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Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Posted on  

January 21, 2002

Secretary Norton Announces Budget Boost For Renewable Energy on Public Lands

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Jan. 18 /U.S. Newswire/

Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced today that two Interior Department agencies -- the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) -- will receive increased renewable energy funding in the President's FY 2003 budget proposal.

The preview of a small part of the department's budget proposal, which will be released in full by the White House and the secretary on Feb. 4, came during a tour of a wind energy site on BLM land outside Palm Springs, Calif. Norton and Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles took the tour as part of the Bush Administration's efforts to expand solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy on public lands.

The administration budget will call for increasing BLM funding by $350,000 in FY 2003 to improve access for geothermal energy leasing in California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon and New Mexico. The 2003 budget request also includes an increase of $500,000 for USGS to produce improved and updated information on geothermal energy.

"These increases are only a few of the features of the department's FY 2003 budget request that will promote renewable energy and conservation," said Secretary Norton. "We must explore ways to better capture the sun's light, the sky's winds, the land's bounty, and the earth's heat to provide energy security for America's families."

The Interior Department currently leases, permits and licenses most of the government's renewable energy. The site Norton visited today, for example, is on land along 1-10 administered by BLM's California Desert District, which currently has an estimated 2,960 turbines installed on public lands outside of Palm Springs.

Secretary Norton and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham convened a renewable energy conference in Washington, D.C. in November 2001. Based on the conference, within the next few months Norton and Abraham will release recommendations to the President on expediting renewable energy projects on public lands.


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