Saturday, May 2, 2009 | 1:35 p.m.
|Remediation of Abandoned Mines||$6,850,000|
|Roads and Bridges||$2,541,000|
|Trail Maintenance and Construction||$1,617,000|
Nevada will be the beneficiary of $26.4 million for Bureau of Land Management projects around the state, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced Saturday morning during a news conference at the Red Rock National Conservation Area.
The money goes to more than 40 projects in the state, including major investments in solar and other renewable energy projects.
Salazar was in Southern Nevada to announce national BLM projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was signed by President Obama in February.
Of the money allocated for Nevada, almost $8 million goes toward renewable energy projects, including solar power systems at 16 BLM fire stations in the state, such as the one where Salazar spoke at Red Rock.
“The funds that we are using here out of the recovery package for wind and solar projects on BLM-managed lands will help us tackle some very real challenges that we are facing here today,” Salazar said.
Salazar said the projects will not only provide jobs to help stimulate the economy, they will also improve BLM facilities.
“We made these investments based on criteria that said which of these investments are going to create the most jobs in a short period of time –- that is, which are shovel-ready –- and which of these investments also are going to have long-term sustainability,” he said.
The BLM has 220 applications for commercial-scale solar projects in the western United States, Salazar said. The bureau has not had the resources to move forward on these projects until now, he said.
The 650 projects announced by Salazar will cost $305 million out of the $3 billion allocated to the Department of the Interior by the Act.
“This is the last of the announcements that we will make on the Economic Recovery Act,” he said. “We want to get these monies out. We want to get jobs created and we want to get these projects done by the end of the fiscal year 2010.”
In addition to the energy projects, the funds announced for Nevada go toward BLM projects including habitat restoration, roads, bridges and trails, abandoned mines and capital improvements.
One project is the $800,000 effort to repair and restore non-motorized trails in Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area near Henderson.
Salazar said he came to Nevada at the request of Sen. Harry Reid and because of Nevada’s position to be a leader in the development of alternative energy resources.
“Nevada is right in the heart of some of the work that we will do,” he said.
“The work that we will do here (in Nevada) on solar and geothermal and wind energy is going to be exemplary for the rest of the nation,” he said.
Rep. Dina Titus joined Salazar for the announcement in Red Rock, which is part of her congressional district.
“I’m just delighted with all of the projects that are coming to Nevada,” Titus said. “But it’s especially meaningful to have this solar project here in Southern Nevada.
“It’s the government leading by example, not just saying you need to develop solar energy but actually doing it themselves.”
The BLM manages more than 250 million surface miles of public land in the United States, including 48 million acres in Nevada, which is about 67 percent of the state.