Filed under: Policy
About three weeks ago, we reported that the Bureau of Land Management was snowed under with permit applications for new solar and geothermal plants in California and Nevada, and wanted a moratorium on new applications.
Now they’ve got it. According to today’s New York Times, applications are frozen for study — which will take up to two years. 130 applications submitted before the end of May will be processed. BLM says they want to look at the potential impact on habitat, water use and potential for land restoration after the plant closes some decades on.
This is not good news. Climate Progress concludes that it’s a sly way for the lame duck Bush administration to stall renewable energy work on federal lands, while oil and natural gas drilling proceed elsewhere.
The first victims of this policy, if it stands, will be start-up renewable energy developers. But it may also put public utility companies at risk of coming up short, and late, in meeting RPS deadlines.
This may shape up to be a fight between clean-energy advocates on one hand and habitat-preservation advocates on the other, between the Feds on one side and state governments on the other.
Congress should step in on this one, right now. Rant to your legislators.
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