Written by Prognog Staff

Update:  The BLM has reversed this prior decision.  Read more about the decision to grant solar power applications.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has recently put a moratorium on all new solar power projects on Federal land, citing the need for further environmental impact studies. According to the NY Times, "The Bureau of Land Management says an extensive environmental study is needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah."

This decision comes at a particularly tough time for the solar industry as public interest, and demand, for solar power are on the rise. Rather than encouraging the relatively nascent industry, this move may diminish some of the headway the industry has been making.  According to one solar industry person, Lee Wallach of Solel “the problem is that this is a very young industry, and the majority of us that are involved are young, struggling, hungry companies. This is a setback.”

The freeze is set to last two years and will allow time for the government to evaluate the environmental damage that may occur from solar power plants, electrical transmission lines, the necessary water usage impact and so forth.

This decision leaves the environmental community in a unique position as it pits different factions against each other.  Some conservation groups laud the move and welcome the studies as crucial to maintaining the habitat for many desert creatures while renewable energy interests are frustrated with the move to stall solar power.