Bureau of Land Management solicits initial public input on updating regulations for rights-of-way and renewable energy

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is initiating a process to revise its regulations related to renewable energy permitting and linear rights-of-way on public lands. As part of this process, the BLM is soliciting preliminary input from the public on this proposed rulemaking. On August 18, 2021, the BLM sent letters to potentially affected Tribes, and intends to hold separate virtual government-to-government consultation meetings with interested parties regarding the proposed rule.

The BLM invites interested stakeholders to join one or more virtual listening sessions on this rulemaking and related administrative actions, which will address linear rights-of-way, including electric transmission lines, and procedures relating to solar and wind energy projects on BLM-managed lands. The listening sessions are provided as a forum for individuals and organizations to offer input for the BLM to consider as it drafts proposed updates to these rules. Specifically, the BLM is interested hearing preliminary input related to the following:

  • Rent schedules and fees for linear, solar, and wind energy rights-of-way

  • Scenarios or criteria when reduced rents/fees are appropriate for wind and solar rights-of-way

  • Competitive processes for wind and solar rights-of-way

  • Potential extension beyond 30-years for wind and solar rights-of-way

  • Application prioritization and screening rights-of-way

  • Application processing time standards

  • Other improvements to the BLM’s administration of renewable energy and linear rights-of-way, including considerations related to environmental justice

Attendees must pre-register. Interested stakeholders may also submit written input in place of, or in addition to, the listening sessions, between Sept. 14, 2021, through Sept. 26, 2021, to energy@blm.gov. The four listening sessions will be held virtually via Zoom webinar at the following dates and times (Eastern Time):

 Each listening session will be facilitated and recorded by the BLM to capture stakeholder input accurately and comprehensively. Any attendee may provide feedback during the sessions, but to ensure a wide range of voices are heard, attendees will be limited to three minutes of oral comment and will also be able to submit questions or comments through the Zoom webinar tool.

The BLM anticipates publishing a proposed rule in the Federal Register by early 2022. At that time, opportunity for additional public review and comment will be available.

The BLM manages vast stretches of public lands that have the potential to make significant contributions to the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. To promote the development of these energy sources, the BLM provides sites for environmentally sound development of renewable energy on public lands. The efficient deployment of renewable energy from our nation’s public lands is crucial in achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’ direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025.

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

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Bureau of Land Management

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