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UFWDA Community Forum  |  Access (Land Use, RTF, Advocacy, etc)  |  General Land Advocacy  |  Topic: ROD & RMP amendments for Geothermal leasing « previous next »
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Todd Ockert
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« on: December 30, 2008, 12:02:47 pm »

[Federal Register: December 30, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 250)]
[Notices]               
[Page 79900-79902]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr30de08-104]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLWO300000.L91310000.PP000]

 
Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision and Approved
Resource Management Plan Amendments for Geothermal Leasing in the
Western United States

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In accordance with Section 202 of the National Environmental
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on
Environmental Quality's regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1500-
1508), and applicable agency guidance, the Department of the Interior,
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announces the availability of the
Record of Decision (ROD) and Approved Resource Management Plan (RMP)
Amendments for geothermal leasing in the western United States (U.S.).
The decision is hereby made to amend 114 BLM land use plans covering
public lands managed by the BLM under the Federal Land Policy and
Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) in order to allocate about 111 million
acres of BLM-administered lands as open to geothermal leasing and to
adopt a reasonably foreseeable development scenario, stipulations, best
management practices (BMPs), and leasing procedures for geothermal
resources within the 11 western states and Alaska. The Assistant
Secretary, Land and Minerals Management, in the Department of the
Interior signed the ROD on December 17, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jack G. Peterson, BLM Project Manager
at (208) 373-4048 (Jack_G_Peterson@blm.gov), BLM, 1387 S. Vinnell
Way, Boise, Idaho 83706 or visit the PEIS Web site at http://
www.blm.gov/Geothermal_EIS.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the ROD and Approved RMP Amendments are available
for review via the Internet from a link at http://www.blm.gov/
Geothermal_EIS, as well as at BLM State Offices and Field Offices.
Copies may also be obtained by contacting Jack G. Peterson at the
address and phone number listed above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The ROD and Approved RMP Amendments for
geothermal leasing in the western U.S. was developed through
preparation of the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
(PEIS) on Geothermal Leasing in the Western United States. The NOA of
the Final PEIS was published in the Federal Register on October 24,
2008 (73 FR 63430). The elements of the ROD and Approved RMP Amendments
were evaluated through this PEIS, which was prepared in accordance with
NEPA and FLPMA. Alternative B was identified as the Proposed Action in
the Draft PEIS. As a result of public comment, internal review, and
agency coordination, Alternative B was clarified and slightly modified
to become the preferred alternative and proposed to amend 122 plans in
the Final PEIS. The Approved RMP Amendments are identical to the
proposed plan amendments presented in the Final PEIS except that the
East San Diego County RMP has been removed from the list of plans for
amendment because in October 2008 the BLM issued a ROD revising the RMP
to include allocations and management for geothermal resources. In
addition, the BLM is deferring the decision to amend the Box Elder RMP,
House Range Resource Area RMP, Iso-tract Management Framework Plan
(MFP), Park City RMP, Pony Express RMP, Randolph RMP, and Warm Springs
Resource Area RMP in accordance with the provisions of the National
Defense Authorization Act (NDAA Sec.  2815 [a and d], 113 Stat. 512,
852 [1999]). Based on these changes, the decision is to amend 114 BLM
land use plans to adopt the allocations, reasonably foreseeable
development scenario, stipulations, BMPs, and leasing procedures
provided in Alternative B of the PEIS.
    In accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the ROD/Approved
RMP Amendments facilitates geothermal leasing of the Federal mineral
estate that has geothermal potential in the 11 western states and
Alaska. In the ROD and Approved RMP Amendments, the BLM: (1) Identifies
public lands with geothermal potential as being legally and
administratively open or closed to leasing, and under what conditions;
(2) provides a reasonably foreseeable development scenario; (3)
develops a comprehensive list of stipulations, BMPs, and procedures to
serve as consistent guidance for future geothermal leasing; and (4)
provides information that the Forest Service (FS) can use to facilitate
making consent determinations for any lease decisions on National
Forest System lands. The Final PEIS also provided analysis on 19
specific pending lease applications located in seven geographic areas.
This ROD/Approved RMP Amendments does not issue a decision for these
applications. Separate RODs will be issued for the applications as the
environmental review process is complete.
    Over 530 million acres of the western U.S. and Alaska have been
identified as potentially containing geothermal resources suitable for
commercial electrical generation and other direct uses, such as
heating. Much of the resource base is held in the Federal mineral
estate, for which the BLM has the delegated authority for processing
and issuing geothermal leases. The BLM is prohibited from issuing
leases on statutorily closed lands (see 43 CFR 3201.11), including
Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, lands contained in a unit of
the National Park System, National Recreation Areas,

[[Page 79901]]

