***PRESS RELEASE*** *CORRECTION* Rep. Rohrabacher Applauds Approval of Solar Power Projects in CA
Washington, Oct 7, 2010 - Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar has approved the first large scale solar-energy plants on public lands as part of a fast track program to spur more rapid approval of renewable energy projects. The two development projects are located on federal land in the California desert. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued the following statement in support of the Bureau of Land Management approvals:
“Finally, the administration is responding to pressure from those of us in Congress who have been pushing for expedited approvals of solar energy projects at a time when the need for renewable energy is so important,” said Rohrabacher. “For years, bureaucratic impediments prohibited proposed solar power projects on federal desert lands from being approved in a timely manner so I’m pleased by this latest announcement. I’d say this is certainly a victory.”
Rep. Rohrabacher consistently pressured the Bureau of Land Management to move forward on the backlog of over 200 solar energy applications waiting for approval. In 2008, Mr. Rohrabacher introduced H.R. 6527, the Emerganecy Solar Power Permit Act, to exempt solar energy projects on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management from environmental restrictions in order to expedite the permitting process.
In 2009, Mr. Rohrabacher reintroduced the Emergency Solar Power Permit Act (H.R. 964), and offered it as an amendment to H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act. He offered the following testimony in support of his amendment:
“Madame Chairman, thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify before you today to make my case for making in order my amendment that would expedite the development of solar energy. The energy bill before us, which aims to push our country toward an energy independent future, has set forth mandates for renewable energy production. In an attempt to help meet these mandates, my amendment would remove the impediments that have kept federal desert land from being used to produce solar power.
“Specifically, my amendment would exempt any solar energy projects on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management from environmental restrictions—restrictions that ironically, are keeping us from improving the environment. There are around 200 projects pending BLM approval, with the first applications dating back to 2005. The BLM has yet to approve even one application. If we are serious about increasing production of renewable energy, we cannot allow vast amounts of land in our deserts remain off-limits to solar power. By making my amendment in order, we will give the House the opportunity to remove a major roadblock to the development of renewable energy. Thank you, Madame Chairman.”
The Chevron Lucerne Valley Solar Project will be located on 422 acres of public lands in San Bernardino, CA and the Imperial Valley Solar Project on 6, 360 acres in Imperial Valley, CA.
Rep. Rohrabacher is a senior member of the House Committee on Science and Technology.