Coyote Canyon Geothermal Utilization Environmental Assessment (DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-0001-EA)
Carson City, Nev.--The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Carson City District-Stillwater Field Office has approved the Coyote Canyon Geothermal Utilization Project proposed by TGP Dixie Development Company, LLC, by issuing a Decision Record on the environmental assessment (EA) for the project. The Coyote Canyon project in the western portion of Dixie Valley, northeast of Fallon in Churchill County.
TGP proposes to construct a 70 megawatt geothermal power plant and associated production/injections wells, pipelines, and support facilities. Power generated by the plant will be delivered to an existing transmission line via a short tie-in line from the power plant.
The Coyote Canyon geothermal project is one of the BLM’s recently announced priority renewable energy projects. The priority renewable energy projects are "smart from the start" and will help diversify this country’s energy portfolio in an environmentally responsible manner according to the BLM Director Bob Abbey.
The EA evaluated the impacts on the natural and human environment that could result from implementation of this geothermal development project on federal land. The impact analysis in the EA characterized the potential for impacts for each resource in the project area. The determination of environmental risk is resource specific and is based on a number of factors, including the presence and extent of resources within the proposed lease section, the extent of resources in the surrounding area, and the quality of existing data.
The Proposed Action and Conditions of Approval meets the criteria described in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to prevent undue and unnecessary degradation of public land. The Proposed Action is in conformance with the Carson City Field Office Consolidated Resource Management Plan which states that the BLM desired outcome is to encourage development of energy and mineral resources in a timely manner to meet national, regional and local needs consistent with the objectives for other public land uses. The action must comply with the conditions of permit for the Nevada Division of Minerals Geothermal Resource Development Permit Application and with applicable rules and regulation of other local, state, and federal agencies.
The Decision Record, Finding of No Significant Impact, and EA are posted in the column to the right.
For more information call: 775-885-6000.
Background: Geothermal resources are underground reservoirs of hot water or steam created by heat from the earth. Geothermal steam and hot water can reach the surface of the earth in the form of hot springs, geysers, mud post, or steam vents. These resources also can be accessed by wells, and the heat energy can be used for generating electricity or for other direct uses, such as heating greenhouses and aquaculture operations or for dehydrating vegetables.
It is the policy of the Department of the Interior, consistent with Section 2 of the Mining and Mineral Policy Act of 1970 and Sections 102(a)(7), (8), and (12) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, to encourage the development of mineral resources, including geothermal resources, on federal lands. The Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 (43 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part 3200, et seq., as amended) provides regulatory guidance for geothermal leasing by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
There are four stages of geothermal resource development within a lease: (1) exploration, (2) development, (3) production, and (4) closeout. Each of the four stages under the lease requires separate BLM authorization and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 when ground-disturbing activities are proposed. As described in Chapter 2, this environmental assessment (EA) addresses the proposed development of geothermal resources in the Dixie Valley area. Figure 1-1 (all figures are provided at the end of their respective sections) provides the locations of the Proposed Action at Coyote Canyon.
The Coyote Canyon and Dixie Meadows Geothermal Exploration Environmental Assessment (BLM, 2010), Finding of No Significant Impact and Decision Record was signed June 7, 2010. This document evaluated potential impacts associated with geothermal exploration. Geothermal exploration activities authorized by BLM are current and ongoing. Currently at Coyote Canyon, four of the leases shown below are committed to the existing Dixie Valley Geothermal Unit, serial number NVN-43282X: NVN-61705, NVN-61707, NVN-17282, and NVN-17283A (Figure 1-2).
Leases held and the date they were obtained by TGP Dixie Development Company, LLC, (TGP) and its subsidiaries for the Proposed Action at Coyote Canyon are shown in Table 1-1 and Figure 1-3 in the EA.
TGP submitted to the BLM, Stillwater Field Office, a Utilization Plan for the development and production of the Coyote Canyon (CC) and Dixie Meadows project areas. The projects were split out for separate analysis. This EA analyzes the potential impacts for the Proposed Action at CC that are associated with the proposed construction and operation of a geothermal power plant; drilling, testing, and operation of geothermal production and injection wells; conversion of exploration wells to production or injection wells; construction and operation of pipelines to carry geothermal fluid between well fields and the power plant; and a 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission tie line (referred to as a gen-tie) and associated structures interconnecting the geothermal power plant to the existing 230-kV transmission line in Dixie Valley, Churchill County, Nevada.
The purpose of the Proposed Action is to develop and utilize geothermal resources at CC. The need for the action is established by BLM’s responsibility under the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970; the regulations under 43 CFR 3270; the Minerals Leasing Act of 1920, as amended; and Secretarial Order No. 3285 A1 of February 22, 2010.