(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Dean Heller, Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act. The bipartisan legislation simplifies the permitting process for solar, geothermal and wind projects on public lands. Following introduction, the senators offered these statements:
“Renewable energy is one of Nevada’s greatest assets, but it is difficult to harness our full potential when entrepreneurs are staring down an endless stream of red tape,” said Senator Dean Heller. “The first step towards implementing the ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy that the Silver State is capable of is streamlining the permitting process for renewable energy production on public lands. The balanced legislation we have introduced will help the United States create jobs, progress towards energy independence, and preserve our natural wonders.”
"The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act will modernize the leasing of public lands for development of solar, wind, and geothermal energy, and transition our nation to cleaner energy sources. This bill also directs revenues from these projects to impacted counties and critical wildlife habitat conservation projects. By streamlining renewable energy development, especially in a state with a high wind and solar potential like New Mexico, we can create quality jobs and strength,”
“A broad domestic energy supply is critical for America to grow its economy,” Senator Jim Risch said. “This plan helps accomplish that by putting renewable energies under a similar framework as conventional energy sources. It also requires royalty payments that will benefit Idahoans in the counties and states where the projects occur.”
“Montana has untapped energy potential and this bill will help streamline permitting so we can increase our energy independence and create jobs that can’t be outsourced,” added Senator Jon Tester. “If we are serious about reducing the impacts of climate change we must encourage renewable energy development where it makes sense, and this bill does that while also investing in conservation.”
The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act streamlines the environmental review of solar, wind, and geothermal projects on public lands and establishes a program at the Department of the Interior focused on making the permitting process more efficient. The legislation also establishes a revenue share systems that aids local communities that are home to potential projects and helps mitigate the impact construction could have on the land, water, and on wildlife.
Heller has long advocated for reforms to renewable energy permitting and energy production revenue sharing. In the 111th Congress, he introduced similar legislation titled the Clean Energy, Community Investment, and Wildlife Conservation Act in the U.S. House, and he teamed up with Senator Tester on previous iterations of the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act in the 112th and 113th Congress. This Congress’ bill builds off the feedback gathered at last July’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the bill.