US bars new mining claims in solar zones

2013-07-06T00:00:00Z US bars new mining claims in solar zonesThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

WASHINGTON - Federal officials have taken another step toward establishing 17 new "solar energy zones" on public lands in the West by barring new mining claims that could impede renewable energy development on the sites.

The Interior Department said Friday it has withdrawn nearly 304,000 acres of public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah from new mining claims.

Arizona has two zones, one east of Quartzsite and the other in La Paz County near the California border.

To streamline solar development, the new zones are located near existing transmission lines and were chosen because they had fewer environmental and cultural issues that would require years of study and mitigation.

Since 2009 the Bureau of Land Management has approved 25 solar projects in the West that when built will be able to power more than 2.4 million homes.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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