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BLM Announces Record of Decision for Geothermal Leasing in Imperial County

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced the availability of the record of decision (ROD) for geothermal leasing of 3,322 acres of BLM-managed lands on the east side of the Salton Sea in Imperial County, Calif. Daniel Steward, acting field office manager for the BLM El Centro Field Office, signed the record of decision on Dec. 2, 2009.

“In the interest of balancing the need for renewable energy, the need to protect air quality and biological, cultural, and visual values, I have concluded that the interests of the public would be best served in leasing these lands for geothermal resources,” states Steward.

The Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (FPEIS) for Geothermal Leasing in the Western United States was prepared to analyze and disclose the potential environmental impacts on the natural and human environment that could result from the proposed leasing of federal geothermal resources. Chapter 12 of the FPEIS specifically addressed the BLM-managed public lands near the Salton Sea, which are currently covered by two federal lease applications. The minerals on these lands, including the geothermal resources, are managed by the BLM El Centro Field Office. The FPEIS can be viewed at: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/energy/geothermal/geothermal_nationwide.html
From June through September 2007, the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service conducted a formal scoping process for the FPEIS, which included site-specific analysis for the Salton Sea lease areas. The FPEIS was released to the public on Oct. 24, 2008, with the publication of the notice of availability in the Federal Register. The BLM received more than 75 letters by the close of the public comment period.
This ROD has been prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Council on Environmental Quality regulations. The ROD and a map can be viewed at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro.html A copy for review is also available at the BLM California Desert District Office, 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, Calif.
The decision is immediately in full force and effect. Within 30 days after the date of signing, the public has the right of appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals, Office of the Secretary.
For additional information concerning this decision, please contact: John Dalton, project manager BLM-California Desert District, 22835 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553. Telephone: (951) 697-5311.