***PRESS RELEASE*** Rohrabacher Re-introduces Emergency Solar Power Bill
Washington, Feb 11, 2009 - Today, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) re-introduced H.R. 964 , The Emergency Solar Power Permit Act, (H.R. 6527 during the 110th Congress) in response to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) effective freeze on approving solar project applications. Since July 2008, the backlog of pending applications has risen from 130 to 200, with some dating as far back as 2005 without a single approval. One of the major obstacles delaying applicant approval is the completion of lengthy and burdensome Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) currently required by law before the construction of any new solar projects can begin. The Emergency Solar Power Permit Act would waive the requirement to produce an Environmental Impact Statement for solar power projects built on BLM-controlled land in order to expedite the process.
“Since the BLM has not been able to process these requests in a timely manner, it is imperative that we remove the main bureaucratic impediment to environmentally friendly, domestic, renewable electricity from being developed on these lands,” said Rohrabacher. “There are businesses with ‘shovel-ready’ projects, that require no federal money, eager to make the necessary investments that not only offer a clean alternative energy source, but creates jobs. They should no longer be inhibited from doing so simply because of bureaucratic red tape.
“Ironically, environmental policies set by Congress almost 40 years ago have actively prevented the construction of environmentally friendly solar power projects today. The time to act is now.”
Solar power applications span across six western states covering nearly 1.8 million acres of desert public land, including 507, 961 acres in California. Current co-sponsors include Reps. Bilbray (R-CA), Burton (R-IN), Campbell (R-CA), Foxx (R-VA), Franks (R-AZ), Gallegly (R-CA), Goodlatte (R-VA), Jones (R-NC), Latta (R-OH), Miller (R-CA), Myrick (R-NC), Radanovich, (R-CA), and Young (R-AK). H.R. 964 has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.