Carson City District-Stillwater Field Office

Salt Wells Geothermal Energy Projects Environmental Impact Statement

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Carson City District-Stillwater Field Office has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for two Salt Wells Energy geothermal energy projects and a proposed right-of way for a transmission line.  Ormat Technologies, Inc. and Vulcan Power Company are the proponents of the geothermal plants and Sierra Pacific Power Company is the application for the ROW.  

BLM received the three proposals as separate projects, and determined that because of the same timing, geography and similarity of the types of actions, the three proposals will be analyzed in one EIS. A separate record of decision will be issued at the end of the process for each proposal.

Vulcan proposes the development of up to four geothermal power plants and facilities; Ormat proposes the development of one geothermal power plant and facility; and Sierra proposes above-ground electrical transmission lines, electrical substations, and switching facilities. The proposed facilities would be sited on private property and public land managed by the BLM and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzed the potential impacts associated with three separate geothermal energy and transmission projects proposed by Sierra Pacific Power Company, Ormat Technologies, Inc., and Vulcan Power Company in the Salt Wells area of Nevada. Together the three projects are referred to as the Salt Wells Energy Projects (Proposed Actions). The Projects Area encompassed by the three proposals covers approximately 24,152 acres in the Salt Wells area of Nevada, including an area just southwest of Fallon to approximately 24 miles southeast of Fallon.

Combined, the three proposals could result in up to five 30- to 60-megawatt geothermal power plants with up to 71 associated wells (39 for the proposed actions and the remainder previously authorized), pipelines and associated facilities, and a 22-mile, up to 125-foot-wide right-of-way for a new transmission line, with substations and switching stations. Six alternatives to the Proposed Actions were analyzed in the EIS. In addition, a No Action Alternative for each of the Proposed Actions was analyzed.

For more information, please contact Colleen Sievers, BLM Energy Projects Coordinator, at 775-885-6000.

Alternatives Development

As required when preparing an EIS, the BLM identified alternatives to proposed projects.  Alternatives analyzed in the FEIS and potential environmental impacts were compared against those potential impacts of the Proposed Action.

Cooperating Agencies

The following agencies had cooperating agency status for the project:

  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Churchill County
  • City of Fallon
  • NAS Fallon
  • Nevada Division of Minerals
  • Nevada Department of Wildlife

Revised EIS Schedule

Public Scoping November 2009
Alternatives Development Summer 2010
Draft EIS (DEIS)Issued January 28, 2011
Final EIS (FEIS)Issued July 22, 2011 for a 30-day availability period which ended on August 22, 2011.

Records of Decision (ROD)

September 30, 2011

Document Links

Final Environmental Impact Statement Documents
Note: some of these documents are very large (up to 35 mb) and will take a while to download - be patient!

Dear Reader Letter (FEIS)

FEIS Cover/Abstract

Executive Summary

Chapter 1 (Introduction)

Chapter 2 (Description of the Proposed Actions & Alternatives)

Chapter 3 (Affected Environment)

Chapter 4 (Environmental Consequences)

Chapter 5 (Cumulative Impacts)

Chapter 6 (References)

Chapter 7 (Consultation, Coordination & Preparation)

Chapter 8 (Glossary)

Appendix A (Typical Geothermal Resources Development and Transmission Tools)

Appendix B (Lease Stipulations & Conditions for Approval)

Appendix C (Interagency Agreement Between BOR & BLM)

Appendix D (Programmatic Agreement for the Salt Wells Energy Projects)

Appendix E (Environmental Protection Measures & Best Management Practices)

Appendix F (Land Use Authorizations in the Salt Wells Energy Projects Area)

Appendix G (Soils)

Appendix H (Supplemental Biological Resources)

Appendix J (Visual Simulations)

Appendix K (Public Comments & Responses)

Records of Decision

NV Energy (also known as Sierra Pacific Power Company)

Attachment A - Figures Errata 
Attachment B - Avian Protection Plan  
Attachment C - Programmatic Agreement
Attachment D - 1959 Agreement

Ormat Technologies

Attachment A - Figures Errata 
Attachment B - Avian Protection Plan  
Attachment C - Programmatic Agreement
Attachment D - 1959 Agreement

Gradient Resources (formerly known as Vulcan Power Company)  

Attachment A - Figures Errata 
Attachment B - Avian Protection Plan  
Attachment C - Programmatic Agreement

News Releases/Federal Register Notices

BLM Releases Final EIS for the Salt Wells Energy Projects near Fallon (07/25/2011)

Federal Register Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Salt Wells Projects, Churchill County, Nevada (7/22/2011)


For further information, please call at 775-885-6000.