This week, an odd group of Arizona legislators joined in support of the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2017. The legislation is intended to streamline the permitting process for wind, solar and geothermal development on public lands.
According to Rep. Paul Gosar the legislation establishes a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for relevant stakeholders, distributes certain revenues derived through this Act by returning 25% to the state where development takes place, 25% to the counties of origin, 15% is directed for the purposes of more efficiently processing permit applications and reducing the backlog of renewable energy permits, and 35% is deposited into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes, including increasing access and outdoor recreation like hunting and fishing.
Due to the fact that federal lands are not taxable, state and local governments receive a share of the revenues from the sales of energy production on lands within their borders.
“This bipartisan bill removes government red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy while developing a streamlined process that will drive investment toward high quality renewable resources,” stated Chairman Paul Gosar. “The revenue sharing mechanism in this bill will help local governments deliver critical services on important projects such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement,” said Gosar in a press release.
Other cosponsors of this legislation include representatives: David Schweikert, Jared Polis, Mike Thompson, Matt Cartwright, Barbara Comstock, Paul Cook, Jim Costa, Peter DeFazio, Susan DelBene, Jared Huffman, Raul Labrador, Doug LaMalfa, Alan S. Lowenthal, Steve Pearce, Kurt Schrader, and Scott Tipton.
The Western Governors’ Association, National Association of Counties, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, American Sportfishing Association, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Dallas Safari Club, Mule Deer Foundation, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Trout Unlimited have endorsed the legislation.