Notice of Availability of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Leasing of Geothermal Resources in 11 Western States and Alaska and Notice of Public Hearings, 33802-33805 [E8-13365]

Download as PDF 33802 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 115 / Friday, June 13, 2008 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Title: Renewal Energy and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. OMB Control Number: 0570–0050. Summary of Collection: This program is authorized under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Act) that established the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program under title IX, Section 9006. The Act requires the Secretary of Agriculture to create a program to make direct loans, loan guarantees, and grants to farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The program is designed to help farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses reduce energy cost and consumption, develop new income streams, and help meet the nation’s critical energy needs. The Act also mandates the maximum percentage the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) will provide in funding for these types of projects. Applicants wishing to apply for the grant or guaranteed loans will have to submit applications along with specified documents to the State Rural Energy Coordinator. Need and Use of the Information: RBS will use the collected information to determine applicant eligibility, to determine project eligibility and feasibility, ensure compliance with applicable regulations, and to ensure that grantees/borrowers operate on a sound basis and use funds for authorized purposes. Without this collection of information RBS would be unable to meet the requirements of the Act and effectively administer the program. This notice reflects an increase in figures to encompass the projected increase in applicants due to additional funding and public interest in the program that was not accounted for in the Federal Register notice published on January 9, 2008. Description of Respondents: Farmers, ranchers, and business or other forprofit. Number of Respondents: 1,507. Frequency of Responses: Annually. Total Burden Hours: 77,412. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Rural Business-Cooperative Service Bureau of Land Management Charlene Parker, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. E8–13330 Filed 6–12–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–XT–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:18 Jun 12, 2008 Jkt 214001 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE U.S. Forest Service [WO–300–9131–PP] Notice of Availability of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Leasing of Geothermal Resources in 11 Western States and Alaska and Notice of Public Hearings AGENCIES: Bureau of Land Management, Interior; and U.S. Forest Service, Agriculture. ACTION: Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Leasing of Geothermal Resources in 11 Western States and Alaska and Notice of Public Hearings. 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 the NEPA (40 CFR 1500– 1508), and applicable agency guidance, a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) has been prepared on the leasing of geothermal resources in 11 Western States and Alaska. The Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service (FS) are co-lead agencies for the PEIS, and the Department of Energy (DOE) is a cooperating Federal agency. In accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109–58, August 8, 2005), the agencies’ goal is to make geothermal leasing decisions on pending lease applications submitted prior to January 1, 2005, and to facilitate geothermal leasing decisions on other existing and future lease applications and nominations for geothermal leasing on Federal lands. The planning area encompasses about 530 million acres of land with the potential for geothermal development in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the Draft PEIS within 90 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. Public hearings will be held in 13 cities during June and July 2008. See the SUPPLEMENTARY PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 INFORMATION section for meeting dates and locations. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • E-mail: geothermal_EIS@blm.gov. • Fax: 1–866–625–0707. • US Mail: Geothermal Programmatic EIS, c/o EMPSi, 182 Howard Street, Suite 110, San Francisco, California 94105. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, including information on how to comment, contact Jack G. Peterson, Bureau of Land Management at (208) 373–4048, Jack_G_Peterson@blm.gov or Tracy Parker, Forest Service at (703) 605– 4796, tparker03@fs.fed.us, or visit the PEIS Web site at http://www.blm.gov/ Geothermal_EIS. A copy of the Draft PEIS is available for review via the Internet from a link at http:// www.blm.gov/Geothermal_EIS. Hardcopies are available for review at the BLM State and Field Offices. Electronic (on CD–ROM) and paper copies may also be obtained by contacting Jack Peterson at the aforementioned address and phone number. The PEIS consists of three volumes: Volume I contains the PEIS and associated programmatic analyses; Volume II provides the additional sitespecific environmental analysis for the pending lease applications; and Volume III contains the appendices. The public is encouraged to provide comments on the Draft PEIS. In addition to the written comment period, the BLM and the FS will host 13 public meetings to collect additional comments. The public meeting dates and addresses are as follows: 1. June 16, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Denver, Colorado; PPA Event Center, 2105 Decatur Street. 2. June 17, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Cheyenne, Wyoming; Laramie County Main Library, Willow Room, 200 Pioneer Avenue. 3. June 18, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Helena, Montana; Lewis and Clark Main Library, 120 S. Last Chance Gulch. 4. June 19, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Boise, Idaho; Boise Public Library, 715 South Capitol Blvd. 5. June 23, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Seattle, Washington; Seattle Public Library, University Branch, 5009 Roosevelt Way, NE. 6. June 24, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Portland, Oregon; Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale Branch, 1525 SW Sunset Blvd. 7. June 25, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Davis, California; University of SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\13JNN1.SGM 13JNN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 115 / Friday, June 13, 2008 / Notices California Davis Walter A. Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center, Mrak Hall Road. 8. July 8, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska Energy Authority, 813 W. Northern Lights Blvd. 9. July 9, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Fairbanks, Alaska; Fairbanks North Star Borough Library, 1215 Cowles Street. 10. July 14, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Reno, Nevada; Washoe County Library—Spanish Springs Branch, 7100 Pyramid Highway. 11. July 15, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Salt Lake City, Utah; Main Library, 210 East 400 South. 12. July 16, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tucson, Arizona; Pima County Public Library, Dusenberry River Branch, 5605 E. River Road. 13. July 17, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Albuquerque, New Mexico; University of New Mexico, Conference Center, Room G, 1634 University NE. Any changes to these dates or locations, and any other public involvement activities, will be announced at least 10 days in advance through local media and on the project Web site: http://www.blm.gov/ Geothermal_EIS. The Notice of Intent to prepare the PEIS was published on June 13, 2007, in the Federal Register (72 FR 32679). In accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the BLM and the FS propose to facilitate geothermal leasing on lands administered by the BLM (termed ‘‘public lands’’) and by the FS (National Forest System (NFS) lands) that have geothermal potential in the 11 western states and Alaska. Under the proposal, the BLM and the FS would do the following: (1) Identify public and NFS lands with geothermal potential for which geothermal leases may be issued, statutorily open lands, and for which issuance of geothermal leases is barred by operation of law, legally closed lands; (2) identify public lands that are administratively closed or open, and under what conditions; (3) develop a comprehensive list of stipulations, best management practices, and procedures to serve as consistent guidance for future geothermal leasing and development on public and NFS lands; (4) amend the BLM Resource Management Plans (RMPs) to adopt the resource allocations and procedures; and (5) issue or deny geothermal lease applications pending as of January 1, 2005. The need for the action is to (1) Issue decisions on pending lease applications VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:18 Jun 12, 2008 Jkt 214001 in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005; (2) address other provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, respond to other policy directives calling for clean and renewable energy (such as state renewable portfolio standards), and meet the increasing energy demands of the nation; and (3) facilitate geothermal leasing decisions on other existing and future lease applications and nominations on the Federal mineral estate. The purpose of the action is to (1) Complete the processing of active pending geothermal lease applications; (2) amend BLM land use plans to allocate lands with geothermal potential as being closed or open with minor to major constraints to leasing; and (3) provide suitable information to the FS to facilitate its subsequent consent decisions for BLM leasing on NFS lands. Over 530 million acres of the western United States 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. Some units or portions of the areas identified as having geothermal resource potential will not be developed because they are unavailable for leasing, either by statute, regulation or other authority. These designations are described at 43 CFR 3201.11, and include, but are not limited to: lands where the Secretary has determined that issuing a lease would cause unnecessary or undue degradation to public lands and resources; lands contained within a unit of the National Park System, for example, the geothermal features in and around Yellowstone National Park; wilderness areas; wilderness study areas; fish hatcheries; wildlife management areas; Indian trust lands; and other areas referred to in the above regulation. Under the Proposed Action, the BLM and the FS would also apply discretionary closures to (1) Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) where the BLM determines that geothermal leasing and development would be incompatible with the purposes for which the ACEC was designated, or those whose management plans expressly preclude new leasing; (2) National Conservation Areas, except the California Desert Conservation Area; PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 33803 (3) other lands in the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System, such as historic and scenic trails; and (4) military reservations where geothermal development would conflict with the military mission. Approximately 142 million acres of public (BLM) lands and 106 million acres of NFS lands have geothermal potential. Based on the proposed closures, the BLM and the FS are proposing to allocate approximately 117 million acres of public lands and 75 million acres of NFS lands to 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 and the FS have developed a comprehensive list of stipulations, conditions of approval, and best management practices (BMPs). In addition, a reasonably foreseeable development scenario (RFD) was prepared to predict future geothermal development trends. The RFD estimates a potential for 5,500 megawatts (MW) of new electrical generation capacity by 2015 through 110 new geothermal power plants, and an additional 6,600 MW from an additional 132 power plants by 2025. The RFD also recognizes the great potential for direct uses, including up to 270 communities being able to develop geothermal resources for heating buildings to offset the use of conventional energy sources. The BLM and the FS administrative units that have geothermal resources within their boundaries and are included in the planning area for the PEIS are provided in Table 1. In order for geothermal resource leasing and development to take place on the public lands that the BLM manages, such activities must be provided for in the land use plan for the affected administrative unit. Therefore, land use plans for the affected BLM administrative units may be amended by this PEIS to address geothermal leasing. Adoption of the appropriate allocations, development scenarios, stipulations, and BMPs for specific administrative units will be done through the plan maintenance process; thereby allowing future leasing decisions to be made based on the amended plans. The FS will evaluate their land use plans and amend them as needed through a separate environmental review process. E:\FR\FM\13JNN1.SGM 13JNN1 33804 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 115 / Friday, June 13, 2008 / Notices TABLE 1.