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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that seeks to streamline the agencies' siting and permitting processes for wind energy projects and facilitate cooperation among federal and state agencies.

The MOU delineates the roles, responsibilities and procedures that BLM and ODOE must follow in carrying out a joint environmental review of commercial wind energy projects. Law firm Stoel Rives facilitated this process.

The MOU focuses primarily on collaboration between BLM and ODOE in processing Oregon's Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) applications and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation. Compliance with NEPA requires relatively detailed technical analysis supported by extensive documentation.

By collaborating on the preparation of NEPA and EFSC documents pursuant to the MOU, BLM and the state of Oregon are optimistic that they will be able to conduct the environmental review more efficiently and provide project applicants with greater clarity on permitting requirements.

This MOU is important because of the increasingly limited availability of private land in Oregon for wind energy development and the potentially significant amounts of federal land suitable for such projects, according to law firm Stoel Rives.

Providing a more effective means of permitting projects on public lands presents a real opportunity for wind energy project developers to expand their presence and investment in renewable energy in Oregon.

SOURCE: Stoel Rives LLP

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