The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a draft of a document designed to ease the permitting of wind projects on BLM-managed lands. Called the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), it is aimed at speeding up some of the environmental reviews needed to develop a wind project on federal land.Washington D.C. – September 14, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The public is invited to review the document and submit comments during the next 90 days. “As we look closer to home for ways to help meet America’s energy needs in an environmentally sound manner, it’s apparent that our public lands have much to offer in terms of renewable energy resources, including wind energy,” said Rebecca Watson, assistant secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management. “Our national energy strategy includes not only enhancing supplies of renewable and nonrenewable energy, but also places an important focus on conservation.” The Draft Programmatic EIS was prepared to assess the environmental, social and economic impacts associated with wind energy development on public lands in 11 western states, and to evaluate a number of alternatives to determine the best management approach to mitigating potential impacts and facilitating wind energy development. The study does not include Alaska. The Draft Programmatic EIS is in response to recommendations set forth in the President’s National Energy Policy, which encourages the development of renewable energy resources on public lands. “We are working aggressively with communities and local officials to promote and encourage the development and use of our domestic renewable energy sources,” Watson said. “Our approach is consistent with the President’s National Energy Policy for diversifying the nation’s energy portfolio by encouraging the use of biomass, geothermal, wind and solar energy on federally owned lands.” The Draft Programmatic EIS is posted on the web at the link below. Public comments are encouraged via the web. Written comments should be mailed to BLM Wind Energy Programmatic EIS, Argonne National Laboratory, EAS/900, 9700 S. Cass Ave., Argonne, IL 60439.