|Heck introduces bill for assessing royalty payments upon renewable energy developments on public lands|
|Written by Wild Nevada|
|Friday, 06 July 2012 12:46|
We're thrilled about this development: the royalties, in addition to helping pay for the reviews done on these projects by the likes of the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management, will also set up a Renewable Energy Resource Conservation Fund to help wildlife and habitat.
Heck's bill, a companion to Senate Bill 1775 – the Public Lands Renewable Energy Act – sets aside money for the counties where a project is built, giving much needed revenue support to strained rural county budgets. In Nevada, much of the solar development has occurred and will continue to occur in Clark County.
The Heck measure sets aside 35 percent of the royalties for the aforementioned conservation fund, which will be administered by the Interior Department for use in regions impacted by the development of wind or solar energy. An independent advisory board composed of key stakeholders and technical experts will recommend how to spend that money. The fund would pay for mitigation or improvement projects for fish, wildlife and habitat affected by these renewable energy projects.
According to Heck's Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, introduced with New Mexico Democrat Martin Heinrich, revenues gained from renewable energy lease sales shall be divided thisaway:
25% to the county(ies) in which a project is located;
25% to the State in which a project is located;
15% for a renewable energy permit processing fund for Interior (after 15 years, this revenue stream will be deposited into the conservation fund); and
35% to a fund for wildlife and land conservation and protection.
The bill notes that payments to the localities and states are intended to fund "local investments, and support conservation activities."