providing funding for conservation purposes will improve access to trailheads and hunting areas and can also restore land and water resources in these communities.

The National Association of Counties, sportsmen and recreation groups and the Western Governors Association support this legislation and The Wilderness Society believes that together we can strengthen our western communities.

What local community leaders are saying:

Reinvesting in counties and our environment here in Colorado, where large wind and solar is planned on public lands, is a huge gain for local governments and residents. We want to see renewable energy built, but there has to be a plan in place to make sure that where development occurs we can invest in the lands and wildlife that make our county great place to live, work and recreate.”

           Commissioner Dan Gibbs
           Summit County, CO

These bills are common sense solutions for Nevada, Churchill County and many communities across the West...With added development, we'll also need added dollars in our communities to offset the impacts through conservation measures that protect wildlife, water and the land.

          Commissioner Norm Frey
          Churchill County, NV

Watch our Video

The Wilderness Society recently produced a video about how the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act will pay back the land and local communities.