—BLM AND FOREST SERVICE ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS WITHIN THE PLANNING AREA State BLM Field Office (or District) National Forest Alaska ........... Arizona .......... Anchorage, Central Yukon, Eastern Interior, Glennallen ........... Arizona Strip, Hassayampa, Kingman, Lake Havasu, Lower Sonoran, Safford, Tucson, Yuma. Alturas, Arcata, Bakersfield, Barstow, Bishop, Eagle Lake, El Centro, Folsom, Hollister, Needles, Palm Springs, Redding, Ridgecrest, Surprise, Ukiah. Tongass National Forest. Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Coronado National Forest, Tonto National Forest. Angeles National Forest, Cleveland National Forest, Eldorado National Forest, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Inyo National Forest, Klamath National Forest, Lassen National Forest, Los Padres National Forest, Mendocino National Forest, Modoc National Forest, Plumas National Forest, San Bernardino National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, Shasta Trinity National Forest, Sierra National Forest, Tahoe National Forest. Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, Pike-San Isabel National Forest, Rio Grande National Forest, San Juan National Forest, White River National Forest. Boise National Forest, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Clearwater National Forest, Nez Perce National Forest, Payette National Forest, Salmon-Challis National Forest, Sawtooth National Forest. Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Bitterroot National Forest, Clearwater National Forest, Custer National Forest, Dixie National Forest, Gallatin National Forest, Helena National Forest, Lewis and Clark National Forest, Lolo National Forest. Carson National Forest, Cibola National Forest, Gila National Forest, Lincoln National Forest, Santa Fe National Forest. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. California ....... Colorado ....... Columbine, Del Norte, Dolores, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Gunnison, Kremmling, La Jara, Little Snake, Pagosa Springs, Royal Gorge, Saguache, Uncompahgre, White River. Idaho ............. Bruneau, Burley, Challis, Cottonwood, Four Rivers, Jarbridge, Owyhee, Pocatello, Salmon, Shoshone, Upper Snake. Montana ........ Billings, Butte, Dillon, Lewistown, Malta, Miles City, Missoula ... New Mexico .. Carlsbad, Farmington, N/A, Rio Puerco, Roswell, Soccoro, Taos. Battle Mountain, Carson City, Elko, Ely, Las Vegas, Winnemucca. Burns, Eugene, Lakeview, Medford, Prineville, Roseburg, Salem, Vale. Nevada ......... Oregon .......... Utah .............. Washington ... rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Wyoming ....... Cedar City, Fillmore, Kanab, Richfield, Salt Lake, St. George, Vernal. Spokane ...................................................................................... Buffalo, Casper, Cody, Kemmerer, Lander, Pinedale, Rawlins, Rock Springs, Worland. In addition to the Proposed Action, the PEIS evaluates two other alternatives: The No Action Alternative and an alternative termed Leasing Near Transmission Lines. The No Action Alternative would allow the processing of pending geothermal lease applications; however, no land use plans would be amended. Therefore, lease applications would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and would require additional environmental review and possible land use plan amendments. The Leasing Near Transmission Lines Alternative was developed based on input from scoping. Under this alternative the scope of lands considered for leasing for commercial electrical generation would be limited to those lands that are near transmission lines. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:18 Jun 12, 2008 Jkt 214001 Newcastle, Deschutes National Forest, Fremont-Winema National Forests, Malheur National Forest, Mt. Hood National Forest, Ochoco National Forest, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests, Umatilla National Forest, Umpqua National Forest, WallowaWhitman National Forest, Willamette National Forest. Dixie National Forest, Fishlake National Forest, Uinta National Forest, Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests, Umatilla National Forest. Ashley National Forest, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, Shoshone National Forest, Wasatch-Cache National Forest. This alternative also considers a larger buffer around Yellowstone National Park. While this alternative minimizes the potential footprint of tie-in transmission lines from power plants to distribution lines, it would limit the potential for geothermal energy generation. In addition to the programmatic analysis, the PEIS provides site-specific environmental analysis for seven lease applications in Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington that were pending as of January 1, 2005. The alternatives evaluated for this analysis are issuing the lease or denying the lease (no action conditions). Comments may be submitted in writing on the stated planning criteria using one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. Please note that public comments and information submitted including names, street PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 addresses, and e-mail addresses of respondents will be available for public review and disclosure at the above address during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except holidays. Comments will be available for review at the following Web site: http://www.blm.gov/ Geothermal_EIS. