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Utilizing America's Federal Lands for Wind Energy Act (H.R. 2172)
Status: Passed in Committee on July 13, 2011 with a bipartisan vote of 26 to 16. Placed on the House Calendar.
  • The Utilizing America’s Federal Lands for Wind Energy Act will speed the production of clean, renewable American energy by streamlining the process to develop onshore wind power on Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands.
  • Renewable energy production is an important part of House Republicans’ all-of-the-above energy approach that will help create American jobs and protect the environment.
  • The United States has some of the most promising areas for wind power development in the world. However, despite the enormous potential, the development of wind energy on federal lands is often stifled by bureaucratic delays, conflicting agency decisions, and unclear regulations.
  • In order to encourage the timely, efficient development of onshore wind energy resources, this bill sets a firm timeline for issuing permits on federal land and streamlines the regulatory requirements for installing temporary infrastructures to test and monitor weather. Requiring burdensome, duplicative reviews for temporary structures that have negligible impact is unnecessary and dramatically impedes the production of clean, renewable wind power.
  • Specifically, the Utilizing America’s Federal Lands for Wind Energy Act:
    • Sets a 30 day timeline for the Secretary of the Interior to act on permits for all weather testing and monitoring projects on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service leased land.

    • Streamlines the environmental review process needed to place temporary infrastructure to determine the best location for windmills as long as the project meets the following requirement: is removed within five years, disrupts less than one acre at the location of each tower or device, and disrupts no more than five acres within the proposed right-of-way for the project.

    • Protects the environment by requiring the project site to be restored to the condition it was in when the project began. It also requires that temporary infrastructure be installed near existing access roads, to the maximum extent possible.

    • If the permit is denied, it requires the Secretary to provide a written answer explaining why and offer an opportunity to remedy.

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