Government Pushes Solar Energy In West

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has identified 17 areas in six western states as prime candidates for solar energy projects on public lands.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the plan refines and improves on a draft released in December that identified two dozen areas in those six states: California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

Salazar says the sites, which comprise 285,000 acres in all, are ones that have the highest potential for solar development with the least environmental impact.

The plan announced during a conference call Thursday also proposes to open an additional 20 million acres of public land to future solar development.

Salazar says the plan is based in part on more than 80,000 comments received after the draft plan was announced in December.

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

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