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house Bill H.R. 3794

Should Red Tape Delaying Renewable Energy Development on Federal Lands be Eliminated?

Argument in favor

Renewable energy development on federally-owned public lands is crucial to increasing use of renewable energy across the U.S., and particularly in the West. Currently, these projects are being held up by bureaucratic red tape. This bill would cut through those delays and allow clean energy to be deployed more quickly, benefiting everyone through revenue-sharing.

Ayush's Opinion
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10/10/2019
Yes - the only way to stop climate change is to go all in. We need more renewable energy, less pollution, and more politicians ready to address the problem at hand.
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A's Opinion
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Today at 1:27 AM
Why should coal companies that close on a dime and fail to pay the back pay to their workers get such subsidies etc and not companies that aren’t destroying our planet? This is the least we should do.
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Aaron's Opinion
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10/11/2019
Yes. We need to maximize our use of renewables
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Argument opposed

This bill would gut environmental protections that are key to ensuring renewable energy development on public lands is done responsibly. Recent history shows that the Solar Energy Program can have negative impacts on devastating to local environments and communities.

jimK's Opinion
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10/11/2019
We certainly need to start working renewable energy. Some public lands would certainly be suitable for several alternative approaches. That being said, I do not want an excuse to simply rape valued national lands. The environmental controls must still be heeded. Perhaps there is a reasonable approach that can accelerate the approval process- which I would whole-heartedly recommend. I am also a little afraid of just starting large scale renewable projects without proper high level planning to ensure that projects do more good than harm. I am hung-go on getting started but want to do so in a coordinated and responsible manner - and not just shotgun projects all over the country without some study to assure resources are allocated to greatest impact, lowest consequence solutions. The effort to get to a zero carbon world will be expensive and time consuming. It must be done right the first time; there won’t be second chances.
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Scott's Opinion
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10/10/2019
The so called ‘red tape’ is there to protect the lands from greedy developers. They have a very bad track record of protecting public lands that are developed without sufficient oversight. This kind of bill only facilitates wanton destruction of resources.
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Robert (steve)'s Opinion
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10/10/2019
The use of federal land is a big question mark and makes me suspicious. There is plenty a privately owned land that could be purchased or leased. I am all for renewable energy, I just do not trust this bill.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Conservation and Forestry
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Energy and Mineral Resources
    IntroducedJuly 17th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 3794?

This bill — known as PLREDA — would cut the red tape standing in the way of renewable energy development on federal lands. It would promote the development of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands. It would also include measures to ensure a fair return for impacted states and communities and facilities investment towards the highest quality renewable resources. This bill would also incentivize development in lower-conflict priority areas while ensuring that impacts to wildlife, habitat, and cultural resources are avoided and minimizes. 

To ensure that relevant stakeholders receive a fair return, this bill would establish a revenue-sharing mechanism. This mechanism would distribute certain revenues derived by energy developments allowed by this bill as follows: 

  • 25% would go to the state where the development occurs;
  • 25% would go to the counties of origin;
  • 25% would be deposited into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes, including increasing access to outdoor recreation;
  • 15% would go to efforts to make permit application processing more efficient and to reduce the renewable energy permit backlog; and
  • 10% would go to deficit reduction.

Additionally, this bill would create a Renewable Energy Coordination Office to streamline the permitting process. It would also require the Dept. of the Interior (DOI) to identify priority areas of land for renewable energy projects every five years. 

Finally, this bill would allow the DOI fee discretion authority. This would give the DOI the authority to reduce rental rates and capacity fees on public lands to encourage their development.

This bill’s full title is the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019. 

Impact

Federal lands; states; counties; renewable energy; renewable energy development on federal lands; renewable energy permitting; and the Dept. of the Interior.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3794

$419.00 Million
In the 115th Congress, the CBO estimated that increase direct spending by $415 million over the 2018-2027 period and cost an additional $5 million to implement over the 2018-2022 period.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to cut red tape that delays renewable energy development on American public lands

“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 revenue for development impacting their communities is a no brainer."

In a July 25, 2019 tweet thread, Rep. Gosar wrote, “PLREDA rightfully returns revenues to states and counties where development occurs as well as improves conservation efforts and access for sportsmen and women.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) says renewable energy development, including on federal public lands, is key to addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

“As we work to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is critical that we embrace renewable energy development. Our federal public lands are ripe for solar, wind, and geothermal energy, and this legislation facilitates important environmentally sound development. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation and look forward to a hearing on the bill in the coming weeks.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) adds that this bill would benefit rural communities

“Rural communities that have large swaths of public lands 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 [the] introduction of the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act."

