Western Caucus Members Spearhead All-of-the-above Energy Bill

f t # e
Washington, July 18, 2019 | Ben Goldey | comments
Members of the Western Caucus and key stakeholders released the following statements after introducing H.R. 3794, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, which will increase production of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands while also establishing a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for states, counties, sportsmen, conservation and taxpayers
share: f t

Today, Members of the Western Caucus and key stakeholders released the following statements after introducing H.R. 3794, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, which will increase production of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands while also establishing a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for states, counties, sportsmen, conservation and taxpayers:

Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04): "This bipartisan bill will cut red tape standing in the way of developing renewable energy across America's public lands. Taxpayers also benefit as this legislation directs revenues to the Treasury for deficit reduction. Increasing access for sportsmen as well as ensuring counties and states receive adequate compensation for development impacting their communities is a no brainer."

Chairman Emeritus Rob Bishop (UT-01): "Supporting all energy resources such as wind, solar, and geothermal ensures a reliable and affordable domestic energy supply while supporting well-paying American jobs. The introduction of the bipartisan Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act is a step in the right direction. Enabling our public lands to play an important role in the future of renewable energy is a benefit of this new legislation. Streamlining the permitting process for renewable development, establishing revenue sharing for states and local communities, and providing funds for conservation and outdoor access are just a handful of good things this bill seeks to accomplish. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the aisle to steward this legislation across the finish line."

Executive Vice-Chairman Scott Tipton (CO-03): "Rural communities that have large swaths of public lands and rely on royalties from traditional energy resource production to fund schools, roads and other vital projects. This legislation will help spur additional funding for our communities by allowing the rapidly expanding renewable energy market to utilize public lands for production, all while preserving cherished recreation activities, such as hunting , fishing, hiking and biking. Public lands are best managed for multiple use, and I am proud to support that goal with introduction of the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act."

Vice-Chairman for Indian Affairs and Oceans Don Young (AK-At Large):"Alaska is home to hydro, wind, geothermal and solar – and quite frankly, this is why I have always advocated an all-of-the-above energy approach. I am proud to once again cosponsor this important legislation that would help Alaskans utilize their lands not only for oil and gas, but for renewable resources that play their own important role in the push for American energy dominance. I have always said that not one more gallon of diesel needs to be burned in the Alaskan communities with access to alternative energy resources, and this bill will help them make their own decisions for how best to meet their energy needs. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Natural Resources Committee to move this bill quickly to the floor."

Chief Agriculture and Business Officer Doug LaMalfa (CA-01): "The United States has many sources of renewable energy that aren’t being harnessed to their full potential because of bureaucratic backlogs and convoluted permitting processes. The bipartisan Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act helps get the most out of our vast public lands by streamlining the permitting process for accessing unique types of renewable energy sources, such as wind, geothermal, and solar for public land management agencies. This bill will encourage development of renewable energy sources by driving investment and distributing revenue, and it’ll bring America closer to achieving true energy independence."

Chief Rules Officer Dan Newhouse (WA-04): "In Central Washington and the Pacific Northwest, we proudly invest in an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and we should be empowering our public land management agencies to expand renewable energy projects. Not only will this bipartisan legislation improve our country’s ability to continue to build upon our development of renewable energy resources, but it will return money to states, counties, conservation funds, and the Treasury – taking an important step toward reducing our deficit and maintaining the beautiful public lands we all enjoy."

Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08): "I support this bill because it requires needed permitting reforms and provides a supplement to coal and natural gas, two sources on which northern Minnesotans are reliant to heat their homes. I also look forward to northern Minnesota supplying the steel, copper, nickel, and platinum group metals necessary for construction of renewable technologies, and allowing revenues from these renewable to flow to local communities."

Matthew Chase, Executive Director of the National Association of Counties:"Counties with large amounts of federal land pursue creative solutions to foster economic development and deliver critical county services. The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act is one solution that would encourage responsible renewable energy development and conservation while providing equitable revenue sharing to support county services. Counties commend Representatives Gosar and Levin and urge Congress to act swiftly on this legislation."

Chris Wood, CEO and President at Trout Unlimited: "The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act offers an innovative approach to advance renewable development while supporting fish and wildlife conservation on our vital public lands. It creates a win-win scenario in which states and counties, American energy consumers, and our public lands, all benefit. We thank Representatives Gosar for his steadfast leadership and applaud Representative Levin and Representatives LaMalfa, Lowenthal, Huffman, Tipton, Grijalva, and Bishop for their strong bipartisan work on the bill." 

Alex Daue, Wilderness Society: "This important legislation would help ensure that renewable energy development on our public lands is done in a responsible way that achieves our clean energy and environmental goals, while protecting our natural and cultural heritage. We look forward to this bill moving through the House in a bipartisan manner."

Background:

This week, Members of the Western Caucus spearhearded introduction of H.R. 3794, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, legislation which will increase production of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands while also establishing a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for states, counties, sportsmen, conservation and taxpayers.

Renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal are an integral part of the United States’ all-of-the-above energy strategy and our nation’s public lands can play a critical role in supporting that mission. While approximately 40% of total geothermal electric generating capacity comes from federal lands, only about 5% of combined total utility-scale wind energy capacity and utility-scale solar energy capacity comes from public lands. 

This bipartisan bill develops a streamlined process that will drive investment towards the highest quality renewable sources. This legislation uses upfront planning and careful siting to identify appropriate areas for wind, solar and geothermal energy.  In addition, PLREDA incentivizes development in these lower-conflict priority areas, while ensuring impacts to wildlife, habitat and cultural resources are avoided and minimized. The bill also directs agencies to provide staffing resources to ensure project permitting moves forward as efficiently as possible.

H.R. 3794 establishes a revenue sharing mechanism ensuring a fair return for relevant stakeholders. The revenue sharing mechanism will distribute certain revenues derived through this Act by returning 25% to the state where development occurs, 25% to the counties of origin, 25% is deposited into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes, including increasing access to outdoor recreation, 15% is directed for the purposes of more efficiently processing permit applications and reducing the backlog of renewable energy permits, and 10% is directed for deficit reduction.

H.R. 3794 is set for a Committee hearing on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 10:00 a.m., in Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building.

Current sponsors and cosponsors of this legislation include (28): Reps. Gosar (AZ-04)*, Mike Levin (CA-49)*, Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)*, Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)*, Scott Tipton (CO-03)*, and Jared Huffman (CA-02)* Mark Amodei (NC-02), Don Beyer (VA-08), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Rob Bishop (UT-01), Ed Case (HI-01) Paul Cook (CA-08), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Susan DelBene (WA-01), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Greg Gianforte (MT-At Large), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Ben Lujan (NM-03), Roger Marshall (KS-01), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), David Schweikert (AZ-06), Mike Simpson (ID-02), Pete Stauber (MN-08), Chris Stewart (UT-02), Mike Thompson (CA-05), and Don Young (AK-At Large). 

Endorsements so far for this legislation include: the American Sportfishing Association, American Wind Energy Association, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, EDF Renewables, First Solar, National Association of Counties, NextEra, Solar Energy Industries Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited and Wilderness Society.

Text of the bill can be found HERE.

f t # e

Stay Connected

Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.