Reps. Gosar, Levin, LaMalfa, Lowenthal, Tipton, Huffman, and Bishop Introduce Bill to Increase Renewable Energy on Public Lands

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Washington, July 18, 2019 | Ben Goldey | comments
U.S. Congressmen Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), Mike Levin (CA-49), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Scott Tipton (CO-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Rob Bishop (UT-01) and key stakeholders released the following statements after introducing H.R. 3794, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, which will increase production of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands while also establishing a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for states, counties, sportsmen, conservation and taxpayers. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva has also signaled his support for the bill.
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U.S. Congressmen Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), Mike Levin (CA-49), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Scott Tipton (CO-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Rob Bishop (UT-01) and key stakeholders released the following statements after introducing H.R. 3794, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, which will increase production of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands while also establishing a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for states, counties, sportsmen, conservation and taxpayers. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva has also signaled his support for the bill. 

Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04): "This bipartisan bill will cut red tape standing in the way of developing renewable energy across America's public lands. Taxpayers also benefit as this legislation directs revenues to the Treasury for deficit reduction. Increasing access for sportsmen as well as ensuring counties and states receive adequate revenue for development impacting their communities is a no brainer."

Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49): "As we work to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is critical that we embrace renewable energy development. Our federal public lands are ripe for solar, wind, and geothermal energy, and this legislation facilitates important environmentally sound development. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation and look forward to a hearing on the bill in the coming weeks."

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01): "The United States has many sources of renewable energy that aren’t being harnessed to their full potential because of bureaucratic backlogs and convoluted permitting processes. The bipartisan Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act helps get the most out of our vast public lands by streamlining the permitting process for accessing unique types of renewable energy sources, such as wind, geothermal, and solar for public land management agencies. This bill will encourage development of renewable energy sources by driving investment and distributing revenue, and it’ll bring America closer to achieving true energy independence."

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47): "With some of the country’s windiest, sunniest, and most geologically active areas, our federal public lands have great potential for renewable energy deployment. This legislation fixes some of the barriers to entry that renewable energy has faced. Updating the permitting, siting, and planning process to fit the needs and realities, PLREDA will more easily allow renewable energy projects to enter into leases on public lands. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with my colleagues on this truly bipartisan effort."

Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03): "Rural communities that have large swaths of public lands and rely on royalties from traditional energy resource production to fund schools, roads and other vital projects. This legislation will help spur additional funding for our communities by allowing the rapidly expanding renewable energy market to utilize public lands for production, all while preserving cherished recreation activities, such as hunting , fishing, hiking and biking. Public lands are best managed for multiple use, and I am proud to support that goal with introduction of the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act."

Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02): "America’s public lands can help us cut carbon pollution. Congress can do more to improve renewable energy development siting, and take a much-needed step towards tackling our climate crisis. I’m glad to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act to drive renewable energy development, creating jobs and spurring local economies all while protecting sensitive sites."

House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva (AZ-03): "Americans consider meaningful action on climate change a moral imperative, and this bill turns our public lands into even more of an asset in solving the climate crisis. We need to lead the way to a zero-carbon future and create a new generation of employment opportunities across this nation. Passing this bill is a big part of that equation."

House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Republican Rob Bishop (UT-01): "Supporting all energy resources such as wind, solar, and geothermal ensures a reliable and affordable domestic energy supply while supporting well-paying American jobs. The introduction of the bipartisan Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act is a step in the right direction. Enabling our public lands to play an important role in the future of renewable energy is a benefit of this new legislation. Streamlining the permitting process for renewable development, establishing revenue sharing for states and local communities, and providing funds for conservation and outdoor access are just a handful of good things this bill seeks to accomplish. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the aisle to steward this legislation across the finish line."

Matthew Chase, Executive Director of the National Association of Counties: "Counties with large amounts of federal land pursue creative solutions to foster economic development and deliver critical county services. The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act is one solution that would encourage responsible renewable energy development and conservation while providing equitable revenue sharing to support county services. Counties commend Representatives Gosar and Levin and urge Congress to act swiftly on this legislation.

Chris Wood, CEO and President at Trout Unlimited: "The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act offers an innovative approach to advance renewable development while supporting fish and wildlife conservation on our vital public lands. It creates a win-win scenario in which states and counties, American energy consumers, and our public lands, all benefit. We thank Representatives Gosar for his steadfast leadership and applaud Representative Levin and Representatives LaMalfa, Lowenthal, Huffman, Tipton, Grijalva, and Bishop for their strong bipartisan work on the bill."

Alex Daue, Wilderness Society: "This important legislation would help ensure that renewable energy development on our public lands is done in a responsible way that achieves our clean energy and environmental goals, while protecting our natural and cultural heritage. We look forward to this bill moving through the House in a bipartisan manner."

Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association: "Expanding the development of solar energy on public lands is vitally important as our industry pushes toward the goal of 20% of all U.S electricity generation coming from solar by 2030. H.R. 3794, The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, will help us in those efforts by providing a mechanism whereby our companies can invest in rural America and the revenue will be provided to the local communities that need and deserve it." 

Background:

This week, U.S. Congressmen Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), Mike Levin (CA-49), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Scott Tipton (CO-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Rob Bishop (UT-01) and 18 other members of Congress introduced H.R. 3794, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, legislation which will increase production of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands while also establishing a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for states, counties, sportsmen, conservation and taxpayers.

Renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal are an integral part of the United States’ all-of-the-above energy strategy. Our nation’s public lands can play a critical role in supporting that mission. While approximately 40% of total geothermal electric generating capacity comes from federal lands, only about 5% of total utility-scale wind energy capacity and utility-scale solar energy capacity comes from public lands.

This bipartisan bill develops a streamlined process that will drive investment towards the highest quality renewable sources. This legislation uses upfront planning and careful siting to identify appropriate areas for wind, solar and geothermal energy. In addition, PLREDA incentivizes development in these lower-conflict priority areas, while ensuring impacts to wildlife, habitat and cultural resources are avoided and minimized. The bill also directs agencies to provide staffing resources to ensure project permitting moves forward as efficiently as possible.

H.R. 3794 establishes a revenue sharing mechanism ensuring a fair return for relevant stakeholders. The revenue sharing mechanism will distribute certain revenues derived through this Act by returning 25% to the state where development occurs, 25% to the counties of origin, 25% is deposited into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes, including increasing access to outdoor recreation, 15% is directed for the purposes of more efficiently processing permit applications and reducing the backlog of renewable energy permits, and 10% is directed for deficit reduction.

H.R. 3794 is set for a Committee hearing on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 10:00 a.m., in Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building.

Current sponsors and cosponsors of this legislation include (28): Reps. Gosar (AZ-04)*, Mike Levin (CA-49)*, Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)*, Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)*, Scott Tipton (CO-03)*, Jared Huffman (CA-02)*, Mark Amodei (NC-02), Don Beyer (VA-08), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Rob Bishop (UT-01), Ed Case (HI-01), Paul Cook (CA-08), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Greg Gianforte (MT-At Large), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Ben Lujan (NM-03), Roger Marshall (KS-01), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), David Schweikert (AZ-06), Mike Simpson (ID-02), Pete Stauber (MN-08), Chris Stewart (UT-02), Mike Thompson (CA-05), and Don Young (AK-At Large). 

Endorsements so far for this legislation include: the American Sportfishing Association, American Wind Energy Association, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, EDF Renewables, First Solar, National Association of Counties, NextEra, Solar Energy Industries Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited and Wilderness Society.  

The text of the bill can be found HERE.
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