John Bowman, Managing Director, Government Affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, says:

“This legislation modernizes how we harness energy on America’s public lands.  It helps identify areas appropriate for tapping wind, solar and geothermal energy—and minimizes impacts on wildlife, habitat and local communities. With this legislation, we have an opportunity to get this right from the start, by deploying climate friendly clean energy on our public lands in a way that is smart and effective.”

This legislation is particularly important to Western states. Testifying before the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on July 25, 2019, David Bobzien, Director of Nevada’s Office of Energy, noted that Nevada’s goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050 will be difficult to turn into reality without new utility-scale projects on public lands. Similarly, other Western states with sizeable areas of BLM-managed lands will also struggle to expand their renewable energy supplies without development on public lands.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) supports this bill. Its Vice President of Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Tom Vinson, says: 

“The American Wind Energy Association is encouraged by this bipartisan action to drive more renewable energy development on public lands. Challenges remain, but we believe this bill will help make more lands available for clean, low-cost wind energy—something that’s in the interest of every American. Harnessing more of the inexhaustible wind energy resource found on our public lands will boost U.S. energy security, reduce air pollution, conserve precious water resources, and create good jobs.”

The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) has been a longstanding proponent of sharing revenues from renewable energy leasing on federal lands with impacted states and counties. In a July 24, 2019 letter to House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources leadership, the WGA wrote: 

“The West is rich in wind, solar, and geothermal energy resources, including on federal lands, and accessing these resources is a critical part of our region’s and the nation’s energy future. Western Governors support clear and coordinated permitting processes to promote the responsible and efficient development of these resources. As with other forms of energy development, this development must be accompanied by the disposition of revenues to states and counties to compensate them for the effects of renewable energy projects within their borders.”

The Center for Biological Diversity opposed this bill in the 115th Congress, tallying it as part of “Congress’ assault on public lands” in Trump’s first year in office. In a report, the Center for Biological Diversity wrote: 

“The stakes for America’s public lands have never been higher. Congressional attacks on lands and oceans held in trust for all Americans reached a fever pitch in 2017 and don’t show any signs of letting up. Public lands are some of the nation’s most spectacular places, providing respite and recreation for millions, critical wildlife habitat, clean air and water… Lawmakers hostile to public lands and beholden to corporate interests clearly see the Trump administration as a golden opportunity to seize, dismantle, destroy or privatize America’s public lands and hand control to private industry to mine, drill, log and bulldoze.”

A July 26, 2015 post on the Mojave Desert Blog opposing this bill in the 114th Congress argued that it would “allow Washington to short-circuit environmental review” to the detriment of environmental protections and the natural environment. The post continued: 

“[P]rogrammatic energy development plans have shown significant deference to industry and offer environmental shortcuts for industry to bulldoze significant swaths of intact habitat. If you want to imagine what will happen if the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act passes, you can take a close look at the Solar Energy Program established in 2012 that left hundreds of thousands of acres of beautiful desert valleys vulnerable to energy development through variance lands and development priority areas known as Solar Energy Zones. Projects in Solar Energy Zones receive streamlined environmental review, but at significant cost to wildlands and natural resources… Th[is] legislation will likely result in hundreds of thousands of acres of additional energy zones and variance lands across the west for wind and geothermal energy, catering to corporate access and discarding wildlife, recreation and solitude.”

This legislation has 37 bipartisan cosponsors, including 19 Democrats and 18 Republicans. It’s also supported by both environmental and industry groups, including The Wilderness Society, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Association of Counties, NextEra Energy, Solar Energy Institutes Association, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), EDF Renewables, and First Solar. It’s also supported by a number of sportsmen’s groups, such as the American Sportfishing Association, Trout Unlimited, and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

Last Congress, this legislation passed the House Committees on Natural Resources and Agriculture with the support of 39 bipartisan cosponsors, including 23 Democrats and 16 Republicans.


Of NoteFrom 2009-2016, the Obama administration approved 60 wind, solar, and geothermal energy projects on federally-owned Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. However, since 2017, only two new renewable energy projects have been approved on public lands. 

In Arizona alone, the BLM has already designated three Solar Energy Zones, also known as Designated Leasing Areas, for development. These are lower-conflict areas that have undergone a public stakeholder process with the goal of designated efficient development in those areas. Additionally, the BLM has designated over 190,000 acres of priority solar and wind development areas across the state, expanding opportunities for lower-impact development.

Valerie Morrill, director at large for the Arizona Wildlife Federation, argues that developing Arizona’s public lands for utility-scale solar power and other clean energy resources would benefit the state’s economy, wildlife, and more: 

“A typical utility-scale solar power plant powers the needs of tens of thousands of homes and contributes millions of dollars in state and local tax revenues. The act can help spur the development of more such beneficial solar power plants. Developing clean energy resources in these BLM Designated Leasing Areas on Arizona’s public lands while protecting our most important wildlife habitat and cultural resources will help ensure long-term benefits for our counties, our state and for future generations who will appreciate our foresight and our careful planning for their well-being.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / zhongguo)

AKA

Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019

Official Title

To promote the development of renewable energy on public lands, and for other purposes.

