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U.S. government proposes expanded solar plan to include more states in the West

The U.S. government on Wednesday proposed sweeping changes designed to promote solar energy development across the West. Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management officials said the new rules will help the Biden administration fulfill its goal of a clean electrical grid by 2035. 

"This new Western solar plan will expand solar energy production in more Western states and streamline siting and permitting on America’s public lands. This is a big deal," said Acting Deputy Interior Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis.

Known as the Western Solar Plan, it’s intended to identify areas in the West with high solar potential and lower conflicts to be attractive to solar developers. It expands those into other areas of the West such as Idaho and Montana.

Federal land managers propose making 22 million acres of land available for solar power.

A comment period is underway. For details on commenting on the proposal, visit  blmsolar.anl.gov/

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.