A public land order approved by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Friday extends the withdrawal of 303,900 acres of federal land within 17 zones designated for solar power from new mining claims.
The order, which the BLM said was prompted by President Obama’s recently announced plan to curb carbon emissions by promoting renewables, extends segregation of the land designated for solar power by 20 years from potentially conflicting uses, including location under the mining laws subject to valid existing rights. The lands had been previously withdrawn from mining laws under a two-year-long temporary measure in 2011.
The Department of Interior established 17 Solar Energy Zones in October 2012, designating public lands in six western states for solar power development. Since 2009, the BLM has approved right-of-way applications for 25 solar energy development projects with a planned total capacity of over 8,000 MW.
Under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the BLM is charged with managing the public lands for multiple uses.
Sources: POWERnews, BLM
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on July 10