REPS. THOMPSON, GOSAR, HECK, POLIS, FRANKS & RUIZ INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO ENHANCE RENEWABLE ENERGY POTENTIAL ON PUBLIC LANDS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressmen Mike Thompson (D-CA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Joe Heck (R-NV), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) introduced H.R. 2663 the bipartisan the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act of 2015, which aims to streamline the permitting process for wind, solar and geothermal development on public lands and establishes a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for relevant stakeholders:
“This bill will streamline renewable energy projects on public lands which will help put Californians back to work and further support an all-the-above energy approach,” said Congressman Thompson. “By removing unnecessary red tape and putting a straightforward permitting process in place, we can spur job growth, grow our energy sector and support conservation.”
The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act establishes a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for relevant stakeholders. distributes certain revenues derived through this Act by returning 25% to the state where development takes place, 25% to the counties of origin, 15% is directed for the purposes of more efficiently processing permit applications and reducing the backlog of renewable energy permits, and 35% is deposited into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes, including increasing access and outdoor recreation like hunting and fishing.
Due to the fact that federal lands are not taxable, state and local governments receive a share of the revenues from the sales of energy production on lands within their borders. These resources help local governments deliver critical services and develop much-needed capital improvement projects, such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement.
“Renewable energy is an integral part of the United States’ all-of-the-above energy strategy and our nation’s public lands should play a critical role in facilitating development. Unfortunately, federal bureaucracy and outdated permitting processes continue to plague potential economic growth on public lands,” said Congressman Gosar. “This bill is a win-win for everyone and will establish a permitting process for federal lands that encourages production and is tailored to the unique characteristics of renewable energy projects.”
“Simplifying and streamlining the permitting process for renewable energy development on public lands is an easy step toward a more efficient government,” said Congressman Franks. “There is vast energy potential on these lands and we must do everything we can to harness it. This bill is a job-creator and I'm happy to support it with my colleagues.”
“Nevada is poised to be a world leader in renewable energy development,” said Congressman Heck. “And with more than 80% of our land owned by the federal government, Nevada has ample opportunities to develop renewable energy projects, especially projects utilizing solar and geothermal technology. That is why this bill is so important; it streamlines the permitting process for renewable energy projects and ensures that revenue generated for the federal government by these projects stays in Nevada. Public lands should benefit the public and this bill helps move us in that direction.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing a forward-thinking bipartisan bill that would streamline antiquated regulatory processes that are impeding the development of renewable energies on public lands,” said Congressman Polis “Incentivizing private investment in clean energy projects on public lands will save taxpayer dollars, create skilled jobs, secure our nation’s energy future and promote environmental health.”
“This bipartisan bill will make a real difference here in our desert by streamlining renewable energy development on public lands and putting in place revenue sharing that could fund Salton Sea restoration and development,” said Dr. Ruiz. “We need pragmatic solutions to advance our energy independence and help preserve our national treasures for generations to come.”
Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Senate companion of this bill on May 21, 2015.
Similar legislation introduced last Congress by Thompson was supported by more than 60 organizations including the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, NACo, the Western Governors’ Association, as well as numerous counties, sportsmen and local conservation groups.
In addition, the Geothermal Energy Association and Ormat Technologies have already signed on in support of the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act of 2015.
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.
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