"H.R. 596 will help Arizona become the Solar Capitol of the World"

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) has released the following statement after the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on Congressman Paul Gosar’s (AZ-4) sponsored legislation H.R. 596, the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act.

"I was pleased to hear testimony from numerous experts today speaking in favor of my common sense legislation to improve America’s renewable energy potential and unleash an industry that can lift states like Arizona out of its economic struggles."

The Chairman of La Paz Country Board of Supervisors, D.L. Wilson, testified about the implications of H.R. 596 and how it would speed up the process to create renewable energy projects and helping to move America toward a more sustainable energy program.

"H.R. 596 will help counties by creating a straightforward permitting process tailored to the unique characteristics of renewable energy projects that can be used by public land management agencies. It will also establish a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures fair compensation to help make up for the millions of acres of that the U.S. government pays no local taxes on."

"Congressman Gosar, I would like to thank you for bringing this bill (H.R. 596) forward and for being a champion for rural Arizona. Your hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated in La Paz County and throughout the state."

Eric Fitzer, the Senior Energy Programs Manager for the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy testified saying; "What H.R. 596 does is modernize wind and solar development on public lands... H.R. 596 will help Arizona become the Solar Capitol of the World."

Background:

The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act develops a straightforward process that will drive investment towards the highest quality renewable sources, and the legislation establishes a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for all.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are an integral part of the United States’ “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. Our nation’s public lands can play a critical role in supporting that mission, but uncertainty in the permitting process impedes or delays our ability to harness their renewable energy potential.

Under current law, permits for wind and solar development are completed under the same process for other surface uses, like pipelines, roads, or power lines. The public land management agencies need a permitting process tailored to the unique characteristics and impacts of renewable energy projects.

H.R. 596 distributes rents and royalties by returning 25% to the state, 25% to the county, 15% goes to the BLM for the purposes of more efficiently processing permit applications and 25% is deposited into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes, including increasing outdoor recreation such as hunting, fishing, and hiking. The remaining 10% is deposited into the general fund of the U.S. Treasury for the purposes of deficit reduction.

Since federal lands are not taxable, state and local governments deserve a share of the revenues from the sales of energy production on lands within their borders. These resources will help local governments deliver critical services and develop much-needed capital improvement projects, such as road maintenance, public safety, and law enforcement.

There are currently 60 Republican and Democrat cosponsors of the H.R. 596 including Representatives Mark E. Amodei, Dan Benishek, Earl Blumenauer, Bruce L. Braley, Julia Brownley, Tony Cardenas, Matt Cartwright, David N. Cicilline, Mike Coffman, Gerald E. Connolly, Jim Cooper, Jim Costa, Kevin Cramer, Steve Daines, Peter A. DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Suzan K. DelBene, Jeff Denham, Trent Franks, Pete P. Gallego, Joe Garcia, Cory Gardner, Joseph J. Heck, Steven A. Horsford, Jared Huffman, Derek Kilmer, Ann Kirkpatrick, Raul R. Labrador, David Loebsack, Zoe Lofgren, Alan S. Lowenthal, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Ben Ray Lujan, Cynthia M. Lummis, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Ed Pastor, Stevan Pearce, Ed Perlmutter, Gary C. Peters, Jared Polis, Raul Ruiz, Matt Salmon, Kurt Schrader, David Schweikert, Carol Shea-Porter, Michael K. Simpson, Kyrsten Sinema, Christopher H. Smith, Steve II Southerland, Jackie Speier, Chris Stewart, Steve Stivers, Mark Takano, Mike Thompson, Scott R. Tipton, Dina Titus, Niki Tsongas, David G. Valadao, Robert J. Wittman, Don Young.

The bill is endorsed by 58 organizations including: the National Association of Counties, the Western Governor’s Association, the Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County, Arizona Game and Fish Commission, County Supervisors Association of Arizona, La Paz County Board of Supervisors and more.

The hearing included two witnesses from Arizona testifying in support of H.R. 596, Mr. D.L. Wilson, Chairman of the La Paz County Board of Supervisors, and Mr. Eric Fitzer, the Senior Energy Programs Manager for the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy.   back...
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