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you may request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from E:\FR\FM\13JNN1.SGM 13JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 115 / Friday, June 13, 2008 / Notices public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Jeff O. Holdren, Acting Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management. Gloria Manning, Associate Deputy Chief for National Forest System, U.S. Forest Service. [FR Doc. E8–13365 Filed 6–12–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–10–P BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS Sunshine Act Meeting Monday, June 9, 2008, 4 p.m.–4:15 p.m. PLACE: Cohen Building, Room 3321, 330 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20237. CLOSED MEETING: The members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet in a special session to review and discuss budgetary issues relating to U.S. Government-funded non-military international broadcasting. This meeting is closed because if open it likely would either disclose matters that would be properly classified to be kept secret in the interest of foreign policy under the appropriate executive order (5 U.S.C. 552b.(c)(1)) or would disclose information the premature disclosure of which would be likely to significantly frustrate implementation of a proposed agency action. (5 U.S.C. 552b.(c)(9)(B)) In addition, part of the discussion will relate solely to the internal personnel and organizational issues of the BBG or the International Broadcasting Bureau. (5 U.S.C. 552b.(c)(2) and (6)) FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Persons interested in obtaining more information should contact Timi Nickerson Kenealy at (202) 203–4545. DATE AND TIME: Dated: June 10, 2008. Timi Nickerson Kenealy, Acting Legal Counsel. [FR Doc. 08–1358 Filed 6–11–08; 3:22 pm] BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Sunshine Act Meeting; U.S. Government-Funded Nonmilitary International Broadcasting Tuesday, June 10, 2008, 2:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. PLACE: Cohen Building, Room 3321, 330 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20237. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:50 Jun 12, 2008 Jkt 214001 June 3, 2008. Timi Nickerson Kenealy, Acting Legal Counsel. [FR Doc. E8–13031 Filed 6–12–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8610–01–M DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION (C–570–938) Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts from the People’s Republic of China: Notice of Postponement of Preliminary Determination in the Countervailing Duty Investigation Import Administration, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce. EFFECTIVE DATE: June 13, 2008. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Neubacher or Shelly Atkinson, AD/CVD Operations, Import Administration, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482–5823 and (202) 482–0116, respectively. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: AGENCY: BILLING CODE 8610–01–P DATE AND TIME: CLOSED MEETING: The members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet in closed session to review and discuss a number of issues relating to U.S. Government-funded nonmilitary international broadcasting. They will address internal procedural, budgetary, and personnel issues, as well as sensitive foreign policy issues relating to potential options in the U.S. international broadcasting field. This meeting is closed because if open it likely would either disclose matters that would be properly classified to be kept secret in the interest of foreign policy under the appropriate executive order (5 U.S.C. 552b. (c)(1)) or would disclose information the premature disclosure of which would be likely to significantly frustrate implementation of a proposed agency action. (5 U.S.C. 552b. (c)(9) (B)) In addition, part of the discussion will relate solely to the internal personnel and organizational issues of the BBG or the International Broadcasting Bureau. (5 U.S.C. 552b. (c)(2) and (6)) FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Persons interested in obtaining more information should contact Timi Nickerson Kenealy at (202) 203–4545. 33805 the countervailing duty investigation of citric acid and certain citrate salts from the People’s Republic of China. See Notice of Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigation: Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts from the People’s Republic of China, 73 FR 26960 (May 12, 2008). Currently, the preliminary determination is due no later than July 9, 2008. Postponement of Due Date for Preliminary Determination On June 6, 2008, the Department received a request from Archer Daniels Midland Company, Cargill, and Tate & Lyle Americas, Inc. (collectively, ‘‘the petitioners’’) to postpone the preliminary determination of the countervailing duty investigation of citric acid and certain citrate salts from the PRC. Under section 703(c)(1)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), the Department may extend the period for reaching a preliminary determination in a countervailing duty investigation until not later than the 130th day after the date on which the administering authority initiates an investigation if the petitioner makes a timely request for an extension of the period within which the determination must be made under subsection (b) (section 703(b) of the Act). Pursuant to section 351.205(e) of the Department’s regulations, the petitioners’ request for postponement of the preliminary determination was made 25 days or more before the scheduled date of the preliminary determination. Accordingly, we are extending the due date for the preliminary determination by 65 days to no later than September 12, 2008. This notice is issued and published pursuant to section 703(c)(2) of the Act. Dated: June 6, 2008. David M. Spooner, Assistant Secretary for Import Administration. [FR Doc. E8–13341 Filed 6–12–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology Notice of Invention Available for Licensing Background National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce. ACTION: Notice of Invention Available for Licensing. On May 5, 2008, the Department of Commerce (‘‘the Department’’) initiated SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce’s interest in the invention is PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\13JNN1.SGM 13JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 115 (Friday, June 13, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 33802-33805]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-13365]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

