Monday, December 14, 2015

Bureaucratic gauntlet stalls renewable energy development on BLM land

When Bill Miller first met with officials from the Bureau of Land Management to talk about his company's vision of building a 1,000-turbine wind farm on a checkerboard expanse of public and private land in Wyoming, President George W. Bush was in the White House. When agency officials warned Miller it could take five years for such a gigantic project to wade through environmental reviews, he told them: "That's the craziest thing I ever heard." So it was music to Miller's ears when President Barack Obama's first Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, in 2009 announced as a top objective turning Western federal lands into hotbeds of renewable energy to deliver on two of the new president's pledges — creating jobs and transitioning to clean energy. Miller's Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind farm was named a priority project. The BLM also fast-tracked a transmission-line project to carry the electricity — enough to power about 1 million homes. And yet, all these years later, the wind and transmission projects still have not made it through BLM's bureaucratic gantlet. "To put it bluntly, they kind of lost momentum," says Miller, president of two subsidiaries of Anschutz Corp.: Power Company of Wyoming for the wind farm and TransWest Express for the transmission project. As Obama and other world leaders met in Paris in search of deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, clean energy was front and center. But seven years into his presidency, Obama's record on renewable energy projects on public lands is mixed. His administration has done far more than any other to make the BLM a welcoming landlord for solar, wind and geothermal electricity, but there is also a lot of room for improvement. There still is great potential for reshaping public land-use policy in the West to take much greater advantage of abundant clean-energy resources such as wind and solar...more

Those "environmental reviews" that are mentioned exist because of laws supported by the environmental community, i.e. the same groups that are pushing the green energy agenda are seeing it stalled because of road blocks they created to any development.

No comments: