Gale A. Norton, U. S. Secretary of the Interior, announced that as part of ongoing efforts to implement the President’s National Energy Policy and increase the use of renewable and alternative energy sources, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has scheduled 10 public scoping meetings in five western states to gain input on the development of wind energy.Washington D.C. – November 3, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “Tapping into and using the abundant, naturally occurring sources of energy such as the sun, the wind, geothermal heat and biomass will help to reduce our reliance on foreign imports and reduce some of our dependency on fossil fuels,” Norton said. “The current contribution of wind energy resources to America’s total electricity supply is relatively small, but there is tremendous potential for growth. The wind energy program we are initiating will help America realize that potential.” The public scoping process is the first step in the development of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), which the BLM announced in a notice of intent published in the Federal Register of October 17, 2003. The PEIS will evaluate issues associated with increased development of wind energy and consider them in land-use plans throughout the western region. Preparation of the PEIS is a multi-step process that will take about 24 months to complete and will include publication of a draft PEIS, a final PEIS and a record of decision. The public scoping meetings are scheduled for the locations and dates indicated below: November 3, 2003 – Sacramento, California Location: Red Lion Hotel; 1401 Arden Way, Sacramento, California 95815 Interior officials participating: Patricia Morrison, principal deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management and BLM State Director Mike Pool Time: 1 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. (all times local) For more information: (916) 922-8041 November 5, 2003 – Salt Lake City, Utah Location: Marriott City Center; 220 South State, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 Interior officials participating: Dan Garza, deputy director for Intergovernmental and External Affairs and BLM State Director, Sally Wisely Time: 1 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. (all times local) For more information: (801) 961-8700 November 12, 2003 – Cheyenne, Wyoming Location: Holiday Inn; 204 West Fox Farm Road; Cheyenne, Wyoming 82007 Interior officials participating: Kit Kimball, director for Intergovernmental and External Affairs and BLM State Director Bob Bennett Time: 1 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. (all times local) For more information: (307) 638-4466 November 18, 2003 – Las Vegas, Nevada Location: Crowne Plaza; 4255 South Paradise Rd., Las Vegas, Nevada 89109 Interior officials participating: Rebecca Watson, assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management and BLM State Director Bob Abbey Time: 1 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. (all times local) For more information: (702) 369-4400 November 20, 2003 – Boise, Idaho Location: Boise Center on the Grove; 850 W. Front St., Boise, Idaho 83702 Interior officials participating: Kathleen Clarke, director of the Bureau of Land Management and BLM State Director K. Lynn Bennett Time: 1 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. (all times local) For more information: (208) 336-8900 “The participation of citizens and the local communities are vital to this process,” Norton said. “I encourage everyone to attend these meetings and get their views and concerns heard.” The Interior Department manages one in every five acres of land in the United States and produces about 30 percent of the nation’s energy supply. Approximately, one-third of the country’s natural gas, coal, and oil, one-half of geothermal, 17 percent of hydropower, and 20 percent of wind power are produced in areas managed by the Interior Department.