U.S. Forest Service

[WO-300-9131-PP]


Notice of Availability of the Draft Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement for Leasing of Geothermal Resources in 11 Western 
States and Alaska and Notice of Public Hearings

AGENCIES: Bureau of Land Management, Interior; and U.S. Forest Service, 
Agriculture.

ACTION: Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Draft Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement for Leasing of Geothermal Resources in 
11 Western States and Alaska and Notice of Public Hearings.

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

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 the NEPA (40 CFR 1500-
1508), and applicable agency guidance, a Draft Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) has been prepared on the leasing 
of geothermal resources in 11 Western States and Alaska. The Department 
of the Interior, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department 
of Agriculture, the Forest Service (FS) are co-lead agencies for the 
PEIS, and the Department of Energy (DOE) is a cooperating Federal 
agency.
    In accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109-58, 
August 8, 2005), the agencies' goal is to make geothermal leasing 
decisions on pending lease applications submitted prior to January 1, 
2005, and to facilitate geothermal leasing decisions on other existing 
and future lease applications and nominations for geothermal leasing on 
Federal lands. The planning area encompasses about 530 million acres of 
land with the potential for geothermal development in Alaska, Arizona, 
California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, 
Washington, and Wyoming.

DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the Draft PEIS within 90 days following the date 
the Environmental Protection Agency publishes the Notice of 
Availability in the Federal Register. Public hearings will be held in 
13 cities during June and July 2008. See the Supplementary Information 
section for meeting dates and locations.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: geothermal_EIS@blm.gov.
     Fax: 1-866-625-0707.
     US Mail: Geothermal Programmatic EIS, c/o EMPSi, 182 
Howard Street, Suite 110, San Francisco, California 94105.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, including 
information on how to comment, contact Jack G. Peterson, Bureau of Land 
Management at (208) 373-4048, Jack_G_Peterson@blm.gov or Tracy 
Parker, Forest Service at (703) 605-4796, tparker03@fs.fed.us, or visit 
the PEIS Web site at http://www.blm.gov/Geothermal_EIS.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A copy of the Draft PEIS is available for 
review via the Internet from a link at http://www.blm.gov/Geothermal_
EIS. Hardcopies are available for review at the BLM State and Field 
Offices. Electronic (on CD-ROM) and paper copies may also be obtained 
by contacting Jack Peterson at the aforementioned address and phone 
number.
    The PEIS consists of three volumes: Volume I contains the PEIS and 
associated programmatic analyses; Volume II provides the additional 
site-specific environmental analysis for the pending lease 
applications; and Volume III contains the appendices.
    The public is encouraged to provide comments on the Draft PEIS. In 
addition to the written comment period, the BLM and the FS will host 13 
public meetings to collect additional comments. The public meeting 
dates and addresses are as follows:
    1. June 16, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Denver, Colorado; PPA Event 
Center, 2105 Decatur Street.
    2. June 17, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Cheyenne, Wyoming; Laramie 
County Main Library, Willow Room, 200 Pioneer Avenue.
    3. June 18, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Helena, Montana; Lewis and 
Clark Main Library, 120 S. Last Chance Gulch.
    4. June 19, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Boise, Idaho; Boise Public 
Library, 715 South Capitol Blvd.
    5. June 23, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Seattle, Washington; Seattle 
Public Library, University Branch, 5009 Roosevelt Way, NE.
    6. June 24, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Portland, Oregon; Multnomah 
County Library, Hillsdale Branch, 1525 SW Sunset Blvd.
    7. June 25, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Davis, California; University 
of

