"The west-wide solar plan opens a generational opportunity–and moral imperative–to move towards a clean energy future that also protects delicate ecosystems and wildlife that share our public lands." - Matt Kirby, NPCA’s Senior Energy and Landscape Conservation Director
Washington D.C. - Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released an updated long-term plan for balancing land conservation with solar energy development on public lands across the western United States.
The BLM’s draft Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) will shape the landscape of large-scale energy project planning across 11 western states, determining the ‘what,’ ‘how,’ and the ‘where’ behind new energy projects.
“The challenge of our time is tackling the dual crises of climate change and catastrophic biodiversity loss. We can’t attend to one without the other,” said Matt Kirby senior energy and landscape conservation director at the National Parks Conservation Association. “The west-wide solar plan opens a generational opportunity–and moral imperative–to move towards a clean energy future that also protects delicate ecosystems and wildlife that share our public lands.”
Across the West, our public lands are alive with thousands of charismatic wildlife species, iconic cultural history, and Native American communities that are intrinsically connected to this land. These landscapes also combat climate change, capturing and storing carbon. From Arches to Yellowstone, national parks welcome millions of visitors each year that fuel sustainable local economies and enrich our quality of life. In 2022 alone, 312 million national park visitors spent $23.9 billion in communities near park entrances. If built-in compatible places, renewable energy development can protect those landscapes for the long term.
NPCA has worked for years in thoughtful partnership with communities, decision makers, and the administration to improve renewable energy policy, through efforts including the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). If shaped appropriately, the solar PEIS can build upon successes from the desert plan, on a large-scale level.
About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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