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Forest Service invites comments on Aurora Geothermal leasing analysis


usfs-logo-282x300-2606513-6167039USFS NEWS RELEASE

SPARKS — The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Bridgeport Ranger District, is seeking public comments on an Environmental Analysis (EA) Supplement for geothermal leasing on around 11,400 acres near Aurora, Nevada.  The EA Supplement evaluates the effects of potential leasing of geothermal resources, including additional stipulations that would help protect important resources, and would supplement the 2006 Carson City Field Office Geothermal Leasing Environmental Assessment (EA-NV-030-05-025).  The public is encouraged to review the updated analysis related to this proposal to consent to lease these lands for potential geothermal development.

Because of the high interest in geothermal energy and the recognized potential for geothermal resources in the Aurora area of the Bridgeport Ranger District, the Forest proposes providing consent to lease all or portions of 22 of 33 sections evaluated in this EA Supplement.

A Forest Service leasing decision tiered to the 2006 EA was issued in 2007.  Since that decision, new data indicates additional National Forest System lands may be made available for geothermal leasing, while protecting natural resources.

Developing geothermal resources on public lands involves four phases:  leasing, exploration, development/operation, and close-out.  The first phase is to issue a lease.  Geothermal leasing represents a commitment of resources, and it is reasonably expected that subsequent exploration and development would occur on parcels that are leased.  Any future proposals for exploration and/or development at specific sites would be further analyzed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act at the time the proposals are submitted.

Information on the Supplemental EA may be obtained at the following website: http://www.fs.usda.gov\goto\htnf\projects.  Public comments are most useful if they are received before June 4, 2011. Bridgeport Ranger District’s office business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Comments may be submitted in the following four ways:
On-line to: [email protected].  Please include “Aurora Geothermal” in the subject line.
Written comments may be submitted to:  Keith Whaley, Project Manager, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Bridgeport Ranger District, HC 62 Box 1000, Bridgeport, CA, 93517.
Hand-delivered comments can be dropped off at the Bridgeport Ranger Station, Highway 395 South, Bridgeport, CA, Attn: Keith Whaley.
Fax comments to 760-932-5899.

Learn more about this release by contacting Keith Whaley, Project Lead, at 760-932-5821.

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