Two new bills before Congress lay out a conservative, balanced approach to renewable energy development on our public lands. Wind and solar energy are great ways to meet our energy needs, but like all energy development, renewable energy projects have impacts on the landscape. When such projects take place on public lands, they must include adequate process and public engagement. Renewable energy development must consider other valuable uses of the land, including human powered outdoor recreation.
Senate Bill 1775 and House Bill 5991, both called The Public Lands and Renewable Energy Act, meet this standard. These bills would create a leasing program that includes a trial period, and require consultation from the public and from the users of the land. Furthermore, these bills would create a reinvestment program to help mitigate the impacts of the development.