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John Stewart

Balancing development and conservation

The DRECP will allow these renewable energy projects to move forward in some areas.  Other lands that are important for the long-term conservation of a variety of a declining and threatened and endangered desert species will be set aside as non-development zones.The plan involves the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as several counties, state agencies, tribes, the military and energy-development businesses and will make available up to 350,000 acres for development of wind, solar and geothermal energy projects for an expected surge in renewable-energy development.California has extremely aggressive renewable-energy and carbon reduction goals - an 80 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan will charge fees to companies that build energy projects on public lands, to help compensate for the permanent impacts to those lands. Public meetings on the plan are being held in the desert as well as in San Diego and Sacramento, through the middle of November.The information on public meetings is on 4x4Voice.

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Chief

Power Transmission Construction Permits Rules Eased

Nine Federal Agencies Agree to Expedite Permitting of Power Transmission Construction on Federal Lands

WASHINGTON (Oct 28, 2009) – Obama Administration officials today released a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by nine Federal Departments and Agencies to make it faster and simpler to build transmission lines on Federal lands. The goal of the agreement is to speed approval of new transmission lines, reduce expense and uncertainty in the process, generate cost savings, increase accessibility to renewable energy and jumpstart job creation.

As President Obama announced in his speech yesterday, the agreement “will help break down the bureaucratic barriers that currently make it slow and costly to build new transmission lines on federal lands.”

The MOU has been signed by the Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

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Chief

New BLM Office to Speed Renewable Energy Projects

Secretary Salazar, Director Abbey Open Renewable Energy Coordination Office in California to Speed Project Processing

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (Oct 9, 2009) – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey today officially opened a California Renewable Energy Coordination Office, one of several Interior initiatives to expedite the leasing and production of renewable energy resources on public lands in the West.

“These offices in California, Nevada, Arizona and Wyoming, along with our renewable permitting teams in six other western states, will help to swiftly complete application reviews on the most ready-to-go and environmentally appropriate solar, wind, and geothermal projects on U.S. public lands,” Salazar said. “In California the coordinating office will enable us to balance vital renewable energy development with the needed protection of sensitive resources in the California Desert Conservation Area.”

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Chief

21st Century Power Transmission Grid Policy Stated

Salazar Details Administration’s Policy Push to Build 21st Century Power Transmission Grid

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept 30, 2009) – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told energy industry officials today that the federal government’s past electric transmission policy has been as fragmented and disjointed as the nation’s outdated power grid and that one of President Obama’s top energy priorities is to speed the development of a 21st Century network to move American energy more cleanly, efficiently and safely around the nation.

“The President’s economic recovery plan makes an unprecedented $11 billion federal investment in building a better and smarter electric grid,” Salazar said in keynote remarks for a Transmission Policy Summit at the National Press Club. “The Administration is using a Cabinet-level working group to develop a unified, forward-looking strategy for siting, cost allocation, and coordinating the permitting for proposed transmission projects.  And Interior is fast-tracking a number of projects that are environmentally sound.”

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Chief

Desert Solar Energy Project To Be Reviewed

BLM and Energy Commission Initiate Environmental Review of Solar Project in California Desert

(June 8, 2009) - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today published a Notice of Intent to conduct a joint environmental review with the California Energy Commission on the impacts of a proposed solar energy project, Stirling Energy System's (SES) Solar One, in San Bernardino County.

SES Solar One, LLC has applied to BLM for a right-of-way (ROW) on public lands to construct a concentrated solar thermal power plant facility.  The proposed Solar One project would be constructed on an estimated 8,230-acre site, approximately 37 miles east of Barstow and 115 miles northeast of Los Angeles, near the community of Newberry Springs. 

BLM, as the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act, will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the site-specific impacts of the proposed grant of the ROW and a proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.  The Energy Commission is the lead California agency for the licensing of thermal power plants over 50 megawatts and for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, including preparation of preliminary and final staff assessments (SA).

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Chief

Public Workshop Set for Geothermal Energy on Federal Land

Regional Sessions Will Address Benefits of Recently Completed Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to Western States

WASHINGTON, D.C.--The public and members of the geothermal industry are encouraged to join the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service at seven regional training sessions intended to encourage environmentally sound development of geothermal energy across the Western U.S.   The seven sessions listed below begin in early April in Denver and end in Salt Lake City in June. 

The training will provide an understanding of the process involved in leasing geothermal resources on Federal lands and will describe the benefits of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for geothermal energy (www.blm.gov/geothermal_eis) published in October 2008. Each training session will be three hours in length. The project management staff from the PEIS team will be present at all meetings. The sessions are free of charge and do not require registration.

Topics will include applicable laws and regulations, identification of lands open or closed to geothermal development, the nomination and leasing process, and a review of leasing stipulations and Best Management Practices provided in the PEIS and Record of Decision.

 Dates, times and locations of the training sessions are as follows:

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