Indian trust or restricted lands, and the Island Park Geothermal Areas
(around the border of Yellowstone National Park). Other areas closed to
leasing by existing laws, regulations, and Executive Orders include
National Monuments and designated wild rivers under the Wild and Scenic
Rivers Act.
    Under the ROD/Approved RMP Amendments, the BLM also applies
discretionary closures to: (1) Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
where the BLM determines that geothermal leasing and development would
be incompatible with the purposes for which the ACEC was designated, or
that have management plans that expressly preclude new leasing; (2)
National Conservation Areas, except the California Desert Conservation
Area; and (3) other lands in the BLM's National Landscape Conservation
System, such as historic and scenic trails.
    Approximately 143 million acres of public (BLM) lands and 104
million acres of National Forest System lands have geothermal
potential. The ROD/Approved RMP Amendments identifies approximately 111
million acres of public lands as available to potential geothermal
leasing subject to existing laws, regulations, formal orders,
stipulations attached to the lease form, and terms and conditions of
the standard lease form. To protect special resource values, the BLM
has developed a comprehensive list of stipulations, conditions of
approval, and BMPs.
    As noted above, the BLM manages the public lands pursuant to FLPMA.
Under FLPMA, in order for geothermal resource leasing and development
to take place on the public lands that BLM manages, such activities
must be provided for in the land use plan (also termed RMP) for the
affected administrative unit. Under the ROD/Approved RMP Amendments,
the BLM amends 114 RMPs to adopt the allocations, reasonably
foreseeable development scenario, stipulations, BMPs, and procedures
analyzed in the PEIS. In most cases, the BLM will be able to issue
geothermal leases on the basis of the analysis contained in this
document. The FS will use the PEIS to facilitate subsequent consent
decisions for leasing on National Forest System lands. The following
BLM RMPs and MFPs are amended with this ROD:

    Table 1--BLM Land Use Plans Proposed for Amendment Under the PEIS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 State                          Land use plan(s)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alaska................................  Central Yukon RMP
                                        Kobuk-Seward RMP
                                        Ring of Fire RMP
Arizona...............................  Arizona Strip RMP
                                        Kingman RMP
                                        Lake Havasu RMP
                                        Lower Gila North MFP
                                        Lower Gila South RMP
                                        Phoenix RMP
                                        Safford RMP
                                        Yuma RMP
California............................  Alturas RMP
                                        Arcata RMP
                                        Bishop RMP
                                        Caliente RMP
                                        Cedar Creek/Tule Mountain
                                         Integrated RMP
                                        Eagle Lake RMP
                                        Headwaters RMP
                                        Hollister RMP
                                        Redding RMP
                                        S. Diablo Mountain Range and
                                         Central Coast RMP
                                        South Coast RMP
                                        Surprise RMP
                                        West Mojave RMP
Colorado..............................  Glenwood Springs RMP
                                        Grand Junction RMP
                                        Gunnison RMP
                                        Kremmling RMP
                                        Little Snake RMP
                                        Northeast RMP
                                        Royal Gorge RMP
                                        San Juan/San Miguel RMP
                                        Uncompahgre Basin RMP
                                        White River RMP
Idaho.................................  Bennett Hills/Timmerman Hills
                                         MFP
                                        Big Desert MFP
                                        Big Lost MFP
                                        Bruneau MFP
                                        Cascade RMP
                                        Cassia RMP
                                        Challis RMP
                                        Chief Joseph MFP
                                        Jarbidge RMP
                                        Kuna MFP
                                        Lemhi RMP
                                        Little Lost-Birch MFP
                                        Magic MFP
                                        Malad MFP
                                        Medicine Lodge RMP
                                        Monument RMP
                                        Owyhee RMP
                                        Pocatello RMP
                                        Sun Valley MFP
                                        Twin Falls MFP
Montana...............................  Big Dry RMP
                                        Billings Resource Area RMP
                                        Dillon RMP
                                        Garnet Resource Area RMP
                                        Judith Valley Phillips RMP
                                        North Headwaters RMP
                                        Powder River Resource Area RMP
                                        West HiLine RMP
Nevada................................  Carson City Consolidated RMP
                                        Elko RMP
                                        Las Vegas RMP
                                        Paradise-Denio MFP
                                        Shoshone-Eureka RMP
                                        Sonoma-Gerlach MFP
                                        Tonopah RMP
                                        Wells RMP
New Mexico............................  Carlsbad RMP
                                        Farmington RMP
                                        MacGregor Range RMP
                                        Mimbres RMP
                                        Rio Puerco RMP
                                        Roswell RMP
                                        Socorro RMP
                                        Taos RMP
                                        White Sands RMP
Oregon................................  Brothers/LaPine RMP
                                        Eugene District RMP
                                        John Day River RMP
                                        John Day RMP
                                        Lower Deschutes RMP
                                        Medford RMP
                                        Roseburg RMP
                                        Salem RMP
                                        Three Rivers RMP
                                        Two Rivers RMP
Utah..................................  Book Cliffs MFP
                                        Cedar Beaver Garfield Antimony
                                         RMP
                                        Diamond Mountain RMP
                                        Henry Mountain MFP
                                        Mountain Valley MFP
                                        Paria MFP
                                        Parker Mountain MFP
                                        Pinyon MFP
                                        St. George (formerly Dixie) RMP
                                        Vermilion MFP
                                        Zion MFP
Washington............................  Spokane RMP
Wyoming...............................  Big Horn Basin RMP
                                        Buffalo RMP
                                        Cody RMP
                                        Grass Creek RMP
                                        Great Divide RMP
                                        Green River RMP
                                        Kemmerer RMP
                                        Lander RMP
                                        Newcastle RMP
                                        Pinedale RMP
                                        Platte River RMP
                                        Snake River RMP
                                        Waskakie RMP
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Public involvement in preparation of the Geothermal Leasing PEIS
was extensive, as documented in the PEIS and the ROD. Results of the
60-day Governors' Consistency Review of the PEIS, as required by BLM
planning regulations, were favorable in that none

[[Page 79902]]

of the Governors objected to the proposed plan amendments.

Michael D. Nedd,
Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management, Bureau of Land
Management.
[FR Doc. E8-30883 Filed 12-29-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-84-P

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