It is imperative that potential impacts associated with renewable energy development are considered early in the planning and permitting process to reduce cross-boundary impacts to national parks and ensure development on public lands is "smart from the start." Key partnerships with other federal and state agencies help to develop ways by which to identify, avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to parks. Park resources and values at risk include: water quantity and quality, air quality, wildlife, dark night skies, natural soundscapes, cultural resources, scenic views, soils, geologic and hydrologic processes, and park visitor experience. The
Role of the National Park Service
The National Park Service has been actively engaged in renewable energy and transmission related planning, permitting/leasing, and project related decision-making at the Department, Bureau, and field level to support expansion of our nation's energy portfolio. The NPS is committed to joining renewable energy permitting/leasing lead agencies as a cooperating agency on those projects for which it has significant resource concerns, and working in-house to identify resource issues and solutions at the earliest possible stage in the process.
To better understand how cross-boundary impacts may be avoided and minimized the NPS is working with other federal and state energy and environmental protection agencies, local zoning boards, and research institutions. The National Park Service also participates in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Atlantic Wind state task forces and serves on the Department of Energy, Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture Rapid Response Team for Transmission.
During 2012-2013 the NPS hired six term positions to assist on renewable energy and related electric transmission infrastructure work. These positions are responsible for working with NPS partners at the field and region level to improve siting, environmental review, and permitting processes for utility-scale projects.