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Citing the critical need to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, build a clean energy economy and create new jobs, Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Ken Salazar recently issued a secretarial order making the production, development and delivery of renewable energy top priorities for the department.

Salazar's secretarial order establishes an energy and climate change task force that will spur this agenda and identify specific zones on U.S. public lands where the DOI can facilitate a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production of solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy.

For these renewable energy zones to succeed, Salazar points out that the DOI will need to work closely with other federal agencies, states and American Indian tribes to determine what electric transmission infrastructure and transmission corridors are needed to deliver these renewable resources to major population centers.

The task force will prioritize the permitting and appropriate environmental review of transmission rights-of-way applications that are necessary to deliver renewable energy generation to consumers. The task force will work to resolve obstacles to renewable energy permitting, siting, development and production.

To help accomplish these goals, DOI may need to revise existing policies or create new policies, Salazar says, citing as examples the geothermal, wind, and West-Wide Corridors Programmatic environmental impact statements and their respective records of decisions. DOI will also finalize a regulation for offshore renewable development.

SOURCE: Department of the Interior


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