Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | 11:52 a.m.
The Bureau of Land Management announced today that it will end a one-month-old moratorium on new solar applications on land it stewards in six southwest states, including Nevada.
The BLM announced the moratorium, which was to last about 22 months while the agency studied the environmental impact of new solar plants on federal land, on May 29. Political pressure from the likes of Harry Reid and an outcry from the solar industry, which said the move could stunt the growth of the nascent industry, was intense over the last month.
“We heard the concerns expressed during the scoping period about waiting to consider new applications,” said BLM Director James Caswell in a statement, “and we are taking action. By continuing to accept and process new applications for solar energy projects, we will aggressively help meet growing interest in renewable energy sources, while ensuring environmental protections.”
According to the release the BLM will now accept applications for solar energy projects and process them with with approximately 130 already received, including 23 in Nevada.
About 67 percent of Nevada land is managed by the BLM, and Reid has said after learning of the moratorium in a Sun story, that Nevada's industry could be severely impacted.