Representatives Mike Levin and Paul Gosar Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Renewable Energy on Public Lands

July 18, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, a bill to help combat the climate crisis and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by promoting development of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands. The bill is cosponsored by Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Scott Tipton (R-CO), and others.

“As we work to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is critical that we embrace renewable energy development,” said Representative Levin. “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.”

"This bipartisan bill will cut red tape standing in the way of developing renewable energy across America's public lands,” said Representative Gosar. “Increasing access for sportsmen as well as ensuring counties and states receive adequate revenue for development impacting their communities is a no brainer.”

“With some of the country’s windiest, sunniest, and most geologically active areas, our federal public lands have great potential for renewable energy deployment,” said Representative Lowenthal. “This legislation fixes some of the barriers to entry that renewable energy has faced. Updating the permitting, siting, and planning process to fit the needs and realities, PLREDA will more easily allow renewable energy projects to enter into leases on public lands. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with my colleagues on this truly bipartisan effort.”

“America’s public lands can help us cut carbon pollution,” said Representative Huffman. “Congress can do more to improve renewable energy development siting, and take a much-needed step towards tackling our climate crisis. I’m glad to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act to drive renewable energy development, creating jobs and spurring local economies all while protecting sensitive sites.”

“Americans consider meaningful action on climate change a moral imperative, and this bill turns our public lands into even more of an asset in solving the climate crisis,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva. “We need to lead the way to a zero-carbon future and create a new generation of employment opportunities across this nation. Passing this bill is a big part of that equation.”

“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 climate goals, while protecting our natural and cultural heritage,” said Alex Daue, assistant director of energy and climate at The Wilderness Society. “We look forward to this bill moving through the House in a bipartisan manner.”

“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,” said John Bowman, Managing Director, Government Affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council.  “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.”

“Expanding the development of solar energy on public lands is vitally important as our industry pushes toward the goal of 20% of all U.S electricity generation coming from solar by 2030,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “H.R. 3794, The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, will help us in those efforts by providing a mechanism whereby our companies can invest in rural America and the revenue will be provided to the local communities that need and deserve it.” 

“The American Wind Energy Association is encouraged by this bipartisan action to drive more renewable energy development on public lands,” said Tom Vinson, AWEA’s Vice President of Policy and Regulatory Affairs. “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.”

Background:

The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019 helps combat the climate crisis and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the development of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands. The bill includes measures to ensure a fair return for impacted states and communities and facilitates investment towards the highest quality renewable sources. In addition, PLREDA incentivizes development in these lower-conflict priority areas, while ensuring impacts to wildlife, habitat and cultural resources are avoided and minimized.

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 is set for Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 10:00 a.m., in Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building.

Sponsors and cosponsors of this legislation include (25): Reps. Mike Levin (CA-49)*, Paul Gosar (AZ-04)*, 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), Rob Bishop (UT-01), Paul Cook (CA-08), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Greg Gianforte (MT-At Large), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Roger Marshall (KS-01), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), David Schweikert (AZ-06), Mike Simpson (ID-02), Pete Stauber (MN-08), Chris Stewart (UT-02), and Don Young (AK-At Large).

Also endorsing this legislation are The Wilderness Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Solar Energy Industries Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Association of Counties, NextEra Energy, American Wind Energy Association, EDF Renewables, and First Solar.

###