Tester pushes his renewable energy bill at committee hearing

Senator: Bipartisan bill will ‘responsibly develop our energy resources’

(U.S. SENATE) – Given the chance to advance his renewable energy bill today, Senator Jon Tester did not miss the opportunity.

Tester’s Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act will streamline permitting for renewable energy projects on public lands. The bill creates a pilot project to develop a simplified leasing process for renewable energy similar to traditional sources of energy development, like oil and gas.

Testifying today before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Tester underscored the benefits of the bipartisan bill and thanked colleagues for their support.

“This bill is a win for businesses, a win for communities and a win for wildlife,” Tester said. “As a Montanan and a farmer, I understand our nation’s love affair with our treasured landscapes. That’s why I’m so proud of this bill. It will responsibly develop our energy resources and ensure that natural resource revenues benefit states, counties and our treasured lands.”

Currently, obtaining Bureau of Land Management permits for solar and wind projects on public lands is a lengthy process that halts all rights to the land until after the environmental assessments are completed and permits are approved. Tester’s bill will make it easier for companies and land management agencies to permit renewable energy projects.

The changes will also increase local governments’ revenue and certainty by establishing a more predictable and direct renewable energy royalty system that will support conservation and federal land access projects.

“Protecting our public lands and keeping them public is vital to the American economy,” Tester told the committee. “I believe the expansion of wind and solar development is compatible with public land protections.”

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee considered Tester’s bill on the same day its companion legislation received a hearing in the House of Representatives. Tester participated in a public roundtable on his bill earlier this year in Missoula.

Tester and his chief Republican co-sponsor, Dean Heller from Nevada, introduced the measure as a stand-alone bill last year. The bill has wide-ranging support from sportsmen and local government officials.

Tester’s Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act is available online HERE.