Forest Service to write environmental review on geothermal leasing in Idaho

The Salmon-Challis National Forest will prepare an environmental impact statement to analyze the potential effects of geothermal development on approximately 5,600 acres in Idaho, said the U.S Forest Service in a notice to be published in the Sept. 24 Federal Register.

The decision will be whether to proceed with geothermal leasing and, if so, under what stipulations. Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received within 30 days from date of publication in the Federal Register. The draft environmental impact statement is expected in May 2016 and the final environmental impact statement is expected in September 2016.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received applications for leasing approximately 5,600 acres of Salmon-Challis National Forest (SCNF) lands for exploration and development for geothermal energy production. The SCNF must decide whether these lands are available for leasing by the BLM and, if so, under what stipulations for protection of surface resources.

The entire area plus an additional approximately 100 acres for power transmission will be considered in the analysis in the event of future similar interest. Possible stipulations proposed include: no surface occupancy; controlled surface use; and timing limitations. The Salmon-Challis National Forest is the lead agency in this analysis.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.