    Yes - the only way to stop climate change is to go all in. We need more renewable energy, less pollution, and more politicians ready to address the problem at hand.
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    We certainly need to start working renewable energy. Some public lands would certainly be suitable for several alternative approaches. That being said, I do not want an excuse to simply rape valued national lands. The environmental controls must still be heeded. Perhaps there is a reasonable approach that can accelerate the approval process- which I would whole-heartedly recommend. I am also a little afraid of just starting large scale renewable projects without proper high level planning to ensure that projects do more good than harm. I am hung-go on getting started but want to do so in a coordinated and responsible manner - and not just shotgun projects all over the country without some study to assure resources are allocated to greatest impact, lowest consequence solutions. The effort to get to a zero carbon world will be expensive and time consuming. It must be done right the first time; there won’t be second chances.
    Like (66)
    Follow
    Share
    The so called ‘red tape’ is there to protect the lands from greedy developers. They have a very bad track record of protecting public lands that are developed without sufficient oversight. This kind of bill only facilitates wanton destruction of resources.
    Like (41)
    Follow
    Share
    The use of federal land is a big question mark and makes me suspicious. There is plenty a privately owned land that could be purchased or leased. I am all for renewable energy, I just do not trust this bill.
    Like (34)
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    Share
    Even at the benefit of creating more renewable energy, I still oppose destroying the environmental regulations created to protect our public lands. That’s a really self defeating proposal. Pick a different way. One that uses responsible development.
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    What they’re saying is cut the epa out of the process. Which means they just pick a spot and plop it down and to hell with any impact it might have on the environment. I’d rather accelerate the change by o renewables AND still perform environmental impact studies. By now I’m sure that the solar,wind and geothermal companies etc know exactly where they want to put stuff. Likewise I’m sure the NPS and EPA have records of whether those places are minimal impact spots or not.
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    No reason to make federal public land look like an industrial zone instead of a nature reserve!!! Save the animals natural habits & quit the ugly wind towers/solar farms!!!
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    The red tape exists to prevent pollution and destruction. Keep It
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    I'm a liberal and renewable energy is a very important to me but clean energy has to be developed responsibly.
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    NO RENEWABLE OR NON-RENEWABLE searching on National Lands. The Trump Bunch has NEARLY DESTROYED OUR NATIONAL LANDS ALREADY.
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    Why impeach: Refusing to comply with the law. Using the power of the presidency to withhold aide to one of the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet in exchange for political favors in order to sway the 20/20 election. Acting like a criminal and threatening the life of the whistleblower. Mr. America first is sending troops to Saudi Arabia in support of a murdering dictator who spends millions at his hotels and resorts. Corey Lewandowski testified to congress that trump ordered him to obstruct justice. Blocking information that pertains to the safety of our country from reaching congress. Has been threatening NOAA, a federal agency, with punishment if they do not disavow the truth and side with his lies. Invited the Taliban to Camp David the week of 9/11. #PussyAssBitch He’s doctoring weather maps to try and prove he’s not an idiot. Has stayed at trump properties 293 days in 3 years, that’s our tax dollars going directly into his pocket. Took money from military daycares to pay for a wall that won’t work and no one wants. The Vice President and the Attorney General are both spending tax payer dollars on trump hotels, lining his pockets and currying his favor. Privately instructed aides to skirt laws and regulations to get the wall built faster — and told them he will pardon them if necessary. Pressuring a government agency to give a contract for his wall to a company whose chief executive is a donor to one of his top GOP allies in Congress. Took hundreds of millions from 127 different projects (FEMA being one of those) for his wall. Thinks nuking a hurricane is an idea. Pushing to host the next G-7 at one of his own resorts. Taunted Iran by tweeting a classified image of an Iranian rocket that had exploded, thereby potentially compromising U.S. intelligence capabilities. His own company would save millions from the low interest rates he is demanding. Was going to give you tax cuts through your paychecks but decided not to. Destroying the economy with HIS trade war. We will soon average a 1.2 trillion deficit. He is repeating NRA talking points on background checks so expect no action taken regardless of the fact there has been 27 arrested over threats to commit mass attacks since El Paso( NOT TOLEDO). Made fun of republicans being afraid of the NRA and then caved after a 30 minute phone conversation with them. Bragged about indefinite child detention because it brings families together. Refusing flue shots, that protect us all(google influenza pandemic), to immigrant children. Attacking fellow congresswomen in really disgusting ways and making anti-Semitic remarks about Jews calling them disloyal. Thinks he’s the chosen one based on a conspiracy theory web sight. Impeachment: Obstruction of Justice. Profiting from the Presidency. Collusion - They had a meeting & lied about it. Advocating political & police violence. Abuse of power. Engaging in reckless behavior. Persecuting political