BLM to host public meeting in Billings for input on potential updates to solar energy program
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: January 23, 2023

BILLINGS, Montana — As part of its ongoing effort to support responsible renewable energy development on public lands, the Bureau of Land Management is holding a public scoping meeting in Billings to solicit feedback on the recently announced programmatic environmental impact statement for the BLM’s utility-scale solar energy planning.

The BLM is considering updates to its 2012 Western Solar Plan that included six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—and is seeking comment regarding expanding its solar planning to include five additional states: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. The Billings meeting is one of a series being held in January and February in various western states, as well as in Washington DC and virtually.

“The BLM is committed to expanding renewable energy development on public lands to help lead the nation into a clean energy future, enhance America’s energy security, and provide for good-paying union jobs,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “We look forward to hearing from the public on effective ways to expand our nation’s capacity for producing solar energy while continuing to ensure robust protection of our public lands and waters.”

The Billings meeting will be held on Feb. 2 from 3-7 p.m. in the Yellowstone Room at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center, 1223 Mullowney Lane, Billings, Mont. Parking is complementary for attendees.

Individuals who need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation and other reasonable accommodations, should contact Jeremy Bluma at 208-789-6014; Leslie Hill at 202-697-0364; Jayme Lopez at 202-697-0364; Shellie Sullo at 279-202-7757; or email solar@blm.gov.

A virtual meeting will also be held Feb. 13 from 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm Mountain Standard Time. Pre-registration is required. Click below to register:

https://argonne.zoomgov.com/meeting/register/vJIsdOGhqTsoH695-CQKbVk2QMr_XxPikfo.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The Notice of Intent to update the BLM’s 2012 solar programmatic environmental impact statement was published in the Federal Register on December 8, 2022, with interested parties invited to submit written feedback or to participate in one of the in-person or virtual public scoping meetings.

The public comment period will remain open for 15 days after the last public scoping meeting, or February 6, 2023, whichever is later. For the most current information on these meetings and to view the Notice of Intent, visit the BLM’s ePlanning web site at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2022371/570.

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