Environmental Review Released for Geothermal Leasing in Santa Fe National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service today announced in the Federal Register the availability of a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the potential effects of geothermal development in the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF).

The DEIS analyzes whether the Forest Service should make lands within SFNF available for geothermal leasing.

Under the DEIS proposed action, the Forest Service would implement discretionary and nondiscretionary leasing closures for geothermal resources, with approximately 32,000 acres being closed to leasing in the project area, and approximately 136,000 acres of national forest service lands being open to leasing. The project area covers four ranger districts in SFNS, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has received expressions of interest from industry in leasing about 46,000 acres of the project area for energy production.

According to the DEIS, highly favorable geothermal resources are concentrated on lands next to the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico.

Currently, New Mexico has one 4-MW utility-scale geothermal plant at the Lightning Dock geothermal field in southern New Mexico.

The Forest Service is accepting comments on the DEIS through Aug. 22.

Lead image credit: U.S. Forest Service

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