New mining claims banned in 17 federal solar zones

Federal officials have taken another step toward establishing 17 new "solar energy zones" on public lands in the West by barring new mining claims that could impede renewable-energy development on the sites.

The Interior Department said Friday it has withdrawn nearly 304,000 acres of public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah from new mining claims.

Arizona has two zones, one east of Quartzsite and the other in La Paz County near the California border.

To streamline solar development, the new zones are near existing transmission lines and were chosen because they had fewer environmental and cultural issues that would require years of study and mitigation.

Since 2009 the Bureau of Land Management has approved 25 solar projects in the West that when built will be able to power more than 2.4 million homes.

The Associated Press


New Walmart set to open

A 99,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter at 2711 S. Houghton Road is scheduled to open for business at 8 a.m. July 17. The grand-opening ceremony starts at 7:30 a.m.

Walmart hired approximately 200 associates to work at this store, and the majority are full -time, said Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia.

The store will offer general merchandise and fresh groceries.

Arizona Daily Star