Salazar Cites Interior Department Efforts To Develop Renewable Energy, Respond to Climate Change
Contact: Joan Moody
WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Department of the Interior is accelerating the development of renewable energy on its vast public lands and offshore areas “to help power President Obama’s vision for a new energy economy,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today.
The Secretary warned, however, that the nation “cannot fully unleash renewable energy’s economic engine unless this committee, and the Senate, put an upper limit on the emissions of heat-trapping gases that are damaging our environment.”
American business is responding to the opportunity to develop renewable resources on areas under Interior’s jurisdiction, Salazar testified. “Companies are investing in wind farms off the Atlantic Ocean, solar facilities in the Southwest, and geothermal energy projects throughout the West.
“These new energy sources produce no greenhouse gases and, once installed, they harness free, renewable energy that nature itself provides,” the Secretary noted.
Secretary Salazar recently awarded five exploratory leases for renewable wind energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore New Jersey and Delaware. He also opened new Renewable Energy Coordinating Offices in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Wyoming to expedite processing the large number of applications for renewable energy projects on U.S. lands.
Currently, there are 158 active solar applications Interior offices are processing which have a projected capacity to generate as much as 97,000 megawatts of electricity.
That’s enough to power 29 million homes, the equivalent of 29 percent of the nation’s household electrical consumption
The Interior Department, as the nation’s largest land manager, is documenting the negative impacts that climate change is having on land, water and wildlife resources, the Secretary told the committee. The department’s 6,000 scientists and 14,000 land managers are developing approaches to respond to these impacts. Water managers are factoring new precipitation patterns into their planning decisions.
USGS science and the experience of Interior land managers in investigating carbon sequestration projects in tandem with our broader ecosystem responsibilities, also should be very useful to the committee, the Secretary said.
“The Department of the Interior stands ready with our shoulder to the wheel to contribute to this effort,” Secretary Salazar concluded.
The Secretary’s full testimony can be found at /news/speeches/2009_07_07_speech.cfm
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