The U.S. will give wind- and solar-energy companies access to 16 million acres of federal land previously set aside for military testing and training.
The Interior and Defense departments agreed to encourage energy development on the public lands, which may contribute to the generation of 10,000 megawatts of solar power in the U.S. Southwest, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said today a conference call.
“This agreement is going to help save the taxpayers billions of dollars in fuel costs, increase our national security and help protect the environment,” Reid said.
President Barack Obama is supporting alternative energy as a way to diversify away from oil and reduce the need for crude imports from the Middle East. Republicans including presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized the administration for slowing energy development on federal land.