NACo has asked its members to support the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, introduced earlier this year, and encourage the House Natural Resources Committee to consider the bill. Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) chairs the committee.
The measure was introduced in February and referred to the Natural Resources Committee which has yet to mark up the bill.
H.R. 596 would extend royalties and lease income from solar and wind projects developed on federal lands to home states and counties. Similar to existing revenue-sharing models for alternative energy development — such as geothermal leasing — the act would share revenues with states and counties, while providing reinvestment in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) renewable energy programs and sharing critical funds to sustain wildlife and recreational uses of nearby land. Its companion bill in the Senate is S. 279.
NACo is part of a coalition of groups supporting the legislation, including the Wilderness Society, the Outdoor Alliance and the Western Governors Association.
Future revenue-sharing dollars will contribute to the delivery of critical governmental services such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, conservation easements, capital for leveraging federal and state resources, and the critical stabilization of operations budgets in tough economic times.
Numerous counties nationwide have federal lands within their boundaries that have been developed or are suitable for alternative energy development.