Friday, December 8, 2017

USA: Legislation Could Enhance Geothermal Production on Federal Lands

Labrador Introduces Bill Spurring Geothermal Exploration (News Release)

Legislation lifts regulatory hurdles to unleash clean energy development in Idaho and other federal land states

Rep. Raúl Labrador
(Wikimedia Commons)
Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, on Wednesday introduced the Enhancing Geothermal Production on Federal Lands Act, a long-awaited bill to accelerate development of an abundant Idaho resource.

Ninety percent of viable U.S. geothermal resources exist on federal lands. In Idaho alone, the resource is estimated at 800 megawatts – enough to heat 500,000 homes.

H.R. 4568 would reduce regulatory approval waiting times for small exploratory wells from about 10 months to two months or less. Test holes 8 inches or less in diameter would be granted a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Similar provisions already exist for oil and gas exploration and mining.

The bill also permits coproduction of geothermal resources on lands leased for oil and gas; requires the government to identify priority areas for geothermal development; and authorizes noncompetitive, fair market value leasing by an existing leaseholder on adjoining lands. The leasing provision is drawn from H.R. 4252, a bill introduced in November by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.

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