The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

James Navarro, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0247

DOI to Unveil Potential Areas for Fast Tracking Solar Energy Development

Conservation groups promote sensible siting decisions


Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has shed some light today on the Obama
administration's plan to increase renewable energy, outlining a new process for
identifying possible solar energy development areas on public lands throughout
the West.

The Interior Department also plans to release maps showing
where potential solar development areas may be located early this week.

The following is a
statement from Bob Irvin, Defenders of Wildlife's senior vice president for
conservation programs.

"With the passage of a cap and trade bill by the U.S. House
of Representatives last week and today's announcement by Secretary Salazar of
plans to increase renewable energy development, it is clear that we finally have
the political leadership necessary to confront our biggest environmental
challenge, global warming. But as we move toward a clean energy future, it's
imperative for our future and the future of our wild places and wildlife that we
get the planning process right. That means we need smart planning for renewable
power that avoids and minimizes adverse impacts on wildlife and wild lands.
These projects should be placed in the least harmful locations, near existing
transmission lines and on already disturbed lands.

"We appreciate the Interior Department moving forward with a
process to identify pilot areas for solar energy development. And we
encourage land managers to consider a strategy for long-term conservation of
these public lands as well as a sustainable strategy for renewable energy

Read our principles for
balancing renewable energy development and land conservation in a warming world.

Learn more about
California's ground-breaking efforts to establish siting criteria for
solar power in the desert.

Defenders of Wildlife is the premier U.S.-based national conservation organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of imperiled species and their habitats in North America.

(202) 682-9400