BLM Reverses Course on Solar Energy Project Moratorium

The United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced on July 2, 2008 that it will not implement a moratorium on reviewing solar energy project applications during the time that an environmental impact statement is prepared to study potential impacts of such projects. Recently, an outcry was raised when the agency announced that during the time the EIS was being prepared it would not accept additional solar project applications for review. With the current energy crisis reaching serious levels, many wondered why the BLM would suspend potential development of renewable energy sources like solar energy. Of note, the BLM did not suspend wind or geothermal energy project applications during its environmental review of those projects. Considering the vast amount of land in BLM's ownership - primarily in the Western United States and Alaska - permitting of utility-scale solar energy projects on its land is crucial to demonstrating true governmental backing of solar project on federal lands. If the permit applications currently pending are approved, more than 20 million homes could be powered by clean, renewable solar energy. Just think of the savings in electric bills that could be realized. The reduction in CO2 emissions and corresponding effect on global warming cannot even begin to be estimated with the delivery of clean, carbon-free electricity that could be realized through permitting of solar projects. The next push is to convince BLM to expedite the processing of the applications that have already been submitted. As of the date of this publishing, BLM has not approved a single solar energy project.

For more information regarding the EIS process, see: Solareis

Photo by Stephanie Hicks (Lake of the Woods, Oregon - July 2007)


  1. In this day and age, it's hard to imagine that they would not be more open to finding ways (any ways!) to find viable alternate sources of energy.

    Good post, Steph.

  2. Thank you Shirley! I agree that it is puzzling that BLM and other federal agencies are slow, if not resistant, to cleaner renewable energy sources like solar power. With oil prices so high and global warming a serious concern, it is prime time for the government to step up and lead the way to a more viable future.

  3. Thanks for the post. I DUGG it and linked to it at Squidoo on my solarpowerlens.

    Best wishes, Jim


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