Deb Haaland visits solar panel projects in California

The U.S. Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Defense, Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency today announced a Memorandum of Understanding to improve federal agency coordination and streamline reviews for clean energy projects located on public lands managed by the Interior and Agriculture Departments. Federal agencies will prioritize and expedite federal agency reviews by establishing interagency coordination teams with qualified staff to facilitate the preparation of environmental reviews, accelerate renewable energy decision-making and coordinate all environmental and other agency reviews.

The MOU supports the Biden administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’s direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025. It also builds on Biden’s Executive Order which prioritized improved permitting for the increased deployment of clean energy on public lands.

“The Interior Department plays a central role in achieving this Administration’s clean energy and climate goals—from carrying out environmental reviews for clean energy projects on our nation’s public lands to conducting meaningful consultations with Tribal Nations, and assessing potential impacts to species,” said Interior Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau.

“We are pleased to join federal partners to ensure coordinated, efficient, and transparent environmental reviews of proposed renewable energy projects as a step toward securing carbon-free energy,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “EPA looks forward to collaborating with our partners on expanding the supply of renewable energy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality for the benefit of millions of people while protecting natural treasures on our public lands.”

“Nowhere is the climate crisis more apparent than in our nation’s rural communities, our agriculture lands, and our national forests and grasslands, which face increasing threats like record-setting wildfires, extreme weather, drought and water shortages,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This action will make the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon and pollution-free power sector a reality by 2035, and build wealth that stays in rural communities.”

This story is a staff report from The Paper.