US introduces regulation to prioritise public land for solar projects

  • The regulation means the BLM now has the authority to temporarily remove lands from mining claims.
    The regulation means the BLM now has the authority to temporarily remove lands from mining claims.

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued a regulation aimed at facilitating the development of solar and other renewable energy projects on public land.

The rule is designed to avoid possible conflicting applications to use public land either for renewable energy projects or mining. 

Previously, public land included in proposed solar or wind energy right-of-way applications remained open to mining claims.

But the new regulation means the BLM now has the authority to temporarily remove lands included in a renewable energy right-of way application and lands offered for wind or solar energy lease from land appropriations such as mining claims.

Public land segregated under the new regulation will be reserved for solar or wind energy development for up to two years.

The new regulation replaces an interim 'final rule' brought in by the BLM in November 2011 that first proposed segregation of public land.

Before the final rule came into effect 216 new mining claims were located within solar energy right-of-way application areas. The segregation will simplify the administration of public lands by making such mining claims impossible, BLM said.

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