Udall, Heinrich Introduce Bill to Incentivize Renewable Energy, Localize Benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 24, 2019) — U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined Senators Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and James Risch (R-Idaho) to introduce bipartisan legislation to incentivize responsible renewable energy development on public lands and allow local communities to reap the economic benefits.

The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act (PLREDA) of 2019 would streamline the permitting process for renewable energy development on public lands and establish a revenue sharing mechanism to ensure local communities receive a percentage of the revenue created by these projects.

"Public lands can and should be part of the solution to the climate crisis," Udall said. "I’m proud to support this legislation, which will encourage the responsible development of renewable energy on public lands – supporting our economy and benefiting the environment in the process. This is a win-win. New Mexico has the potential to lead our clean energy economy, and I’ll continue to support efforts to create jobs in renewables and other forward-looking sectors."

"The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act modernizes the leasing of federal public lands for development of solar and wind energy. This bill also directs revenues from these projects to impacted counties and critical wildlife habitat conservation projects," said Heinrich. "By streamlining renewable energy development, especially in a state with abundant wind and solar like New Mexico, we can create quality jobs and help make America more energy independent."

Specifically, PLREDA would:

• Use upfront planning and careful siting to identify appropriate areas for wind, solar and geothermal energy development and incentivize development in these lower-conflict priority areas.

• Ensure impacts to wildlife, habitat and cultural resources are avoided and minimized.

• Direct agencies to provide staffing resources to ensure project permitting moves forward as efficiently as possible.

• Distribute certain revenues derived through this Act by returning:

• 25 percent to the state where development takes place,

• 25 percent to counties of origin,

• 15 percent to more efficiently processing permit applications and reducing the backlog of renewable energy permits,

• 35 percent into a fund for conservation of fish and wildlife habitat and increasing access for outdoor recreation like hunting and fishing.

*The portion allocated to conservation funding will increase to 40 percent after 10 years by decreasing the distribution to permitting by 5 percent after the program has matured.

The full text of the legislation can be found HERE.