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Arizona Seeks To Modernize Renewable Energy Development
Arizona Representatives Paul Gosar and Ann Kirkpatrick have been holding joint town halls as part of an ongoing effort to set aside partisan politics and provide a unified voice on issues important to their constituents – to all Arizonans.
We hope that each member of Arizona’s Congressional Delegation will support their bipartisan efforts, particularly when obtaining quick enactment of the Public Lands and Renewable Energy Development Act. This measure was introduced in the last Congress with the sponsorship of the majority of Arizona’s representatives. The bill is being revised slightly this year and is expected to be introduced soon.
This important bill seeks to modernize the development of renewable energy resources while protecting critical fish and wildlife habitat on federal lands. One of the local animals that will be helped by this act is the bighorn sheep. Currently there are three subspecies of bighorn sheep: Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep and Desert Bighorn Sheep. Desert bighorn sheep have been protected in Arizona since the 1930’s with the establishment of two bighorn sheep game ranges: Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. However, continued conservation measures are needed to help Arizona wildlife like the bighorn sheep.
The Public Lands and Renewable Energy Development Act plans on adding to conservation efforts by reinvesting royalties in a new conservation fund for landscape-scale development impacts on wildlife and habitat. Along with this, the bill will also reinvest royalties from development revenues back into states and counties, and establish a comprehensive leasing program for wind and solar projects on public lands.
The Arizona Wildlife Federation, one of the National Wildlife Federation’s partner affiliates and the state’s oldest sportsmen-led wildlife conservation organization, will continue working to encourage all Arizona lawmakers to quickly co-sponsor this Bill and to lend their voices to encourage their House and Senate colleagues to work together for early enactment of this measure.
Particularly during these days of budget cuts and the need to find revenues to support critical habitat protection projects, legislation like this just makes good sense.
About the Author: Brad Powell has spent a life time living close to, working in and recreating on public lands. He has worked for over 30 years with the US Forest Service and currently works as the southwestern director (SCP) for Trout Unlimited. He is also the vice president of the Arizona Wildlife Federation, the States oldest wildlife conservation organization. He believes that our Federal public lands are one of our nations greatest legacies and we should ensure that they are passed on to future generations of Americans.