Family Farmers and Ranchers Meet Sec. Salazar in D.C. Ahead of Landmark Solar Energy Decision

Sep 14, 2011, 16:23 ET from Rocky Mountain Farmers Union

Link to photo:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the Interior Department prepares to update a key federal plan for developing solar projects on public lands in six Western states, family farmers and ranchers from the Rocky Mountain region today visited Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in Washington, D.C., to thank him for his leadership and to urge protection of traditional land uses, natural resources and rural families.

"We met with the Secretary today to thank him for his commitment to developing energy programs while protecting the land and water that are critical to local economies," said Bill Midcap, Director of Renewable Energy Development for the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. "We hope to see a plan for solar siting and transmission that takes local concerns into account."

As part of a three-day legislative visit coordinated by National Farmers Union, about a half-dozen members of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union met with the Secretary and presented him with a banner carried in the Manassa, Colorado, Pioneer Days parade to honor the Secretary's commitment to addressing national problems without causing local ones. Secretary Salazar's roots are in Manassa, with many generations of farming in the San Luis Valley of southwestern Colorado. A final environmental impact study covering solar development on public lands in six Western states is expected to be released by Interior as early as next month.

RMFU members provided the Secretary with their on-the-ground perspective about the importance of siting solar plants and transmission lines in a way that will serve local communities, protect the public lands and sustain the region's agricultural economy and natural heritage.

"Our members support responsible solar development in the San Luis Valley and throughout the West," Midcap said. "Solar farms are spreading across the country, and many more will be developed in the near future. The Secretary's personal leadership is the key to ensuring that solar energy is developed in a directed and responsible way."

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, which represents family farming and ranching in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, has been a leader in rural renewable energy development for many years.

SOURCE Rocky Mountain Farmers Union