Developing more of our nation’s renewable energy resources and moving away from dependence on foreign oil is a move most sportsmen welcome. But tell hunters and anglers that meaningful development of solar and wind power may come at the cost of losing some of the West’s best fish and game habitat on public land, and that welcome will be gone.
Legislation just introduced in both houses of Congress, the Clean Energy, Community Investment and Wildlife Conservation Act, looks like a good first step in ensuring that renewable energy development will take place in a responsible manner. The bill requires public land management agencies to sell renewable leases on public land and then set aside a substantial portion of the revenues to mitigate impacts to habitat that may occur during development.
The bill’s not perfect. It lacks additional language that could ensure that renewable development takes place in areas that are already developed, and that existing energy infrastructure (like towers, powerlines and energy corridors) is used to transport renewable energy before new structures are built in undeveloped areas. But it’s worthy of sportsmen’s support.
Read TU’s reaction to the bill here, and contact your legislators and ask them help move it through Congress.