BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) — Addressing the increase in industry demand for renewable energy projects on BLM-managed public lands in southern Idaho, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is making available the Public Engagement Report, which compiles feedback received during four public meetings held in early spring.
Based on public response, BLM Idaho has changed how we process renewable energy applications and shared that new policy with the public during the Idaho Renewable Energy Strategy rollout.
Under the new policy, BLM Idaho is now requiring companies to gather input locally on proposed projects to understand stakeholders’ concerns before analyzing the project under the National Environmental Policy Act.
“Our objective is for companies to use early input from local residents and stakeholder groups to determine where best to locate renewable energy projects, so the BLM is only processing applications that have the greatest technical and financial feasibility, and the fewest anticipated conflicts with natural and cultural resources and other public land uses,” BLM Idaho State Director Karen Kelleher said. “As a responsible steward of America’s public lands, we learned lessons from early projects and are trying to improve the process for analyzing applications for renewable energy projects."
This report includes feedback on the new process and where the public feels renewable energy might best be located on BLM-managed public lands in southern Idaho. The report will serve as an essential tool for informing applicants about public sentiment concerning potential impacts on BLM-managed public lands to help inform the location and design of future projects.
Through information sharing and individual conversations, it was BLM Idaho’s goal to better understand and address the public’s concerns regarding renewable energy development and to assist stakeholders in understanding the types of information and the process under which the BLM is required to analyze proposals.
The Idaho Renewable Energy Strategy and Public Engagement Report can be found HERE.