An Update on Wind, Solar Energy On Public Lands By Robert J. Uram

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Law360, New York (July 10, 2009) -- The Obama administration faces a major challenge in managing the demand for the use of public lands for wind and solar development. Many hope that these two alternative energy resources will help reverse our long reliance on fossil fuels and combat climate change.

Since the United States still owns approximately one third of the Nation's lands and the Bureau of Land Management, commonly known as the BLM, administers around 260 million acres of land mostly in the western United States, it is not surprising that public lands are being eyed for the development of wind and solar facilities.

After all, nearly 10 percent of the onshore oil and gas, almost half of the coal and most of the geothermal resources produced in the United States are produced on public lands.

Moreover, section 211 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 states that the Secretary of the Interior should seek to have approved at least 10,000 megawatts of nonhydropower renewable generation capacity on public lands by 2015.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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