The New York Times and the Guardian have both reported that the US’ Bureau of Land Management’s decision to temporarily halt all new solar development on public land in six western states is being lifted.
With so many concerns from the solar industry and members of Congress that the ban would stifle solar technology development the change in heart was a little expected – albeit not in such a short time scale. It had only announced the ban at the end of May citing the need to study the environmental effects of solar energy over a two year period.
“We heard the concerns expressed during the scoping period about waiting to consider new applications, and we are taking action,” the bureau’s director, James Caswell, reportedly said in a statement. “By continuing to accept and process new applications for solar energy projects, we will aggressively help meet growing interest in renewable energy sources, while ensuring environmental protections.”
More from the New York Times:
“In the meantime, the bureau will continue with its plans to conduct a sweeping study on the environmental impacts of large-scale solar development on public land in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, said a spokeswoman, Celia Boddington.
Since 2005, the bureau has received more than 130 applications from private companies to build plants in those states, where large amounts of sun-scorched land make for prime solar real estate. Those proposals cover more than a million acres and have the potential to power 20 million homes.”