U.S. seeks to spur renewable energy on public lands

Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:40pm EDT

By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department on Wednesday said it has created a special task force to speed the development of renewable energy projects on federal lands.

"More so than ever, , we need to steer the country onto a new energy path," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The task force will identify specific zones on public lands where the department can act rapidly to create large-scale production of solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy.

"We will assign a high priority to identifying renewable energy zones and completing the permitting and appropriate environmental review of transmission rights-of-way applications that are necessary to deliver renewable energy generation to consumers," Salazar said. "We have to connect the sun of the deserts and the wind of the plains with the places where people live."

"We ought not to let the jurisdictional bureaucracy get in the way of the ultimate agenda," Salazar said. "We need to get it done."

The department manages one-fifth of the U.S. landmass and over 1.7 billion offshore acres.

Environmental groups applauded the department's decision to make renewable energy a priority…………

Here come the sun……..