Use of BLM land for renewables urged

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jared Polis introduced a bill on Feb. 8 that would create a streamlined system to lease Bureau of Land Management lands for renewable-energy development.

“This legislation, HR 596, will ensure that Colorado is at the center of the coming renewable-energy boom,” said Polis, a Democrat from Boulder, who along with nine other co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle introduced The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act of 2013.

The act would create a five-year pilot program for wind and solar energy sites on appropriate public land, and drive an efficient process that provides key information to developers who currently must operate almost blindly, Polis said. At the end of the five years, the Secretary of the Interior would determine if the program should be expanded to all public federal land. If so, royalties would be divided according to a formula that dedicates 25 percent to the county, 25 percent to the state, 15 percent for a renewable-energy permit fund, 25 percent for wildlife, land and water conservation, and 10 percent for deficit reduction.

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