America’s future depends on sustainable, renewable energy, but as our nation moves to develop more solar, wind and geothermal energy sources, it must take care not to destroy important wildlife habitat, water sources, or wilderness.
Those of us who love wildlands want to protect them from the damages of oil and gas drilling, industrial development and inappropriate exploitation. But in our excitement to combat climate change and develop renewable energy, we cannot forget that large solar and wind projects can have negative impacts on the land as well.
Our public lands will play an important role in providing for our nation’s energy needs, and a plan must be developed to ensure that the problems of the past related to oil and gas extraction not plague the clean energy development of the future. We can protect natural heritage and promote sustainable energy, but only with clear policies that focus on the right places.
Urge Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to put policies in place that would protect wild lands and promote green energy.
But our addiction to oil and gas has taught us many lessons that must inform where and how we choose to pursue renewable energy resources like wind and solar. The key to smart development is understanding that not all of our public lands are appropriate for large-scale projects and focusing on the most suitable places.
The policies and processes for developing wind and solar energy on our public lands must be smarter, cheaper, and better for companies, conservationists and consumers.
I call on Secretary Salazar to move us off the fast track and onto the smart track by clarifying where and how development should occur and prioritizing permitting in those low-conflict zones.