The blades at the Ocotillo wind farm on Interstate 8 that sends electricity to San Diego are almost 174 feet long
Blades at a wind farm. Photo by Chris Stone

Rep. Mike Levin has reintroduced H.R. 178, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act, a bill promoting development of wind, solar and geothermal energy on public lands.

The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, includes measures to facilitate investment in high quality renewable sources, ensure a fair revenue share for impacted communities and minimize impacts to wildlife and cultural sites.

The aim of the bill is to help combat the climate crisis and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

“My bill will expedite … critical renewable energy development, create good-paying jobs in communities across the country, and ensure we remain good stewards of our public lands, all while lowering energy costs,” Levin said.

The bill includes measures to ensure a fair return for impacted states and communities and directs revenues to fund conservation, while incentivizing development in lower-conflict priority areas in a manner that attempts to limit impacts to wildlife, habitat and cultural resources.

The bill also establishes a revenue sharing mechanism that returns 25% to the state where development occurs and 25% to the counties of origin. Another 25% will be deposited into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes with the final 25% directed for the purposes of more efficiently processing permit applications and reducing the backlog of renewable energy permits.

Among organizations endorsing the bill – Natural Resources Defense Council, Solar Energy Industries Association, National Association of Counties, Outdoor Alliance, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and National Wildlife Federation.

Levin, a Democrat, represents coastal North San Diego and Orange County which make up the 49th Congressional District. A related bill, HR 8802, stalled in committee in the last congressional session.