[[Page 33803]]

California Davis Walter A. Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center, Mrak 
Hall Road.
    8. July 8, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska 
Energy Authority, 813 W. Northern Lights Blvd.
    9. July 9, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Fairbanks, Alaska; Fairbanks 
North Star Borough Library, 1215 Cowles Street.
    10. July 14, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Reno, Nevada; Washoe County 
Library--Spanish Springs Branch, 7100 Pyramid Highway.
    11. July 15, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Salt Lake City, Utah; Main 
Library, 210 East 400 South.
    12. July 16, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tucson, Arizona; Pima County 
Public Library, Dusenberry River Branch, 5605 E. River Road.
    13. July 17, 2008, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Albuquerque, New Mexico; 
University of New Mexico, Conference Center, Room G, 1634 University 
NE.
    Any changes to these dates or locations, and any other public 
involvement activities, will be announced at least 10 days in advance 
through local media and on the project Web site: http://www.blm.gov/
Geothermal_EIS.
    The Notice of Intent to prepare the PEIS was published on June 13, 
2007, in the Federal Register (72 FR 32679). In accordance with the 
Energy Policy Act of 2005, the BLM and the FS propose to facilitate 
geothermal leasing on lands administered by the BLM (termed ``public 
lands'') and by the FS (National Forest System (NFS) lands) that have 
geothermal potential in the 11 western states and Alaska. Under the 
proposal, the BLM and the FS would do the following: (1) Identify 
public and NFS lands with geothermal potential for which geothermal 
leases may be issued, statutorily open lands, and for which issuance of 
geothermal leases is barred by operation of law, legally closed lands; 
(2) identify public lands that are administratively closed or open, and 
under what conditions; (3) develop a comprehensive list of 
stipulations, best management practices, and procedures to serve as 
consistent guidance for future geothermal leasing and development on 
public and NFS lands; (4) amend the BLM Resource Management Plans 
(RMPs) to adopt the resource allocations and procedures; and (5) issue 
or deny geothermal lease applications pending as of January 1, 2005.
    The need for the action is to (1) Issue decisions on pending lease 
applications in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005; (2) 
address other provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, respond to 
other policy directives calling for clean and renewable energy (such as 
state renewable portfolio standards), and meet the increasing energy 
demands of the nation; and (3) facilitate geothermal leasing decisions 
on other existing and future lease applications and nominations on the 
Federal mineral estate. The purpose of the action is to (1) Complete 
the processing of active pending geothermal lease applications; (2) 
amend BLM land use plans to allocate lands with geothermal potential as 
being closed or open with minor to major constraints to leasing; and 
(3) provide suitable information to the FS to facilitate its subsequent 
consent decisions for BLM leasing on NFS lands.
    Over 530 million acres of the western United States 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. Some units or portions of the areas 
identified as having geothermal resource potential will not be 
developed because they are unavailable for leasing, either by statute, 
regulation or other authority. These designations are described at 43 
CFR 3201.11, and include, but are not limited to: lands where the 
Secretary has determined that issuing a lease would cause unnecessary 
or undue degradation to public lands and resources; lands contained 
within a unit of the National Park System, for example, the geothermal 
features in and around Yellowstone National Park; wilderness areas; 
wilderness study areas; fish hatcheries; wildlife management areas; 
Indian trust lands; and other areas referred to in the above 
regulation.
    Under the Proposed Action, the BLM and the FS would also apply 
discretionary closures to (1) Areas of Critical Environmental Concern 
(ACEC) where the BLM determines that geothermal leasing and development 
would be incompatible with the purposes for which the ACEC was 
designated, or those whose management plans expressly preclude new 
leasing; (2) National Conservation Areas, except the California Desert 
Conservation Area; (3) other lands in the BLM's National Landscape 
Conservation System, such as historic and scenic trails; and (4) 
military reservations where geothermal development would conflict with 
the military mission.
    Approximately 142 million acres of public (BLM) lands and 106 
million acres of NFS lands have geothermal potential. Based on the 
proposed closures, the BLM and the FS are proposing to allocate 
approximately 117 million acres of public lands and 75 million acres of 
NFS lands to 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 and the FS have developed a comprehensive list of 
stipulations, conditions of approval, and best management practices 
(BMPs).
    In addition, a reasonably foreseeable development scenario (RFD) 
was prepared to predict future geothermal development trends. The RFD 
estimates a potential for 5,500 megawatts (MW) of new electrical 
generation capacity by 2015 through 110 new geothermal power plants, 
and an additional 6,600 MW from an additional 132 power plants by 2025. 
The RFD also recognizes the great potential for direct uses, including 
up to 270 communities being able to develop geothermal resources for 
heating buildings to offset the use of conventional energy sources.
    The BLM and the FS administrative units that have geothermal 
resources within their boundaries and are included in the planning area 
for the PEIS are provided in Table 1. In order for geothermal resource 
leasing and development to take place on the public lands that the BLM 
manages, such activities must be provided for in the land use plan for 
the affected administrative unit. Therefore, land use plans for the 
affected BLM administrative units may be amended by this PEIS to 
address geothermal leasing. Adoption of the appropriate allocations, 
development scenarios, stipulations, and BMPs for specific 
administrative units will be done through the plan maintenance process; 
thereby allowing future leasing decisions to be made based on the 
amended plans. The FS will evaluate their land use plans and amend them 
as needed through a separate environmental review process.

