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***PRESS RELEASE*** A Year Later, Still No Solar Power Permits Approved

Aug 28, 2009

Washington, Jul 28, 2009 - Today, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), joined by 17 fellow Members, sent a letter of inquiry to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, demanding the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) move forward in processing renewable energy project permits. Approximately 160 active applications for solar energy projects on federally controlled lands have remained in limbo since as far back as 2005, without a single approval.

“The common sense approach of developing clean and renewable sources of energy that will lessen our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs in our ailing economy, and protect our environment, has, unfortunately, limped along at painfully slow speed for far too long,” writes Rohrabacher. “The inability of BLM to move forward in this regard is quite disturbing to us…This record of zero approvals is not acceptable.”

According to a July 7th Department of Interior news release, the proposed solar projects have a projected capacity of powering 29% of the nation’s household electrical consumption.

A year ago, Rep. Rohrabacher introduced H.R. 6527 “The Emergency Solar Power Permit Act,” in response to the Bureau of Land Management’s effective freeze on approving solar project applications. The Emergency Solar Power Permit Act would waive the requirement to produce an Environmental Impact Statement in order to expedite the process and allow clean, environmentally friendly, renewable energy to begin development. Mr. Rohrabacher has reintroduced the bill in the 111th Congress as H.R. 964 with 21 current cosponsors.

The full text of the letter with signatories is attached.