Feds bar some new mining claims to encourage solar development

July 06, 2013

The federal government is continuing to develop a group of so-called "solar energy zones" in Arizona and several other western states. The United States Department of the Interior announced Friday it's taking about 300,000 acres of public land off the table for new mining claims. The land’s located in Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico.

Federal officials banned those mining claims to encourage development of renewable energy on 17 sites designated as solar energy zones. To make solar development easier, the zones are near existing transmission lines and have fewer environmental and cultural issues that could stand in the way of energy projects.

Since 2009, the Bureau of Land Management has approved 25 solar projects in the Western U.S. that when completed are expected to power nearly 2.5 million homes.

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