May 12, 2009
Washington D.C.—Nevada Senator Harry Reid cosponsored the Renewable Energy Permitting Act, which will improve the benefits that states and counties receive for renewable energy project on Federal lands without raising costs for solar and wind energy developers. It will also help good renewable energy projects come on line as soon as possible by adequately funding the permitting process and environmental reviews.
Below are Reid’s remarks as prepared for delivery on the floor of the United States Senate.
“Mr. President, I am proud to once again join my friend, Senator Ensign, in introducing legislation that is good for Nevada and will help create jobs and contribute to rebuilding Nevada’s economy.
“The Federal government owns 87 percent of Nevada’s land. Nevada reaps tremendous benefits from this land – we have some of the most scenic areas and clearest skies in the country. This land is also blessed with some of the most valuable clean energy resources America has to offer – these resources alone could power the entire nation with the right investments in our transmission grid.
“I could not be prouder that President Obama and Secretary Salazar are committed to using our public lands to develop solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy resources, and without harming sensitive areas. A week ago Saturday, Secretary Salazar came to Nevada to announce over $26 million in Recovery funding for Nevada – a large portion for expediting renewable energy projects on BLM land. This commitment is invaluable to Nevada’s future as the nation’s leader in clean renewable energy.
“To continue helping this very effort and to ensure that solar and wind projects on Federal land provide maximum value to the state, Senator Ensign and I have introduced the Renewable Energy Permitting Act (REPA). This legislation is very similar to provisions I included in the Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act (S. 539) that I introduced in March of this year.
“REPA will help solar and wind projects receive BLM approval more quickly so these projects can begin generating clean energy and creating jobs sooner, rather than later and sustainable economic development opportunities
“It will also set aside a portion of the rental fees that are collected by the Government for the use of Federal lands by providing 50 percent of these revenues to the State and 25 percent to the county in which a project is located. Additionally, 20 percent will be placed into a renewable energy permit processing improvement fund for Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona and California.
“The last 5 percent will be responsibly set aside to augment the restoration and reclamation that will be needed if and when these facilities are removed from our public lands. Portions of this money will also be available to acquire and protect other sensitive lands. This is an important step since, during the operation of these beneficial renewable energy facilities, the American people will lose access to hundreds of thousands of acres of incredible open space and wildlife habitat.
“Our goal, Mr. President, is to do this right from the beginning. That means responsibly developing our vase renewable energy resources and to give states and communities new economic development opportunities that will create sustainable growth and grow the clean energy industry locally.
“Senator Ensign and I have a long history of working together to overcome the challenges Nevada faces because of the significant presence of Federal land in our state. Our efforts have made those lands work for Nevadans from all walks of life.
“Mr. President, I look forward to continuing these efforts with my friend, Senator Ensign.”
RenoBruce R. Thompson
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