In a switch, the Interior Dept.’s Bureau of Land Management said on July 2 it will again accept new applications for solar-energy projects on federal land it oversees. In May, BLM temporarily suspended receiving new solar applications and said it would focus on the 125 already filed. It said it would defer taking new ones until an environmental impact statement was done. But BLM Director James Caswell now says, “We heard the concerns expressed...about waiting to consider new applications.”
Environmental and solar groups call the move a positive one. But Solar Energy Industries Association President Rhone Resch says, “BLM has only resolved half the problem.” Resch says BLM hasn’t yet approved any solar projects, and he wants it to expedite permitting.