"The Department of Interior has identified some two dozen potential sites for large-scale solar power installations on public lands in six Western states as part of an effort to encourage development of renewable energy on public lands and waters.
The department released a draft environmental impact statement on Thursday narrowing the locations of solar plants and assessing the broad effects of the arrays on wildlife and other resources. The agency will take public comment on the proposal for 90 days and plans to hold 14 hearings in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Washington (that is, the capital) in February and March.
The agency’s Bureau of Land Management manages 120 million acres in the six states; it identified about 22 million acres of public land that qualify to be designated as so-called solar energy zones. The bureau excluded land that was already off-limits to energy development, lands set aside by law or presidential proclamation, sharply-sloping lands and areas with sensitive habitats that make them unsuitable for solar power development."