Central Oregon

Geothermal test wells planned near Glass Buttes

BLM seeking public comments through May 19th

HAMPTON, Ore. - The Prineville District, BLM is requesting public input on a proposed project that would authorize the drilling, testing and monitoring geothermal exploratory wells on private and BLM-managed lands in Harney and Lake counties near Glass Buttes.

The area is south of Highway 20; 70 miles southeast of Bend and 50 miles northwest of Burns. If approved, the project would evaluate the potential of geothermal resources in the area.

The applicant, Ormat Nevada, Inc., proposes to drill up to 16 exploratory wells, each within a well pad ranging in size from 2-4 acres.

Each well pad would accommodate a drill rig and other structures related to the operation. Access to each pad would be through existing or new aggregate access roads off of Highway 20. If approved, the applicant would begin work late this summer.

BLM is the federal regulatory agency responsible for managing the nation's geothermal resources, including permitting subsurface exploration.

Although three of the proposed wells are on private land, BLM officials say their development is dependent on federal approval for the other wells; as such they are considered a "connected non-federal action."

The BLM can disclose the effects of the proposed wells on private lands; however, BLM only has the authority to approve, modify, or deny the application for those actions occurring on public lands.

The public is invited to review alternatives and provide input. The Midnight Point and Mahogany Geothermal Exploration Projects, Glass Buttes, Oregon Environmental Assessment is available online under "Documents Currently under Review" at http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/prineville/plans/index.php or by requesting a paper copy from the Prineville District Office at (541) 416-6700 or the Burns District Office at (541) 573-4400.

The BLM will accept written comments May 19, 2013 via:
FAX: (541-416-6798)
MAIL:  3050 N.E. 3rd St., Prineville, OR  97754
EMAIL: blm_or_pr_glass_buttes_geo_thermal@blm.gov (Attn: Glass Buttes Geothermal Project)

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information, you should be aware that your entire comment-including your personal identifying information-may be made publicly available. While you can ask the BLM withhold your personal identifying information from public review, the agency says it cannot guarantee that they will be able to do so.

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