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AZ Reps Push for Green Energy From Brownfields

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Friday, May 28, 2010   

PHOENIX - Arizona's five Democratic members of Congress want contaminated federal lands made available for renewable solar and wind energy projects. They're urging the U.S. Interior Secretary and Bureau of Land Management director to expand an Arizona pilot program to other states.

Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) says putting green energy generating facilities in places like old mines and landfills would minimize the impact on wildlife and pristine natural resources.

"You're actually killing two birds with one stone. You're bringing utility back to that public land so we get some use from it, and you're avoiding conflicts by putting them in areas in which you will not have the conflict of why you're siting it there."

Federal stimulus funds are being used in Arizona to identify damaged and otherwise useless public lands that may be appropriate for green energy projects. A preliminary list of potential sites is expected this summer.

Grijalva says, since many mines, landfills and industrial sites on public lands are contaminated and require expensive clean up, it could be many years before the federal budget could afford mitigation unless the renewable energy industry were invited to become involved.

"If a private enterprise wants to come in, help reclaim the land and then have the usage for wind or solar generation of alternative energy, it's a win-win. We get a clean-up function happening, and we get an industry happening."

Supporters of the proposal argue it's even more-feasible because many old mining and industrial sites already have infrastructure in place, such as power transmission lines and roadways.






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