[[Page 33804]]



    Table 1.--BLM and Forest Service Administrative Units Within the
                              Planning Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        BLM Field Office (or
        State                 District)              National Forest
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alaska..............  Anchorage, Central        Tongass National Forest.
                       Yukon, Eastern
                       Interior, Glennallen.
Arizona.............  Arizona Strip,            Apache-Sitgreaves
                       Hassayampa, Kingman,      National Forests,
                       Lake Havasu, Lower        Coronado National
                       Sonoran, Safford,         Forest, Tonto National
                       Tucson, Yuma.             Forest.
California..........  Alturas, Arcata,          Angeles National Forest,
                       Bakersfield, Barstow,     Cleveland National
                       Bishop, Eagle Lake, El    Forest, Eldorado
                       Centro, Folsom,           National Forest,
                       Hollister, Needles,       Humboldt-Toiyabe
                       Palm Springs, Redding,    National Forest, Inyo
                       Ridgecrest, Surprise,     National Forest,
                       Ukiah.                    Klamath National
                                                 Forest, Lassen National
                                                 Forest, Los Padres
                                                 National Forest,
                                                 Mendocino National
                                                 Forest, Modoc National
                                                 Forest, Plumas National
                                                 Forest, San Bernardino
                                                 National Forest,
                                                 Sequoia National
                                                 Forest, Shasta Trinity
                                                 National Forest, Sierra
                                                 National Forest, Tahoe
                                                 National Forest.
Colorado............  Columbine, Del Norte,     Arapaho and Roosevelt
                       Dolores, Glenwood         National Forests, Grand
                       Springs, Grand            Mesa, Uncompahgre and
                       Junction, Gunnison,       Gunnison National
                       Kremmling, La Jara,       Forests, Medicine Bow-
                       Little Snake, Pagosa      Routt National Forest,
                       Springs, Royal Gorge,     Pike-San Isabel
                       Saguache, Uncompahgre,    National Forest, Rio
                       White River.              Grande National Forest,
                                                 San Juan National
                                                 Forest, White River
                                                 National Forest.
Idaho...............  Bruneau, Burley,          Boise National Forest,
                       Challis, Cottonwood,      Caribou-Targhee
                       Four Rivers, Jarbridge,   National Forest,
                       Owyhee, Pocatello,        Clearwater National
                       Salmon, Shoshone, Upper   Forest, Nez Perce
                       Snake.                    National Forest,
                                                 Payette National
                                                 Forest, Salmon-Challis
                                                 National Forest,
                                                 Sawtooth National
                                                 Forest.
Montana.............  Billings, Butte, Dillon,  Beaverhead-Deerlodge
                       Lewistown, Malta, Miles   National Forest,
                       City, Missoula.           Bitterroot National
                                                 Forest, Clearwater
                                                 National Forest, Custer
                                                 National Forest, Dixie
                                                 National Forest,
                                                 Gallatin National
                                                 Forest, Helena National
                                                 Forest, Lewis and Clark
                                                 National Forest, Lolo
                                                 National Forest.
New Mexico..........  Carlsbad, Farmington, N/  Carson National Forest,
                       A, Rio Puerco, Roswell,   Cibola National Forest,
                       Soccoro, Taos.            Gila National Forest,
                                                 Lincoln National
                                                 Forest, Santa Fe
                                                 National Forest.
