U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
EERE Financial Opportunities
BLM and U.S. Forest Service to Consider Expanded Geothermal Leasing
June 27, 2007
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced in mid-June that it will
work with the U.S. Forest Service to prepare a programmatic
environmental impact statement (PEIS) for geothermal energy
development in Alaska and 11 western states: Arizona, California,
Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah,
Washington, and Wyoming. The PEIS will focus on public lands in those
states that have a high potential for geothermal energy development.
The PEIS will examine the environmental impacts of increased
geothermal leasing on those lands, and if deemed appropriate by the
PEIS, the agencies will amend the land use plans in those areas to
allow for expanded leasing.
The PEIS will also analyze the steps necessary to facilitate the
processing of the approximately 100 geothermal lease applications that
were pending as of January 1st, 2005, as mandated by the Energy Policy
of Act of 2005. The law stipulated that 90% of these applications must
be issued, rejected, or otherwise disposed of by August 8th, 2010.
Public comments on the PEIS are being accepted until August 13th, and
the BLM encourages suggestions on which areas with high geothermal
potential should be examined. The BLM will also hold public meetings
in 10 western cities, with the first occurring in Denver, Colorado, on
July 9th. See the BLM press release and the BLM's
Geothermal PEIS Web site.
The BLM has just completed its first competitive geothermal lease
sales in Idaho and Utah. In Idaho, the BLM leased five parcels on
8,901 acres for more than $5.7 million. In Utah, the BLM leased three
parcels on more than 6,000 acres for nearly $3.7 million. The lease
sales were the first to be performed under new regulations set by the
Energy Policy Act of 2005. See the press releases from the
BLM state offices in Idaho and