Udall, Bennet Announce Over $20 Million to Restore Landscapes and Habitat, Spur Renewable Energy Development on BLM Lands

Recovery Plan Investments Will Restore Landscapes and Habitat, Spur Renewable Energy Development on Public Lands and Create Jobs

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet announced today the release of over $20 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that will fund over 100 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Projects in Colorado and over 650 across the country. The funding, announced today by U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, will restore landscapes and habitat, spur renewable energy development on public lands, and create jobs in Colorado.

"From Gunnison Gorge to the Book Cliff Shooting Range, safety repairs and maintenance to Colorado parks and recreation sites have been deferred for too long. In some cases their use has been limited, and especially in the case of abandoned mines, they are dangerous," Senator Udall said. "So as chairman of the Senate's National Parks Subcommittee, I'm very pleased that Recovery Act funding is going to repair and upgrade these sites. Not only will it create jobs, but it will enable Coloradans to better enjoy our diverse recreation opportunities, increase the use of cheaper, cleaner renewable energy, and boost the economy in these communities as well."

"These Recovery Plan investments will go a long way towards addressing long-neglected needs and priorities on Colorado's public lands and create new, good-paying jobs in the process," said Bennet. "With these funds, we'll create a new legacy of stewardship in America, renewing efforts to protect land and wildlife habitat, restore our watersheds, and clean up neglected and abandoned mine sites. And with the investments we'll make in renewable energy, we'll lay the groundwork for a new, clean energy economy that will create jobs and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

Department of Interior (DOI) Recovery Plan funding in Colorado will provide nearly $20.2 million for more than 100 projects, including investments in renewable energy, habitat restoration, roads, bridges and trails, abandoned mines and capital improvements:

  • $12 Million for the Construction, Maintenance and Energy Efficiency Improvements at BLM Facilities: To better protect visitors and employees, address critical health and safety problems at its facilities, and reduce energy use, BLM is investing over $12 million in construction, maintenance, roads and bridges, and energy efficiency improvements in Colorado These funds will also be used to construct new facilities where needed due to increasing numbers of visitors at recreation sites. The BLM will replace aging, deficient communications towers on BLM public lands and make many of its facilities more energy efficient, thereby reducing energy related costs in the long-term.
  • Nearly $3 Million for Habitat Restoration: A typical project will create jobs in the restoration of watersheds, provide clean and increased volumes of water for recreational and agricultural uses, and help stabilize wildlife populations
  • $1.1 Million for Remediation of Abandoned Mines: Funds will be used to clean up abandoned mines on BLM lands through the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program. These projects are near public places and high-use areas such as trails, designated off-highway vehicle areas, picnic areas, schools, and subdivisions.
  • Over $3.8 Million for Renewable Energy Authorization and Permits: BLM is investing over $3.8 million in Colorado through the ARRA to advance the nation's development and transmission of renewable energy on public lands. These funds will be invested in reducing the backlog of pending applications for wind and solar projects on BLM-managed land. If approved in the permitting process, these large-scale renewable energy projects will create new jobs and increase renewable energy supplies. In addition, these funds will be invested in regional planning and siting of future development and transmission of wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy. Coordinating the development and transmission of renewable energy on a regional scale will accelerate the approval of projects and the creation of jobs associated with the projects.

For a list of DOI-BLM projects to be funded as part of today's announcement, please click here. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery.