On November 20, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources unanimously supported H.R. 3794, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act (PLREDA). This legislation would expedite the permitting process for wind, solar and geothermal energy development on federal lands, and share 25 percent of revenues with counties that host renewable energy project infrastructure.
Counties nationwide have federal lands within our boundaries that have been developed or are suitable for alternative energy development. County governments have historically been indispensable advocates for the development of alternative energy production in the United States. Revenue sharing of alternative energy dollars with states and counties will contribute to the delivery of critical government services and the development of much needed capital improvement projects such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, conservation easements, capital for leveraging federal and state resources and the stabilization of operations budgets during tough economic times.
Supervisor Robert Lovingood from San Bernardino County, Calif. testified on behalf of NACo in support of H.R. 3794 at a House Subcommittee hearing on July 25. Supervisor Lovingood stated that PLREDA “encourages responsible renewable energy development, provides equitable revenue sharing with the counties that provide critical services to renewable energy projects, and takes a balanced approach to renewable energy development and conservation.”
The House Committee markup coincided with a November 7 U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on S. 2666, the Senate version of PLREDA. H.R. 3794 will now go to the U.S. House floor for consideration, but no date has been scheduled.