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March 11, 2009
5:07 PM

CONTACT: The Wilderness Society

Chase Huntley at or 202-429-7431

On Secretary Salazar’s Order Establishing Renewable Energy Development as a Priority for the Department of the Interior

Statement by William H. Meadows, President, The Wilderness Society

WASHINGTON - March 11 - “Today’s secretarial order marks a new era for the Department of the Interior. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has taken a bold step toward a clean energy economy that will lessen American dependence on foreign oil and decrease fuel prices over the long-term. Global warming, growing energy needs, and the devastating ecological, economic, and national security impacts of continued reliance on fossil fuels require a new solution. Secretary Salazar has laid the foundation for our nation’s entrepreneurs to harness the planet’s wind, sun, heat and other renewable energy sources in a manner that safeguards the wildlife and natural resources that help keep American communities healthy, safe, and prosperous.

“We applaud Secretary Salazar for taking seriously the challenges global warming poses to our nation’s health and well-being by establishing a task force that will deal with energy development and its impacts on global warming. Today, we have the opportunity to develop renewable energy the right way on public lands—a way that values land, wildlife, clean air and water, economic and energy security, and our future. Through careful consideration and an open and transparent process of where it is best to build clean energy generation facilities, we can ensure renewable energy installations are kind to both the land and the atmosphere. In this way, they can avoid the conflicts we’ve seen over other forms of energy development on public lands.

“In concert with efforts in the Senate and the House to create a green transmission grid that avoids sensitive habitats and special places, this order will allow us to begin building a new energy economy. We stand ready to aid Secretary Salazar and the Department of the Interior in ensuring renewable energy projects are properly sited on our public lands.  It is imperative that we act now to develop these resources in the right way from the start lest our communities and ecosystems suffer from the devastating impacts of global warming.”

Since 1935, The Wilderness Society has led the conservation movement in wilderness protection, writing and passing the landmark Wilderness Act and winning lasting protection for 107 million acres of Wilderness, including 56 million acres of spectacular lands in Alaska, eight million acres of fragile desert lands in California and millions more throughout the nation.


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