BLM Finalizes Rule to Lower Annual Charges for Wind and Solar Projects

By |2024-04-18T16:27:11+00:00April 18th, 2024|Federal Lands, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy|

On 11 April 2024 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a prepublication copy of a final rule that will reduce annual rent and capacity fees for wind and solar energy rights-of-way (ROWs), allow noncompetitive leasing in Designated Leasing Areas (DLAs), modify BLM’s approach to prioritizing applications, and make other changes to the application process. The rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Rents and Capacity Fees The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 directs BLM to collect fair market value for use of public lands. Under [...]

BLM Proposes Permitting Revisions to Support Renewables

By |2024-04-17T21:41:13+00:00July 19th, 2023|Federal Lands, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy|

On 15 June 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a proposed rule that would partially rewrite the agency’s regulations pertaining to wind and solar energy development of federal public lands. Comments are due by 15 August 2023. The proposed rule would significantly reduce BLM’s annual charges for new and existing wind and solar rights-of-way (ROWs) by using different methodologies to calculate acreage rent and capacity fees and applying additional reductions; allow for noncompetitive leasing within designated leasing areas (DLAs); and make various other changes to the existing regulations that are generally favorable [...]

California Protects Western Joshua Tree, Adopts Permitting Framework

By |2024-04-17T21:41:16+00:00June 29th, 2023|Endangered Species, Solar Energy|

On 27 June 2023, the California legislature passed the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act, which California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign into law in a matter of days. The western Joshua tree has been protected as a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) since 2020, although the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) has repeatedly punted on whether to formally list the species as threatened or endangered. The Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act formally prohibits the take of that species absent a permit. The Act also adopts a refreshingly straightforward permitting [...]

Biden Administration Scraps Trump-Era Migratory Bird Rule, Looks Ahead to Incidental Take Permitting

By |2024-04-17T21:42:45+00:00October 6th, 2021|BGEPA and MBTA, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy|

On 4 October 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced its intent to revoke a Trump-era rule that limited the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to prohibiting intentional take of avian species and instead develop a new rule for the authorization of what soon will again otherwise be prohibited incidental take. Effective 3 December 2021, the agency will return to implementing the MBTA as prohibiting “incidental take” of birds that results from otherwise lawful activities. As predicted, we will then be back to a world in which USFWS’s enforcement [...]

California Goes All In on Offshore Wind

By |2024-04-17T21:42:50+00:00September 28th, 2021|Federal Lands, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy|

On 23 September 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom jumpstarted the state’s offshore wind energy industry by signing Assembly Bill (AB) 525 into law. AB 525 directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to coordinate with other state agencies to develop a long-term strategic plan for offshore wind development in federal waters off the California coast. The bill also requires the CEC to establish statewide offshore wind capacity goals for 2030 and 2045 by the middle of 2022. These steps will lay the groundwork for large-scale installations off California’s 840-mile coast in the coming decades. Background [...]

BLM Wakes Up to the Climate Crisis

By |2024-04-17T21:42:54+00:00September 1st, 2021|Federal Lands, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy|

Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a solicitation of public input on a proposed revision of the agency’s renewable energy permitting regulations. BLM intends to publish a proposed rule in early 2022. The BLM announcement includes links to two national and two regional listening sessions held between 14 September and 26 September where stakeholders can provide oral comments. BLM invites written comments within the same timeframe as well. BLM is specifically interested in comments on multiple topics that have been controversial within the renewable energy industry since BLM’s last retooling of its [...]

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