SFNF Holding Public Meetings On Geothermal Energy Development Draft EA

SFNF News:

SANTA FE – The Santa Fe National Forest today announced that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the potential effects of geothermal energy development on land within Forest boundaries is available on the Forest website here.

The Forest will hold three public meetings to provide a brief overview of the proposed project and the analysis of effects. The first meeting is 6-7:30 p.m., Thursday, July 7, 2016, at the Forest Headquarters, 11 Forest Lane in Santa Fe. Additional meetings will be scheduled in Abiquiu and Jemez Springs. The times and locations will be announced as soon as they are finalized.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has identified approximately 195,000 acres within the boundaries of the SFNF with “significant geothermal potential.” The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has received expressions of interest in leasing approximately 46,000 acres of SFNF land for geothermal exploration and development. The BLM manages the subsurface resources on all federal land.

Of the project area identified by USGS, approximately 30,000 acres, including the Jemez National Recreation Area and the East Fork of the Jemez River, which has been designated a federal Wild and Scenic River, are closed to leasing by statute. The Forest Service also has discretionary authority to prohibit leasing to protect special resources.

In the proposed project area, that would include the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway, the Jemez Historic Site National Landmark and the Monument Canyon Research Natural Area, as well as SFNF administrative sites in the area.

Analysis of the effects of geothermal leasing began in June 2015 with a series of public meetings and a public comment period. The DEIS assesses both the physical and social impacts of any proposed leasing.

In addition to the upcoming public meetings, the Forest is soliciting public comment on the DEIS. Comments may be sent by email to comments-southwestern-santafe@fs.fed.us or mailed to Comments, Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters, 11 Forest Lane, Santa Fe, NM 87508.

The Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register July 8, 2016, and the formal comment period will close Aug. 22, 2016.