Comments submitted by Scott Nichols, Manager of Permitting & Lands for U.S. Geothermal Inc. to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy on July 29, 2014 regarding obstacles in permitting energy projects on federal lands.
"Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, my name is Scott Nichols and I am here today representing U.S. Geothermal.
My comments are focused on the BLM and USFS (Agencies's) evolving approach in administering the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the geothermal industry's evolving approach to environmental management, and support for action requiring agencies to rigidly defined NEPA implementation and federal regulations.
Our overwhelming experience is that management decisions are now driven by lawsuits, attorneys and the Office of General Counsel combined with a need for more data and longer evaluation periods. Documentation has become more important than good science."