DENVER (AP) — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says federal officials will refine a plan for speeding up solar energy development on public land in six western states, after receiving roughly 80,000 public comments on the plan.

In December, the Interior Department released a draft identifying 24 solar development zones in California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona with the highest potential for solar development with the fewest environmental conflicts.

The Bureau of Land Management’s deputy director of operations, Mike Pool, said Thursday the department anticipates eliminating and reducing some zones.

Also Thursday, Salazar announced approval of two solar projects and a transmission line in California, plus a wind project in Oregon, that involve roads, rights of way or transmission lines across public land. Together the projects would provide 550 megawatts of electricity.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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