Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced measures on Monday to hasten the development of solar energy on Western public lands.
Mr. Salazar, appearing in Las Vegas with Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, said that 670,000 acres of lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (an agency within the Department of the Interior) would be studied to determine whether they could support large solar power arrays.
Twenty-four tracts of land in six states — Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah — are under review. Maps of the land will be published shortly in the Federal Register.
The solar study zones, Mr. Salazar said, are part of the Obama administration’s push to do “everything we can to put the bulls-eye on the development of solar energy on our public lands.”
By the end of 2010, Mr. Salazar said, he expected there to be 13 commercial-scale solar projects under construction on public lands.
“There are millions of acres set aside for oil and gas. It’s about time we did something for renewable energy,” said Mr. Reid.
I was glad to see this news, because the BLM has been holding up these new solar power projects up to this point.