The Obama administration is putting forward 285,000 acres of public land in the West as prime territory for solar development. About half of the land is in California; the rest is spread over five states, including Nevada and Utah.

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These sites, the administration says, have no looming environmental or cultural conflicts, and they're close to transmission lines.

Deserts are great candidates for solar energy projects, but there are environmental concerns about the fragile ecosystems. However, the administration is under pressure from both liberal and conservative interests to open up some public lands for renewable energy.

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