Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Permitting and Program Resources
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Laws & Policies

This section explains federal laws, regulations, orders, and authorization policies required for issuing Solar ROW grants and leases on public lands.

Solar energy development on public land is subject to a variety of laws, regulations, orders and authorization policies:

  • Federal laws have been passed by Congress to establish requirements for the Bureau of Land Management and/or the Department of Energy to facilitate solar energy development on public lands. In addition to the laws governing solar energy development, federal laws also provide for protection of sensitive resources and consultation with tribal governments.
  • Federal Regulations implement the requirements of law through a public rulemaking process. The primary requirements for permitting solar and wind rights-of-way (ROWs) on public land are codified in 43 CFR 2800.
  • Orders do not require approval from Congress but executive orders, like regulations, have the force of law until they are canceled, revoked, adjudicated unlawful, or expire on their terms. Executive orders aimed at facilitating renewable energy development and improving the federal permitting process can impact solar energy development on public lands.
  • ROW authorization policies identified in the 2012 Solar PEIS were generally incorporated into the 2017 ROW regulations. Most of the authorization policies are described in the permitting processes for Inside DLAs and Outside DLAs, this section provides additional detail on some of the policies.