DENVER — Under increasing public pressure over its decision to temporarily halt all new solar development on public land, the Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday that it was lifting the freeze, barely a month after it was put into effect.
The bureau had announced on May 29 that it was no longer processing new applications to build solar power plants on land it oversees in six Western states after federal officials said they needed first to study the environmental effects of solar energy, a process that would take two years.
But amid concerns from the solar power industry, members of Congress and the general public that the freeze would stymie solar development during a particularly critical time for energy policy, the bureau abruptly reconsidered. (
I wonder if groups that currently oppose drilling at ANWAR or off-shore would be willing to fast-track development of drilling for the same reason that this decision was reversed by the BLM; Namely, “a critical time for energy policy.” I think that the BLM made the right decision by foregoing expensive and time consuming environmental impact studies. This same approach should be adopted for oil and gas development in the lower 48 at the very least. It’s ironic that environmental impact studies would have bogged the building of environmentally friendly solar panels.