The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act hits the Senate floor

Credit: BlackRockSolar, flickr.

The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act (PLREDA) was recently filed as an amendment to the comprehensive energy bill that is currently being debated in the Senate.

PLREDA has been a high priority in the Wilderness Society’s efforts to modernize energy development on public lands to better protect our land, water and climate.

We urge Congress to support this amendment which will help us tap into the rich renewable energy resources found on our public lands in a manner consistent with conservation.

PLREDA will help guide development to areas with high renewable energy potential and low environmental conflict and redirect revenue to improving permitting, conservation and local governments. It will promote clean energy development in the right places while conserving some of our nation’s most sensitive lands.

And best of all, PLREDA has support from both Republicans and Democrats—with Senators Heller, Heinrich, Risch, Tester, Gardner, Wyden, Bennet, Daines, and Udall all co-sponsoring it.

This amendment is a positive step toward ensuring that that development occurs in a thoughtful way, mindful of other bedrock values like conservation and outdoor recreation. Specifically, PLREDA would:

  • Establish a permitting program that will improve interagency coordination
  • Authorize a portion of revenue generated to be used for conservation efforts in local communities
  • Help meet the rising demand for clean energy by directing funds to the Bureau of Land Management to help permit and site projects
  • Protect wildlands and wildlife habitat by focusing development away from sensitive areas

Besides broad bipartisan support in Congress, PLREDA is being championed by a number of different conservation, sportsmen, and outdoors groups, including the Solar Energy Industries Association, Geothermal Energy Association, Trout Unlimited, Natural Resources Defense Council, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Association of Counties, Western Governors’ Association—and, of course, The Wilderness Society.

The Senate will consider PLREDA as part of the Energy Policy Modernization Act, a bill being debated right now on the Senate floor. The Wilderness Society will be following and weighing in on amendments filed that relate to energy on public lands, supporting provisions that modernize how energy is produced in our country to protect our land, wildlife and climate and opposing provisions that move us backwards.