Nevada..............  Battle Mountain, Carson   Humboldt-Toiyabe
                       City, Elko, Ely, Las      National Forest.
                       Vegas, Winnemucca.
Oregon..............  Burns, Eugene, Lakeview,  Deschutes National
                       Medford, Prineville,      Forest, Fremont-Winema
                       Roseburg, Salem, Vale.    National Forests,
                                                 Malheur National
                                                 Forest, Mt. Hood
                                                 National Forest, Ochoco
                                                 National Forest, Rogue
                                                 River-Siskiyou National
                                                 Forests, Umatilla
                                                 National Forest, Umpqua
                                                 National Forest,
                                                 Wallowa-Whitman
                                                 National Forest,
                                                 Willamette National
                                                 Forest.
Utah................  Cedar City, Fillmore,     Dixie National Forest,
                       Kanab, Richfield, Salt    Fishlake National
                       Lake, St. George,         Forest, Uinta National
                       Vernal.                   Forest, Wasatch-Cache
                                                 National Forest.
Washington..........  Spokane.................  Gifford Pinchot National
                                                 Forest, Mt Baker-
                                                 Snoqualmie National
                                                 Forest, Okanogan-
                                                 Wenatchee National
                                                 Forests, Umatilla
                                                 National Forest.
Wyoming.............  Buffalo, Casper, Cody,    Ashley National Forest,
                       Kemmerer, Lander,         Bridger-Teton National
                       Newcastle, Pinedale,      Forest, Caribou-Targhee
                       Rawlins, Rock Springs,    National Forest,
                       Worland.                  Medicine Bow-Routt
                                                 National Forest,
                                                 Shoshone National
                                                 Forest, Wasatch-Cache
                                                 National Forest.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition to the Proposed Action, the PEIS evaluates two other 
alternatives: The No Action Alternative and an alternative termed 
Leasing Near Transmission Lines. The No Action Alternative would allow 
the processing of pending geothermal lease applications; however, no 
land use plans would be amended. Therefore, lease applications would be 
evaluated on a case-by-case basis and would require additional 
environmental review and possible land use plan amendments.
    The Leasing Near Transmission Lines Alternative was developed based 
on input from scoping. Under this alternative the scope of lands 
considered for leasing for commercial electrical generation would be 
limited to those lands that are near transmission lines.
    This alternative also considers a larger buffer around Yellowstone 
National Park. While this alternative minimizes the potential footprint 
of tie-in transmission lines from power plants to distribution lines, 
it would limit the potential for geothermal energy generation.
    In addition to the programmatic analysis, the PEIS provides site-
specific environmental analysis for seven lease applications in Alaska, 
California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington that were pending as of 
January 1, 2005. The alternatives evaluated for this analysis are 
issuing the lease or denying the lease (no action conditions).
    Comments may be submitted in writing on the stated planning 
criteria using one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. 
Please note that public comments and information submitted including 
names, street addresses, and e-mail addresses of respondents will be 
available for public review and disclosure at the above address during 
regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Monday through Friday, 
except holidays. Comments will be available for review at the following 
Web site: http://www.blm.gov/Geothermal_EIS.
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you may 
request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying 
information from

[[Page 33805]]

public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Jeff O. Holdren,
Acting Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management.
Gloria Manning,
Associate Deputy Chief for National Forest System, U.S. Forest Service.
[FR Doc. E8-13365 Filed 6-12-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-10-P