Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Program Western Solar Plan
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Withdrawal of Solar Energy Zone Lands

A Public Land Order has been issued that withdraws solar energy zone (SEZ) lands from settlement, sale, location, or entry under the general land laws, including the mining laws.

On June 27, 2013, a Public Land Order became effective that withdraws 303,900 acres of land within the SEZs from location of mining claims that could impede development of solar energy sites. The Public Land Order was published in the Federal Register on July 5, 2013. The lands had already been segregated from the mining laws under temporary measures (see December 17, 2012, Federal Register Notice). The Public Land Order extends the withdrawal for 20 years.

Under the Public Land Order, the public lands in SEZs have been withdrawn, subject to valid existing rights, from settlement, sale, location, or entry under the general land laws, including the mining laws, as follows:

  • New mining claims cannot be filed on the withdrawn lands; however, valid mining claims filed prior to the date the lands were segregated (i.e., the date withdrawal notice was published in the Federal Register) would take precedence over future solar energy development right-of-way (ROW) application filings.
  • Lands cannot be sold, exchanged, or otherwise disposed of during the term of the withdrawal.
  • Withdrawn lands remain open to mineral leasing, geothermal leasing, and mineral material laws; the BLM could elect to lease the oil, gas, coal, or geothermal steam resources, or to sell common-variety mineral materials, such as sand and gravel, if the authorized officer determined there would be no unacceptable impacts on future solar energy development.
  • Withdrawn lands remain open to ROW authorizations and land leases or permits authorized under Section 302 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA).

Details on the analyses the BLM has conducted to support the withdrawal are provided in Section 2.2.2.2.4 of the Final Solar PEIS.

Updated: 8/2/2013