opponents. Attacking the free press. Violating immigrants Right to Due Process. Violating campaign finance laws. Racist: Speaks directly to and often tweeting straight from white supremacists. Calls them very fine people. Told fellow congresswomen to go back where they came from. Called them shit hole countries. Called them murderers and rapists. Calls her Pocahontas. Took out full page adds calling for the death of five innocent black kids in New York, 1989. Literally has said in an interview he has Hitlers speeches, My New Order in his nightstand. Our Money: Spent campaign finance money on hush payments to silence a porn star he had an affair with in order to hide it from the voters. Has spent over $100 million of our tax dollars playing golf at his own golf courses. Has never divested from companies and advertises and profits off the White House. Was going to cut Medicaid and Medicare funding to pay for the tax cuts he gave to the rich. Is actively destroying farmers lives with his trade wars that we all know only hurts our pockets not Chinas. Has made the lives of every truck driver across America as well as our own, more dangerous by removing safety regulations that only benefits the pockets of the CEOs of those companies. Has removed any and all protections we had in place from work safety, environment, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and gives that power back to the CEOs, oil companies, men and old white men. Saudi funded lobbyist rented 500 rooms at a trump hotel he never divested from right after he became president. Wonder why? Sexual Predator: Accused by more than 20 women of molestation and rape. Bragged about said molestation on tape. Has cheated on all three wives (see above). Has made sexual remarks on camera about his daughter. Belittles and bully’s strong women. Not even sure he’s aware he has two daughters. Idiot: Has allowed North Korea to grow there nuclear weapons program. Took the side of Putin over America’s own security agencies on the national stage. Lacks the intelligence and facts needed to communicate on a global level much less national one. Makes policy decisions based on FOX media. Lies when speaks. Doesn’t believe in science and quite often displays his ignorance of it. Russia: Lied about meetings with Russians. Lied about a trump tower Moscow. Personal attorney Michael Cohen (same guy who broke campaign finance laws under trumps direction) had contacts with russian officials. National Security aide Flynn resigned over Russian contacts. Jeff Sessions recused himself because of Russian contacts. Manafort resigned because of Russian contacts. Campaign foreign policy adviser Papadopoulos met with Russians then bragged about it to Australians who then turned that info over to our FBI. Sixteen campaign officials had contacts with Russia and at least nine others new about it. Russian mobster lived in trump tower. trump casino was flagged 106 times for lax money laundering standards and same Russian frequently stayed at trump casino. Has been selling real estate to Russians for years. It really is surprising how many connections to Russians this man has. Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Bill Posey You are my representatives. OLC policy: The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions. It’s time to do your job. You swore an oath to this country, it’s people and me to uphold the constitution. The president has never upheld that oath. How do you want to be remembered?
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    No, work with in the system or seek to provide a better system for everyone going forward. I am done with quick fixes that fail to account for the long term consequences. Like slow walking an impeachment inquiry vote in order to help “vulnerable Democrats” at the expense of the long term impacts to our National Security. Or like, protecting an unfit president because of the potential fall out from Putin/desire to continue your shadow government. Besides, there isn’t enough political trust for me to believe anything Republicans propose, and especially in relationship to both federal land/regulations as long as the GOP continueS to back Trump. And especially not after Republicans allowed Trump to stoop to a whole new low just today; The Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposal for regulating lead in drinking water will leave millions of American children exposed to dangerous levels of the highly potent neurotoxin, which can cause permanent brain damage, warned the Environmental Working Group.
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    I was onboard with this bill until I read the part about revenue sharing. Renewables show promise, but not at the expense of our natural resources and certainly not to redistribute wealth.
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    I knew this bill had to be the idea of a Repugnant. No, you do not just go about raping Federal lands. You MUST GO THROUGH THE HOOPS, SO WE CAN KNOW THAT WHAT YOU DO WILL NOT BE ENVIRONMENTALLY DESTRUCTIVE!
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    Regulations are written for good reasons. This is just another attempt to destroy our regulatory process and force privatization. I am against it.
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    Can we improve our utilization of renewable resources without using federal lands? Destroying areas of preserved nature to to achieve green goals seems like “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
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    Please PROTECT PUBLIC LANDS!! No to development or revenue ideas.
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    Huge NO Brainer-yes
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    Bill introduced by a Republican. I have no faith in anyone on the right to do what is best for this country or the environment. The GOP only introduces bills to enrich themselves and screw everyone else. 🖕GOP
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    The doublespeak BS is heavy in this one. Renewable energy is good, but not if the price is gutting our environmental protections.
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