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House energy coalition members lead legislation incorporated in federal rule for public lands

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has finalized the Renewable Energy Rule, which will spur the responsible development of clean energy on America’s public lands.

Leaders of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) Clean Energy Deployment Task Force, Reps. Mike Levin of California and Sean Casten of Illinois introduced the Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration (CETA) Act in December 2023 to serve as a consensus House Democrat vision to address the primary permitting and transmission issues holding back the American clean energy transition. The bill is endorsed by the House SEEC, the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition. Levin and Casten co-lead the bill with 79 of their House Democratic colleagues as cosponsors.

Of particular relevance to BLM’s final rule, Title IV of CETA incorporates Levin’s Public Land Renewable Energy Deployment Act (H.R. 178). The title directs the Department of Interior to permit at least 60 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands by 2030 and responsibly incentivizes this development on priority areas, while minimizing the adverse impacts to communities and the environment. The title also directs revenues to state and local governments, providing parity with oil and gas development, and to fund conservation and mitigation efforts.

BLM’s announcement implements authorities that Levin has championed through the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act and helped secure in the Energy Act of 2020.

“The Biden-Harris Administration announced [Thursday] a historic milestone in ensuring we are maximizing the ability of our public lands to fight the climate crisis,” Levin and Casten said. “We are pleased to see that we have already surpassed the goal of permitting 25 GW of renewable energy on our public lands by 2025. Now we must build on this progress and continue to aim higher. That’s why our bill, the Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration (CETA) Act, sets the next goal of permitting 60 GW by 2030, while also further promoting the buildout of renewable energy on public lands in a responsible, equitable, and efficient manner.”

According to Levin and Casten, responsible and planned development of renewables on public lands provides certainty to developers and sets the stage for successful projects while protecting American resources.

“We applaud the now operational projects in California, which prove this planned approach works. But we know more permitting reforms are needed to allow for more efficient development in priority areas without sacrificing environmental protections. We must also ensure that state and local communities benefit from projects in their jurisdiction. Today’s announcement strengthens our resolve to get the necessary reforms in our bill enacted into law.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.