FY12 Fed Budget Proposal Includes Renewable Energy

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"Department of the Interior is actively promoting renewable energy on public lands."

The U.S. Department of the Interior encompasses most notably the Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service and the Minerals Management Service that came into the limelight last year. DOI is actively promoting renewable energy on public lands.

In December 2010, DOI and the Department of Energy jointly announced a comprehensive environmental analysis that identifies proposed "solar energy zones" on public lands in six western states. The lands most suitable for environmentally sound, utility-scale solar energy production are in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

President Obama unveiled on February 14 a $12.2 billion fiscal year 2012 budget request for DOI. While roughly the same as the previous year, the budget requests $72.9 million for renewable energy programs in 2012, an increase of $13.9 million above the 2010 enacted budget level (which became the 2011 budget by way of a continuing resolution). Under this proposed budget, DOI's goal is to increase approved capacity for renewable energy production on federal lands by at least 10,000 megawatts by the end of 2012, while ensuring full environmental review.

The proposed 2012 budget continues DOI's "New Energy Frontier" strategy that is intended to create jobs, reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels and oil imports and lessen carbon impacts. Supporting renewable energy development is a major component of this strategy, and has been since 2009, when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar began implementing a comprehensive energy plan, making renewable energy a DOI priority.

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