The pace of wind energy development on public lands is picking up. Interior Ken Salazar announced this week that the Department has reached its goal of authorizing 10,000 megawatts of renewable power on public lands with the approval of the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project site as suitable for wind energy development. The Project is (more…)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar approved this week a major natural gas project in Utah’s Uinta Basin that could develop more than 3,600 new wells over the next decade. The project will support up to 4,300 jobs during development.
By signing the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Greater Natural Buttes Project, proposed by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Secretary Salazar approved up to 3,675 new gas wells in an existing gas producing area in Uintah County, Utah. The decision follows a landmark comprehensive public consultation and conservation stakeholder involvement effort that resulted in a balanced approach to energy production and environmental protection that will boost America’s energy economy.
The project encompasses approximately 163,000 acres — but will bring new surface disturbance to just five percent of that area (approximately 8,100 acres) as a result of the 1,484 well pads approved in the ROD, which would be drilled over a period of 10 years.
The ROD was signed at a ceremony at the Kern River Compressor Station in Salt Lake City. Secretary Salazar and Director Abbey were joined by BLM Utah Director Juan Palma and representatives of Anadarko, the Wilderness Society and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.
The BLM prepared the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) or the project in coordination with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Uintah County, which participated as formal cooperating agencies during the EIS process. The BLM also closely coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure their concerns were addressed.
As a result of a collaborative process among federal, state, local and tribal governments, Anadarko and the Utah conservation community, the project will implement best management practices in the project area to safeguard air quality and protect crucial big game winter range, sage-grouse and sage-grouse habitat, sensitive soils, visual effects and recreational use.
Article by Roger Greenway, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.
The Obama administration has unveiled a plan detailing where utility-scale solar power projects can be developed in the western U.S., with 17 proposed solar energy zones in six western states given the highest priority for solar development.
The blueprint of the plan, released by the Bureau of (more…)
US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar likes to tout his department’s support for clean energy development on federal lands. But a decision last week to open 7,400 acres in Wyoming to increased coal mining calls into question how strong the Interior Department’s commitment to clean energy really is. If we’re serious about transforming the US economy to run on (more…)
U.S. officials say they will spend as much as $50.5 million to promote the growth of offshore wind energy in a push to achieve 54 gigawatts of electricity from offshore turbines by 2030.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the new initiative will seek to reduce the costs of (more…)
Congress isn’t going to regulate hydraulic fracturing any time soon. But the Department of Interior might. For starters, Interior is mulling whether it should require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they use to frack wells drilled on public lands, and already the suggestion has earned Interior Secretary Ken Salazar an earful. (more…)
Nine years into a regulatory battle that has been fought in virtually every legal , political and bureaucratic venue imaginable, Secretary of State Ken Salazar said today that the stakeholders must come to a compromise by March 1 or he would intervene and make the final decision on the proposed offshore wind farm in the waters of Nantucket Sound near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Salazar reiterated that if the timeline he laid down last week wasn’t met, he would consult with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent party, to make a final decision.
In a series of meetings with about three dozen representatives of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, Native American groups, Cape Wind and the primary opposition group, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Secretary Salazar said “the public, the applicants and all the stakeholders deserve resolution,” calling the nine-year process an example of government failure. (more…)
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his department will no longer be the “handmaiden” of the oil and gas industry and will conduct tougher environmental reviews of proposals to drill on public lands. Criticizing the Bush and administration for turning federal lands into a “candy store” for the petroleum industry, Salazar told reporters, “The difference is in the prior administration the oil and gas industry essentially were the kings of the world.” He said lax leasing policies “ran afoul of communities, carved up the landscape, and fueled costly conflicts that created uncertainty for investors and industry.”
Salazar said he was ordering federal land managers to get out from behind their desks and to visit proposed leasing sites to evaluate the environmental and social impacts of drilling. The stricter review process would not reduce the amount of oil and gas extracted from federal lands, Salazar said, but would ensure that drilling was done in a more responsible manner. (more…)
Yesterday’s big announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar heralded what may be a new era for solar power, as thousands of acres of federal land in six Southwestern states were set aside to become a special federal solar energy zone designed to facilitate siting, construction and deployment of as much as 70,000 MW of new solar capacity.
Today, it is wind’s turn in the sun. The front page of the Boston Globe and local broadcast reports are abuzz with the news that Governor Deval Patrick’s administration has released a new plan to re-zone state coastal waters to better balance the need for marine ecological protections with the hope that Massachusetts can harvest more of its offshore wind as useful electricity.
In the absence of all of the plan’s details (a full presser was scheduled for the afternoon of July 1 at the New England Aquarium in Boston), the media has already shifted to score-keeping. There is at least one clear loser, as the plan deals a death blow to a particular Buzzards Bay proposal for 300 MW of offshore wind. The wind farm would sit in what is now a restricted area.