Energy policy — geothermal: Two organizations appeal decision to lease USFS land near Tomichi Dome

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From The Crested Butte News (Alissa Johnson):

The Forest Service has received two appeals against forest supervisor Charlie Richmond’s February 4 decision to consent to lease 3,756 acres of National Forest Service land near Tomichi Dome for geothermal development. The parcel is one of two areas approved in March for geothermal leasing by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages the mineral estate and would manage the sale and development of the leases for both parcels of land…

Public scoping of the potential lease identified a wide range of environmental concerns, including protection for the Gunnison sage grouse, Canada lynx habitat, wetland riparian areas and large game habitat. According to Gunnison District forest ranger John Murphy, there were enough concerns that Forest Service discussion included consideration of not leasing. “There are a lot of restrictions on the lease,” Murphy said. “If somebody decides to operate on National Forest system lands, it will be controlled very tightly.”

Those stipulations include measures such as prohibiting disturbance within four miles of known or yet to be discovered lekking grounds for the Gunnison sage grouse and seasonal limitations on surface disturbance to protect winter game range. But both the Double Heart Ranch and the Center for Native Ecosystems filed appeals against the Forest Service decision to lease. The major points of concern surround the protection of the Gunnison sage grouse.

More geothermal coverage here and here.

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