Today’s House hearing will consider a measure that our coalition says will help protect wildlife and public lands with thoughtful planning and revenue for conservation
Sporting groups have rallied around a bill that would balance development of renewable energy with fish and wildlife conservation on public lands. The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, reintroduced earlier this month, was debated in a hearing this morning in the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
The bill sponsored by Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Mike Levin (D-Calif.) would:
- Establish a forward-looking and efficient management system for wind and solar projects on public lands.
- Direct at least 25 percent of royalties to a conservation fund.
- Direct another 50 percent to state and local governments where projects are located.
- Encourage smart planning and balance between development and protection of fish and wildlife resources.
Royalties directed into the newly established conservation fund could be used to restore fish and wildlife habitat affected by development and maintain access to hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands.
The bipartisan measure is aimed at building the framework for more efficient, responsible development of renewable energy on public lands. By planning ahead and identifying priority areas for wind, solar, and geothermal development, PLREDA encourages smart siting and efficient permitting of projects in places with high potential for energy and low impact on wildlife and habitat. (We outlined how PLREDA would work as it moved through Congress in 2017.)
Hunters and anglers are supportive of the development of renewable energy resources on public lands when it is done in the right places and in a manner that conserves fish and wildlife habitat as outlined in this bill.
“Renewable energy on public lands offers great potential to society, but it must be done right,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “This bill does it right. It compensates local communities for the impacts of development and requires smart planning from the start. It creates a restoration and mitigation fund that ensures we take care of the fish, water, and wildlife resources upon which our nation depends. Trout Unlimited is grateful to the co-sponsors for their support of this important legislation.”
“This bill would achieve a rare win-win scenario by thoughtfully balancing renewable energy development and habitat needs, while creating a consistent stream of revenue to fund essential fish and wildlife management projects,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We’re heartened to see momentum behind this legislation, which will create opportunities to enhance sportsmen’s access, clean water resources, and critical habitat for important game species. This bipartisan bill and common-sense approach to conservation funding have TRCP’s full support.”
“Hunters and anglers support multiple uses, including energy development, on public lands with the understanding that fish and wildlife and the interests of sportsmen and women are acknowledged as a top priority,” said John Gale, conservation director for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “PLREDA does this by facilitating clean energy infrastructure, elevating considerations for fish and wildlife habitat and supporting local economies. We thank Reps. Gosar and Levin for their bipartisan leadership on this issue.”
Public lands contain some of the most valuable fish and wildlife habitat in the nation. These lands also provide a great opportunity for well-planned and properly mitigated renewable energy development projects that could contribute to job creation, reduce carbon pollution, and boost the conservation of natural resources for the benefit of this and future generations.
Conservation has been a hot topic with lawmakers in recent weeks. Learn more about a new bill that would invest roughly $1.4 billion in proactive, voluntary conservation efforts to benefit the most vulnerable species.
Top photo by Jim Hardy.
16 Responses to “Sportsmen’s Groups Throw Support Behind Renewable Energy Legislation”
Preserve government lands!
Lets do everything we can to keep Public Lands–Public !
Keep Public Lands PUBLIC!!!
Let’s keep all public land for all the people.
The public lands are not just for people they are habitats for animals and they all are part of the ecosystem that makes the world.
When We conserve animals…..We conserve our FUTURE
The Public Lands Must Remain Public Lands!!!
I support these comments.
Isn’t This a sell out? Why is this any different than oil/gas drilling on public lands? The footprint of these type of energy projects is every bit as large and onerous as that of any fossil fuel industry…
Yes, we need to protect and fight for our Federal Public Lands Which are under constant attack from extraction Industries, and dirty politicians i.e., like Cory Gardner, he was a major motivator to move BLM Headquarters to Grand Junction, which is the first move by corrupt politicians to convert Federal Public Lands to the States so they can sale the Lands to the highest bidder. Natural Lands Citizens should beware.
Need to get Trump out
Have they already exhausted all the opportunities for putting these developments on private land? I’m sure that cows and corn care less about sharing land with wind turbines than elk, deer and trout do. I’m sure the farmers and ranchers wouldn’t mind a little extra money either.
Why are all these sportsmen’s groups supporting these large invasive developments on public lands that will have negative impacts on wildlife? How are the impacts of these large solar and wind projects any different than that of a coal mine or housing development? Windmills kill millions of birds and bats, and have the same impacts to ungulates that a O/G well pad have.
I almost exclusively hunt public lands. Gotta keep em!
I do not support permanent structures on public land if it restricts or blocks access to those lands or adjoining lands. Statements that hunters support this are misleading because many of us feel that this is contrary to why we joined TCRP, BHA, or other organizations. If we are supposed to get behind this type of legislation it should be clearly stated in the law that no loss of public access will occur or an offsetting amount of public land will be purchased in the same region.