BLM hosting series of public meetings to discuss progress to catalyze solar energy development throughout the West

Updated roadmap for solar development will help meet President Biden’s goals for net-zero electric grid by 2035



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WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is holding two virtual and six in-person open-house meetings in February and March to provide information on the Department of the Interior’s ongoing efforts to support appropriate renewable energy development on our nation’s public lands through an updated Western Solar Plan. 

The public meetings will preview the BLM’s proposed revisions to the agency’s Utility-Scale Solar Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (known as the updated Western Solar Plan), which would streamline the BLM’s framework for siting solar energy projects and expand BLM’s solar energy program to cover five additional states across the West. 

“The BLM is committed to ensuring public lands do their part to meet our nation’s clean energy goals,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “We can and must do so responsibly, and we look forward to hearing from the public on how to achieve that balance.” 

By directing development to areas that have fewer sensitive resources, less conflict with other uses of public lands, and close proximity to transmission lines, the BLM can permit clean energy more efficiently while maintaining robust public and Tribal engagement, which are central features of all BLM reviews of individual projects. 

The general public meeting schedule is as follows:

Mon, Feb. 5: Virtual
Tue, Feb. 6: Boise, Idaho Mon, Feb. 12: Cedar City, Utah Tue, Feb. 13: Las Vegas, Nev. Thu, Feb. 15: Yuma, Ariz. Tue, Feb. 20: Grand Junction, Colo. Thu, Feb. 22: Albuquerque, N.M. Wed, Mar. 6: Virtual

For more details including specific time and venue information, please visit BLM’s ePlanning web site. Individuals who wish to attend one of the virtual public meetings, to be held via Zoom and scheduled for 11 a.m. MST on Monday, February 5 and Wednesday, March 6, can register online.

The updated Western Solar Plan evaluates six alternatives, each proposing to make different amounts of public land available to solar development applications under different criteria such as proximity to transmission infrastructure, designated critical habitat, or other important ecological and cultural resources. Public input will inform a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision.

More information about the updated Western Solar Plan and BLM’s ongoing work to facilitate sustainable solar energy development on public lands across the West is available on BLM’s Solar Program website.

The Draft Solar Programmatic EIS was published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2024, opening a public comment period that extends through April 18, 2024. To view the Draft Programmatic EIS and learn how to provide comments, visit the BLM’s ePlanning web site.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.