To expand geothermal production, and for other purposes.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
June 7, 2011
Mr. WYDEN (for himself, Mr. CRAPO, Mr. RISCH, and Mr. MERKLEY) introduced
the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee
on Energy and Natural Resources
To expand geothermal production, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Geothermal Production Expansion Act of
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(1) it is in the best interest of the United States to develop clean
renewable geothermal energy;
(2) development of that energy should be promoted on appropriate Federal
(3) under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 15801 et seq.),
the Bureau of Land Management is authorized to issue 3 different types
of noncompetitive leases for production of geothermal energy on Federal
(A) noncompetitive geothermal leases to mining claim holders that
have a valid operating plan;
(B) direct use leases; and
(C) leases on parcels that do not sell at a competitive auction;
(4) Federal geothermal energy leasing activity should be directed
toward persons seeking to develop the land as opposed to persons seeking
to speculate on geothermal resources and artificially raising the
cost of legitimate geothermal energy development;
(5) developers of geothermal energy on Federal land that have invested
substantial capital and made high risk investments should be allowed
to secure a discovery of geothermal energy resources; and
(6) successful geothermal development on Federal land will provide
increased revenue to the Federal Government, with the payment of production
royalties over decades.
SEC. 3. NONCOMPETITIVE LEASING OF ADJOINING AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT
OF GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES.
Section 4(b) of the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 (30 U.S.C. 1003(b))
is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(A) DEFINITIONS- In this paragraph:
`(i) FAIR MARKET VALUE PER ACRE- The term `fair market value per
acre' means a dollar amount per acre that--
`(I) except as provided in this clause, shall be equal to the
market value per acre as determined by the Secretary under regulations
issued under this paragraph;
`(II) shall be determined by the Secretary with respect to a
lease under this paragraph, by not later than the end of the
90-day period beginning on the date the Secretary receives an
application for the lease; and
`(III) shall be not less than the greater of--
`(aa) 4 times the median amount paid per acre for all land
leased under this Act during the preceding year; or
`(ii) INDUSTRY STANDARDS- The term `industry standards' means
the standards by which a qualified geothermal professional assesses
whether downhole or flowing temperature measurements with indications
of permeability are sufficient to produce energy from geothermal
resources, as determined through flow or injection testing or
measurement of lost circulation while drilling.
`(iii) QUALIFIED FEDERAL LAND- The term `qualified Federal land'
means land that is otherwise available for leasing under this
`(iv) QUALIFIED GEOTHERMAL PROFESSIONAL- The term `qualified geothermal
professional' means an individual who is an engineer or geoscientist
in good professional standing with at least 5 years of experience
in geothermal exploration, development, or project assessment.
`(v) QUALIFIED LESSEE- The term `qualified lessee' means a person
that may hold a geothermal lease under this Act (including applicable
`(vi) VALID DISCOVERY- The term `valid discovery' means a discovery
of a geothermal resource by a new or existing slim hole or production
well, that exhibits downhole or flowing temperature measurements
with indications of permeability that are sufficient to meet industry
`(B) AUTHORITY- An area of qualified Federal land that adjoins other
land for which a qualified lessee holds a legal right to develop
geothermal resources may be available for a noncompetitive lease
under this section to the qualified lessee at the fair market value
per acre, if--
`(i) the area of qualified Federal land--
`(I) consists of not less than 1 acre and not more than 640
`(II) is not already leased under this Act or nominated to be
leased under subsection (a);
`(ii) the qualified lessee has not previously received a noncompetitive
lease under this paragraph in connection with the valid discovery
for which data has been submitted under clause (iii)(I); and
`(iii) sufficient geological and other technical data prepared
by a qualified geothermal professional has been submitted by the
qualified lessee to the applicable Federal land management agency
that would lead individuals who are experienced in the subject
matter to believe that--
`(I) there is a valid discovery of geothermal resources on the
land for which the qualified lessee holds the legal right to
develop geothermal resources; and
`(II) that thermal feature extends into the adjoining areas.
`(C) DETERMINATION OF FAIR MARKET VALUE-
`(i) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall--
`(I) publish a notice of any request to lease land under this
`(II) determine fair market value for purposes of this paragraph
in accordance with procedures for making those determinations
that are established by regulations issued by the Secretary;
`(III) provide to a qualified lessee and publish, with an opportunity
for public comment for a period of 30 days, any proposed determination
under this subparagraph of the fair market value of an area
that the qualified lessee seeks to lease under this paragraph;
`(IV) provide to the qualified lessee and any adversely affected
party the opportunity to appeal the final determination of fair
market value in an administrative proceeding before the applicable
Federal land management agency, in accordance with applicable
law (including regulations).
`(ii) LIMITATION ON NOMINATION- After publication of a notice
of request to lease land under this paragraph, the Secretary may
not accept under subsection (a) any nomination of the land for
leasing unless the request has been denied or withdrawn.
`(iii) ANNUAL RENTAL- For purposes of section 5(a)(3), a lease
awarded under this paragraph shall be considered a lease awarded
in a competitive lease sale.
`(D) REGULATIONS- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment
of the Geothermal Production Expansion Act of 2011, the Secretary
shall issue regulations to carry out this paragraph.'.