This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 05, 2003

Interior Department Holds Meetings on Wind Power in the West

The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced on October 31st that it will hold public meetings in five western states to gain input on the development of wind energy on lands administered by the DOI's Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The public scoping process is the first step in the development of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), which the BLM announced in a Notice of Intent published in the Federal Register on October 17th.

The PEIS will address the possible amendment of individual BLM land use plans in considering future development of wind energy resources on BLM-administered lands. Land use plans are planning and management documents that define how resources will be managed within a specific planning area and establish restrictions on activities to be undertaken in that planning area.

Preparation of the PEIS is a multi-step process that begins with the public meetings and will take about two years to complete. DOI held the first meeting on November 3rd in Sacramento, California, and is holding the second meeting on November 5th in Salt Lake City, Utah. The remaining meetings take place over the following two weeks in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Boise, Idaho. See the DOI press release and the official Web site for the Wind Energy PEIS.

The DOI also created a new position, the Renewable Energy Ombudsman, who will be responsible for tracking all DOI renewable energy actions. Interior Secretary Norton appointed Brenda Aird to the position on October 31st. Ms. Aird's office will serve as a clearinghouse for information regarding new and ongoing projects. See the DOI press release.