Letter To The Editor: SFNF Proposing To Lease Public Lands To Private Interests For Geothermal Exploration

By SABINE SHURTER
Jemez Springs

The Santa Fe National Forest is proposing to lease public lands surrounding SLP, La Cueva, Thompson Ridge to private interests for geothermal exploration.

There will be only two public meetings in Santa Fe and Cuba but not in Jemez Springs, a location much easier to reach for many residents most impacted.

Sierra Los Pinos, La Cueva and Thompson Ridge will be in the middle of these activities. Your future use of public lands and your enjoyment of the woods surrounding your little piece of heaven may be impacted by these activities. And a few geothermal wells in the forest will not be the end of the story. There will be power transmission lines, pipe lines and more to come.

The Santa Fe National Forest recently announced a public scoping period for a Forest Plan amendment which would consider making over 194,000 acres available for leasing for geothermal production immediately to the north, south, and west of Valles Caldera National Preserve.

The area being considered for leasing includes portions of nine Inventoried Roadless Areas and countless water sources, including all of the hot springs visited and loved in the Jemez Ranger District. Inventoried Roadless Areas are places the Forest Service has determined contain wilderness characteristics, but which have not yet been permanently protected as Wilderness by Congress. There will be large impact to a forest which is so cherished by sportsmen, hikers, and backpackers, and which contains wilderness-quality lands.

If you have any concerns about such activities in your neighborhood, click here. There you will find maps and specifics and an invitation to two public meeting, one in Cuba and one in Santa Fe (but not in Jemez Springs, a location much easier to reach for many residents most impacted, or Espanola).

Public meeting dates and locations:

Monday, June 1 at 5 p.m.

  • Cuba Ranger Station
  • 04b County Road 11 in Cuba
  • 575.289.3264

Tuesday, June 2 at 5 p.m.

  • Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters
  • 11 Forest Lane in Santa Fe
  • 505.438.5300

Send written comments to:
Geothermal EIS Project, Santa Fe National Forest
11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87508

Comments also may be sent via email to comments-southwestern-santafe@fs.fed.us or via facsimile to 505.438.5390. Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by June 12, 2015.

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