Interior and “Renewable Energy”

“Advancing the Obama Administration’s commitment to rapid and responsible development of large-scale renewable energy,” opens a July 14 news release from the Department of the Interior, “Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the approval of four new projects on public lands, the launch of environmental reviews on three others, and the next step in a comprehensive environmental analysis to identify ‘solar energy zones’ on public lands in six western states.”

Not once in sixteen paragraphs does the word “biomass” appear. Secretary Salazar mentions two solar developments in California, a wind energy project in Oregon, and the construction of a new transmission line, as well as “Notices of Intent” for two more wind projects and a solar project in California; and finally the drafting of a “targeted supplement to the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development” to guide development of further projects in the West. There are copious references to wildlife risk abatement measures.

That Interior can mention “large-scale renewable energy” without touching on the continuing forest-health crisis in the Intermountain West does not bode well for policy trumping politics in energy resource development.