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[at-l] BLM Encourages Wind Power Development

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BLM Encourages Wind Power Development

WASHINGTON, DC, October 18, 2002 (ENS) - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
has issued guidelines to help the agency respond to a growing interest in the
commercial development of wind energy projects on public lands. The
guidelines, set forth in a Wind Energy Development Policy issued by the BLM,
cover the processing of right of way applications for wind energy site
testing and monitoring facilities, as well as applications for commercial
wind energy development projects on BLM managed public lands. "The BLM fully
supports the President's National Energy Policy, which is aimed at developing
domestic energy to reduce America's dependence on foreign sources of energy,"
said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke. "Along with traditional sources of energy
produced from the public lands - including coal, natural gas and oil -
renewable resources such as wind energy can play a important role in meeting
American's energy needs." The BLM Wind Energy Policy provides consistent
guidance on land use plan requirements for wind energy development, and the
authorization of wind energy activities on public land as Federal Land Policy
and Management Act rights-of-way. The policy covers the establishment of
rental fees for site testing and monitoring authorizations and minimum rental
fees for commercial development. The policy also addresses the efficient
processing and tracking of right of way applications, due diligence
requirements, and requirements for environmental review of wind energy
activities. "Continued growth in wind energy development will be extremely
important in delivering larger supplies of clean domestic power for America's
growing economy," said Pete Culp, special assistant to the BLM director for
energy policy. The BLM now administers 25 wind energy right of way
authorizations on public lands in California and Wyoming. The sites cover
about 5,000 acres and generate about 500 megawatts of electrical power per
year. The interest in wind energy development is increasing, and the BLM has
received some 30 new applications for projects in Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico,
California, Wyoming and Washington. The BLM manages more land - 262 million
surface acres - than any other federal agency. Most of the country's BLM
managed public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.