The Bureau of Land Management today unveiled plans to create new guidelines for wind and solar projects on public lands. Today's announcement said that the agency would set aside so-called energy development zones before competitive leasing for alternative energy projects could occur.
"Existing regulations limit the competitive process," said Bob Abbey, BLM director. ""The renewable energy resources on America's public lands are enormous."
The American Bird Conservancy, which has called for greater diligence before public lands would be used for wind projects, offered cautious optimism following today's announcement.
"Siting is the most important step in making wind energy bird-smart," said Kelly Fuller, ABC's Wind Campaign coordinator. "American Bird Conservancy is developing a map of the areas where wind energy would be most risky to birds."
Earlier this month, ABC, the nation's leading bird conservation organization, petitioned the U.S. Department of Interior to "protect millions of birds from the negative impacts of wind energy by developing regulations that will safeguard wildlife."
The BLM will accept public comment regarding today's proposal until Monday, Feb. 27, 2012.