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Public lands utility projects can present trade-offs for government agencies

The Biden administration wants to use public lands to develop renewable energy.

But even renewable energy projects, which are presumably good for the environment, can present trade-offs.

The Bureau of Land Management has pursued a number of renewable energy projects in the last decade.

Although public lands can play an important role in such projects, some lands might need to be excluded to take endangered species and tribal rights into consideration.

Laura Daniel-Davis, a deputy assistant secretary for the agency, says the permitting process takes those things into account.

“What we’re committed to is a process of review and transparency associated with each and every one of these projects." Daniel-Davis said. "We look at tribal cultural resources, we look at you know potential historic resources. We look at species, wildlife habitat and connectivity.”

She was in Arizona recently with Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland to visit a solar project near Buckeye.

Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.