Environmental Trade-Offs of Geothermal Become Clearer

May 14, 2008

One of the alternative energy sources that is drawing more attention is geothermal. Prospects for the energy source, which has its tradeoffs, just like any other energy source, may become a little more clear in late May or early June 2008 when the US Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service release a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. That release will open up a public comment period, which is expected to include public meetings in June or July. A final PEIS is expected by the fall of 2008.

The PEIS is expected to cover 11 Western states, where more than half of the land is considered to have some geothermal potential, as well as AK, which also has some sizable areas with geothermal potential.

Check in with BLM's Matt Spangler, 202-452-5130, for specific dates. The PEIS should be posted on this page, and draft maps of geothermal potential are here.

An industry trade group is the Geothermal Energy Association.

For an example of how geothermal issues may be of interest to your audience, see an April 29, 2008, Salt Lake Tribune article by Mark Havnes.

For an earlier federal assessment of geothermal energy, see the TipSheet of March 5, 2003. The report mentioned in the TipSheet can be accessed here.

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