US to open four renewable energy permitting offices

The US government is creating four Renewable Energy Coordination Offices and a string of smaller renewable energy teams in key states to expedite applications, processing, reviews and permitting of renewable energy projects. Time is of the necessity, according to Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior:

At no time in our history has the need for a new energy policy been so urgent. We import more than two-thirds of our oil, costing us hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Unemployment is at 8.5 per cent. Carbon emissions are rising. Our national security is threatened. And countries like China and India are ready to cash in by leading the global clean energy economy.

The main Renewable Offices will be in California, Nevada, Wyoming and Arizona. The smaller ones will be in New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Oregon.

Mr Salazar noted the Interior department is investing $41m through the president’s economic recovery plan to facilitate a rapid move to large-scale production of renewables on public lands.

There is no doubt the money and the expedited process are needed. The Obama Administration discovered a backlog of solar energy applications and wind applications upon taking office from the Bush Administration. For years, the Interior department has focused on supporting oil, gas and coal development on public lands. While it will continue with that, the department is now opening the way for solar, wind, biomass and geothermal projects, which Secretary Salazar deemed crucial:

We must lead the clean energy revolution: With millions of new jobs at stake, this is an opportunity America can’t afford to miss.

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