A new rule adopted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will allow the agency to temporarily segregate lands in a wind or solar energy right-of-way application from the location of mining claims or other land appropriations.
Under existing rules, lands proposed for exchange or sale can be closed to the filing of mining claims. However, lands included in a proposed right-of-way application remain open to the location and entry of mining claims while the BLM is considering the application.
According to the BLM, efforts to resolve conflicts between mining claims and renewable energy applications have been in development for two years.
Temporary rules established in April 2011 helped resolve conflicts because the interim rules granted the BLM authority to temporarily remove lands included in a renewable energy right-of-way application and lands offered for wind or solar energy lease from land appropriations like mining claims.
By temporarily segregating lands covered by pending wind or solar right-of-way applications or lands identified as potential renewable energy leasing areas, the BLM can help ensure that new resource conflicts will not arise with respect to mining claims.
Under the final rule, lands with right-of-way applications for solar or wind energy development could be segregated from the location and entry of mining claims. Such segregations would only be authorized as needed and would not necessarily cover all lands where renewable energy right-of-way applications have been filed.
A segregation would be effective for two years and could be extended for an additional two years if the appropriate BLM state director determines that an extension is necessary for the orderly administration of the public lands, notes the agency.