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Project permit process streamlines, offices established in four states

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management authorized the establishment of special offices in Wyoming and other Western states to expedite that renewable energy development on federal public lands. BLM officials said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne issued a Secretarial Order on Friday that will allow the agency to establish coordination offices in Wyoming, Arizona, California and Nevada.

GREEN RIVER -- Four years ago, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which called for the development of 10,000 megawatts of non-hydropower, renewable energy projects on public lands by the year 2015.

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management authorized the establishment of special offices in Wyoming and other Western states to expedite that renewable energy development on federal public lands.

BLM officials said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne issued a Secretarial Order on Friday that will allow the agency to establish coordination offices in Wyoming, Arizona, California and Nevada.

BLM officials said those are the states where the greatest interest has been shown in renewable energy projects, most notably wind power projects.

The offices will accelerate the permitting of wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy projects, along with needed electrical transmission facilities, on BLM-managed lands, officials said in a release.

"At a time when America is crying out for renewable forms of energy, it is critical that the (government) expedite the development" of renewable energy sources, Kempthorne said.

"This is another step in this... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

GREEN RIVER -- Four years ago, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which called for the development of 10,000 megawatts of non-hydropower, renewable energy projects on public lands by the year 2015.

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management authorized the establishment of special offices in Wyoming and other Western states to expedite that renewable energy development on federal public lands.

BLM officials said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne issued a Secretarial Order on Friday that will allow the agency to establish coordination offices in Wyoming, Arizona, California and Nevada.

BLM officials said those are the states where the greatest interest has been shown in renewable energy projects, most notably wind power projects.

The offices will accelerate the permitting of wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy projects, along with needed electrical transmission facilities, on BLM-managed lands, officials said in a release.

"At a time when America is crying out for renewable forms of energy, it is critical that the (government) expedite the development" of renewable energy sources, Kempthorne said.

"This is another step in this administration's effort to create a diverse portfolio of domestic energy supplies for the future," he said.

BLM Director Jim Caswell said the renewable energy coordination offices will ensure that renewable energy projects comply with all environmental laws and regulations, including NEPA rules and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

He said the offices also aim to improve coordination with other federal, state and local agencies in order to facilitate the processing and permitting of renewable energy projects.

The offices will be staffed by BLM employees from a variety of natural resource disciplines. The offices will also receive support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other bureaus within the Department of the Interior.

As in many Western states, Wyoming's wind power is vast, but as yet mostly undeveloped. The state has taken huge steps into wind power and other renewable energy markets in recent years, however.

The state ranks seventh in the nation for wind resources, but is 13th in the nation for installed capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Wyoming is expected to add nearly 500 megawatts of new wind energy this year, with most new turbines being erected in Sweetwater, Converse, Carbon and Uinta counties, according to BLM estimates.

There currently are some 30 wind energy proposals in south-central Wyoming alone, in addition to the 2,000 megawatt Chokecherry project and the adjacent Sierra Madre Wind Energy project southeast of Rawlins.

And wind developers in southwest Wyoming are looking at the possible development of as many as 500 wind turbines or more over the next decade as a host of companies explore possible sites for wind power projects in Sweetwater and Uinta counties.


Source: http://casperstartribune.ne...

JAN 20 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18718-project-permit-process-streamlines-offices-established-in-four-states
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