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New Regulation to Guide Renewable Energy Development on Public Lands


Media contact: Catalina Tresky, (202) 772-0253 or ctresky@defenders.org


New Regulation to Guide Renewable Energy Development on Public Lands

WASHINGTON (November 10, 2016) – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its final competitive leasing rule today. The new regulation establishes a competitive bidding process for renewable energy companies to develop on public lands and incentivizes development in pre-screened designated leasing areas with the lowest conflicts for wildlife conservation.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“The new competitive leasing rule incentivizes ‘smart from the start’ renewable energy development on public lands where it least conflicts with wildlife and their habitat.

“This is a win for clean energy development, wildlife and public lands.”


Smart from the Start Renewable Energy Development

Smart from the start renewable energy development aims to avoid or minimize adverse effects on wildlife by first identifying key areas important for the long-term survival and recovery of plants and animals and then working to protect these areas by incentivizing development on more degraded lands with lower value for wildlife habitat.

In July 2014, the BLM held a competitive auction for renewable energy development in the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zones (SEZ) in Nevada. The July 30 auction, which generated over $5.8 million in bids, selected preferred applicants to develop utility-scale solar energy projects on six parcels across 3,000 acres in Clark County. The projects in these SEZs were approved in under a year and one project is already under construction. This demonstrates that directing renewable development to low-conflict lands can help to speed permitting of new renewable development.

BLM’s Competitive Leasing Rule

In September 2014, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a proposed competitive leasing process by BLM to encourage solar and wind energy development on public lands in the West. Defenders of Wildlife submitted substantive comments on the proposed rule. The final regulation will be published in the Federal Register in the next 30 days (expected December 2016) and finalized 30 days after that (expected early January 2017).



Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.