On Friday, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar called for action on energy production. Gosar wrote a letter, which was signed by 30 members of Congress, to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources urging the subcommittee to hold a hearing on the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act (H.R.596).
The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act establishes a competitive leasing program for wind and solar development on public lands. The important legislation treats renewable energy resources like traditional sources. It implements a process for the way revenues are shared and resources are developed, which is similar to the process for oil, gas and geothermal.
This legislation makes certain that revenues are returned to counties and states where development occurs by establishing a royalty revenue sharing process, which would encourage production. Since public lands are not taxable, and production can have associated costs on things like roads, the state and local governments deserve to be able to collect revenues from energy production on lands within their borders. These dollars will help local governments deliver critical services such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement.
H.R.596 requires the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act to establish royalty rates that encourage production, ensure a return on taxpayer money and maximize energy generation. The royalties will then be divided as follows:
• 25% to the county(ies) in which a project is located;
• 25% to the state in which a project is located;
• 15% to the state offices of the BLM and Forest service to assist with processing permits;
• 25% to a fund for local wildlife and land conservation; and
• 10% to deficit reduction in the federal budget.
A joint economic analysis commissioned by Utah State University and Southern Utah University found that, if this bill were enacted today, the state of Arizona and its counties would both receive $2,274,547 from existing projects.
“Our nation’s public lands will play a critical role in our country’s energy future. The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act will facilitate the expansion of renewable energy development, create jobs and preserve our nation’s natural treasures. Western states like Arizona contain millions of acres of public lands that are primed for economic development but bureaucracy stands in the way. This legislation removes the bureaucratic barriers that prevent renewable energy, such as wind and solar, from being developed on public lands. By developing these energy resources we not only move toward energy independence but we also create jobs in some of the nation’s most rural areas. I strongly support an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and I urge the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources to schedule a hearing on this bill as soon as possible.”
Click HERE to view a copy of the letter.