WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 2, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Alan Lowenthal, along with all 17 of his Democratic colleagues on the House Natural Resources Committee (HNRC), has called on the HNRC Energy and Mineral Resource (EMR) subcommittee chairman to hold a hearing on the development of renewable energy resources on public lands.
The letter, addressed to EMR chairman Rep. Doug Lamborn, was delivered October 1.
“As members of the HNRC, it is our duty and within our jurisdiction to review all uses of our public lands,” Congressman Lowenthal said. “Renewable energy development on these lands has the potential to create jobs, increase energy security, and lower the carbon footprint of the nation. Renewable resources deserve a level of attention comparable to conventional energy resources, yet the EMR subcommittee has not held an oversight hearing on the topic since 2011.”
The letter points out that since that hearing, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved the development of over 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy, finalized the Western Solar Energy Plan, published drafts of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, and updated solar and wind leasing regulations. Earlier this year, the BLM approved three solar energy projects that will generate enough electricity to power 132,000 homes and create 1,900 construction jobs.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has also taken robust steps to support competitive lease sales for offshore wind energy, and issued seven leases under this program on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. Just one of these leases, the proposed home of the Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island, is estimated to create over 300 construction jobs and is expected to generate over $100 million in economic activity.
“Tremendous strides have been made in the development of renewable energy in recent years, yet we have only begun to tap the immense solar, wind, geothermal, and hydrokinetic potential of our public lands and waters,” Congressman Lowenthal said.
“My colleagues and I made this request because such a hearing would be critical to highlighting successes and identifying opportunities for improvement which could encourage greater investment in renewable technologies and ensure that existing policies are on the right track.”
Members signing the letter included: Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08), Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), Rep. Lois Capps (CA-24), Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Rep. Lacy Clay (MO-01), Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16), Rep. Debbi Dingell (MI-12), Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Rep. Raul Grijalva AZ-03), Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02), Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (Puerto Rico), Rep. Jared Polis (CO-02), Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Rep. Gregorio Sablan (Northern Marianas Islands), Rep. Norma Torres (CA-35), and Rep. Niki Tsongas (MA-03).