On the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union remarks to
expand clean energy development, the Interior Department is moving to
finalize the nation’s first solar energy program for public lands with
the closing of the public comment period Jan. 30. Over the past 90 days,
the Bureau of Land Management has been seeking input on the
Supplemental Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (SPEIS)
for solar development on public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado,
Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
The solar plan has garnered more than 100,000 comments in the past
two years from stakeholders across the country advocating for balanced,
guided development that would minimize potential impacts on wildlife and
sensitive lands, and reduce uncertainty in permitting. Solar companies,
major trade associations, utilities and conservation groups also
submitted a joint letter to the Interior Department with recommendations to help shape a successful solar program.