What Happened to This Bill? Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act

UPDATE: I called Levin’s office and it was reintroduced in January and is HR178. Without reading it carefully it looks similar.

Last week we talked about the USG picking some priority sites for renewable energy on Federal lands.  It was proposed by Congressperson Levin (current member of House Natural Resources Committee)  of S. Cal. in 2021. Here’s his press release.

The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act helps combat the climate crisis and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the development of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands. The bill includes measures to ensure a fair return for impacted states and communities and directs revenues to fund conservation. In addition, the bill incentivizes development in lower-conflict priority areas, while ensuring impacts to wildlife, habitat, and cultural resources are avoided and minimized.

The bill establishes a revenue sharing mechanism ensuring a fair return for relevant stakeholders. The revenue sharing mechanism will distribute certain revenues derived through the bill by returning 25 percent to the state where development occurs, 25 percent to the counties of origin, 25 percent deposited into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes, and 25 percent directed for the purposes of more efficiently processing permit applications and reducing the backlog of renewable energy permits.

Here’s a link to the bill.

5 (1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary, in consulta6 tion with the Secretary of Energy, shall establish
7 priority areas on covered land for geothermal, solar,
8 and wind energy projects, consistent with the prin9 ciples of multiple use (as defined in the Federal
10 Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43
11 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)) and the renewable energy per12 mitting goal enacted by the Consolidated Appropria13 tions Act of 2021 (Public Law 116–260). Among
14 applications for a given renewable energy source,
15 proposed projects located in priority areas for that
16 renewable energy source shall—
17 (A) be given the highest priority for
18 incentivizing deployment thereon; and
19 (B) be offered the opportunity to partici20 pate in any regional mitigation plan developed
21 for the relevant priority areas.
23 (A) GEOTHERMAL ENERGY.—For geo24 thermal energy, the Secretary shall establish
25 priority areas as soon as practicable, but not  later than 5 years, after the date of the enactment of this Act.
3 (B) SOLAR ENERGY.—For solar energy—
4 (i) solar designated leasing areas (in

5 cluding the solar energy zones established
6 by Bureau of Land Management Solar En

7 ergy Program, established in October
8 2012), and any subsequent land use plan
9 amendments, shall be considered to be pri10 ority areas for solar energy projects; and
11 (ii) the Secretary shall complete a
12 process to consider establishing additional
13 solar priority areas as soon as practicable,
14 but not later than 3 years, after the date
15 of the enactment of this Act.
16 (C) WIND ENERGY.—For wind energy, the
17 Secretary shall complete a process to consider
18 establishing additional wind priority areas as
19 soon as practicable, but not later than 3 years,
20 after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Something that’s interesting about this bill is who endorsed it .. (Ormat are the geothermal folks involved in the geothermal/toad litigation we talked about last week.  Anyway,

The following organizations have endorsed the bill: The Wilderness Society, American Clean Power, Natural Resources Defense Council, Solar Energy Industries Association, EDF Renewables, Ormat Technologies Inc, Trout Unlimited, National Association of Counties, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Outdoor Alliance.

1 thought on “What Happened to This Bill? Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act”

  1. I’m a little confused about how this would affect national forests. “The term ‘‘covered land’’ means land that is— Federal lands administered by the Secretary,” and the “Secretary” is the Secretary of Interior. While it indicates (some) national forests would be covered, and mentions the forest planning process, “priority areas” would only be established by the BLM. It sounds like the BLM would be doing national forest planning, but I must be missing something.

    I’m not surprised Ormat is supporting this. If the geothermal toad site had been identified as an “exclusion area,” they might not have wasted their time on it (or they would have put their energy into not letting it be designated).


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