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Gunnison Field Office Geothermal Lease Nomination

Competitive Geothermal Lease Sale Held February 9, 2012
See the BLM Colorado Oil and Gas Leasing web page for more information.  

August 11, 2011 Update
The BLM received a protest of the Proposed Decision to Amend Geothermal Lease Stipulations in the Gunnison Resource Area Approved Resource Management Plan in April. That protest was denied by the BLM Director on August 10, 2011. Click here to read the Protest Resolution Report for more details.

A Final Decison Record to Amend Geothermal Lease Stipulations in the Gunnison Resource Area Approved Resource Management Plan (RMP) was then signed by the BLM Colorado State Director on August 11, 2011. The Gunnison RMP has now been amended to include new geothermal lease stipulations that would be applied to any geothermal lease in the analysis area. No geothermal lease has been offered at this time.

BLM Parcels
On March 24, 2011, the BLM issued a two-part Decision Record for a geothermal lease nomination in Gunnison County, Colorado. The Proposed Decision was to offer leases for geothermal resources on the nominated federal mineral estate and to attach lease stipulations necessary to protect resource values. The first part of the decision was a land use plan amendment decision. The second part of the decision was a determination that the nominated lands are suitable for geothermal leasing with appropriate lease stipulations.

No development of geothermal resources is proposed at this time. Issuing a geothermal lease does not authorize any ground-disturbing activities to explore for or develop geothermal resources without further application, environmental review, and approval by the BLM.

A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was also signed. The Decision Record and FONSI were based on the Geothermal Lease Nomination, Gunnison County, Colorado Environmental Assessment (EA). Click the links below to read these documents:
The BLM received a nomination for a competitive geothermal lease on two blocks of land in January, 2009. The nominated lands are all located in southeastern Gunnison County, north of Highway 50, in the general vicinity of Tomichi Dome and the Waunita Hot Springs. See map .
One block (case number COC-73585) includes approximately 4,586 acres of public lands and 400 acres of private land with Federal minerals estate. The BLM conducted an environmental analysis to determine if the area is appropriate for geothermal leasing, and if so, what stipulations (conditions) will be attached to any geothermal lease in order to protect public land resources.
The second block (COC-73584) includes approximately 3,765 acres of U.S. Forest Service lands. Leasing of that block was analyzed by the Forest Service in a separate environmental analysis. The Forest Service issued a Decision Notice and FONSI on February 4, 2011. See the Forest Service's web page for more information about the Forest Service’s analysis and decision.
The BLM’s initial 30-day scoping period was opened on May 25, 2010 with the publication of a Federal Register Notice . The purpose of the public comment period, which extended through June 24, 2010 was to gather information and identify issues for the environmental analysis.
The BLM and Forest Service hosted joint public meetings on March 11, 2010 and September 2, 2010. Representatives from the State of Colorado, Governor’s Energy Office and Colorado Geological Survey were in attendance to help answer questions, particularly related to State water rights and geothermal rights.

The BLM's draft Environmental Analysis of Geothermal Lease Nomination, Gunnison County, Colorado was previously available for a 30-day public review and comment period from November 4 to December 4, 2010. A total of 19 individuals, organizations, and federal, state, and local governments/agencies submitted written comments. All of the comments were reviewed by BLM. Appendix E of the March, 2011 Environmental Assessment includes a summary listing of the substantive comments and BLM's response to them. 
Forest Service Parcels
On March 25, 2011 BLM issued a Decision Record regarding the adjacent Forest Service parcels that had been nominated for geothermal leasing. The decision was to adopt the professional recommendation of Charles S. Richmond, Forest Supervisor of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests that were documented in the Forest Service's Decision Notice. The adoption of the Forest Service's decision allows for the BLM Colorado State Office to lease the National Forest lands included in Geothermal Lease Nomination, COC-73584, with applicable stipulations.  

Additional Information

Geothermal Leasing Process Summary   

Geothermal - Leasing to Reclamation


Geothermal Water Rights FAQ from Colorado Division of Water Resources  


Contact Marnie Medina for more information at (970) 642-4954 or by e-mail.