Trout Unlimited supports legislation to help balance fish and wildlife conservation and renewable energy development on public lands
Renewable energy is no longer a thing of the future. As of March 2009, 33 states plus the District of Columbia had established renewable portfolio standards requiring, in some instances, as much as 30 percent of a state’s energy come from renewable sources. For the year 2012 alone, the Bureau of Land Management is giving priority to 17 projects that could supply electricity to 2,100,000 homes annually.
Federal lands hold great potential for wind and solar energy production, with 21 million acres capable of generating wind power and 29 million acres that can produce solar energy. But these public lands also provide important habitat for fish and wildlife, and some of the best places in the world to fish and hunt. Given that many wind and solar energy projects will be long-term industrial scale residents on the landscape, it is crucial that we find ways to balance energy production with conservation of fish and wildlife habitat.
The existing system for permitting wind and solar energy development on public land is ill-suited to balancing development with conservation of fish and wildlife habitat. Legislation has been recently introduced that would create a better management framework for wind and solar development on public lands, and ensure that the resources needed to offset impacts to fish, wildlife and water are available by creating a conservation fund. The conservation fund would use royalties from wind- and solar-energy production to support the protection and restoration fish and wildlife habitat and water resources affected by wind and solar development.
We can develop renewable energy on our public lands while maintaining the outstanding outdoor opportunities those lands provide. But we need your help to pass legislation that sets up a framework for responsible development and returns some of the revenues generated from development to protecting, reconnecting and restoring habitat. With this in place, we can properly balance energy development with fishing and hunting opportunities on our public lands.
For information on renewable energy legislation and how you can help, please visit the links below.
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