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More time to comment on new geothermal plant proposal

January 11, 2013

Note: A meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 14 at the Mammoth Lakes public library at 2 p.m. to discuss the potential impacts to recreation of the pipeline associated with the proposed new geothermal plant project detailed below.

The Bishop Bureau of Land Management this week extended a public comment period to the end of January for the environmental review documents for a large, 33-megawatt geothermal plant that is planned for a site near the existing geothermal plant on Casa Diablo Road.

According to the BLM, the comment period for the big project has been extended due to the recent holidays, and “due to the complex nature of the draft document.”

The comments were originally due on Jan. 15. They are now due to the appropriate federal offices (see below) by close of business on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

The proposed plant, called the Casa Diablo IV plant, will be located to northeast from the current geothermal plant facilities.

The project will also include as many as 16 new wells, and the pipeline to bring the geothermal brine from those wells to the plant.

An electric transmission line to connect the power generated from this plant will also be constructed, according to the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) released late last fall by the lead agency for the project, the BLM.

The U.S. Forest Service and the state’s Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District are cooperating lead agencies for the project, as the project is on forest service land as well as BLM land, and because issues of air quality are involved.

If the project is not delayed significantly, according to Dan Lyster, Mono County’s economic development coordinator, construction could begin on the plant within “the next few years.”

But that might be wishful thinking on the part of locals hungry for work, or a county that will benefit from the taxes that such a large project could bring to the county. A union advocacy group and others are suing the county over a plan to construct a replacement of one of the existing geothermal plants close to where the new plant is expected to be constructed, a reality that could delay that project—and may bode ill for a new plant that will trigger new impacts of various kinds (See the Times Jan. 11 story, "Union advocacy group sues over geothermal plan project") on this website.

IF YOU WANT TO COMMENT ON THE NEW GEOTHERMAL PLANT

• Written comments should be submitted to: BLM, Bishop Field Office, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100, Bishop, CA 93514; Attn: Casa Diablo IV Geothermal Development Project Draft EIS/EIR, c/o Collin Reinhardt, Project Manager; by facsimile: (760) 872-5050; or by e-mail: cabipubcom@blm.gov ; Subject: Casa Diablo IV Geothermal Development Project Draft EIS/EIR. To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive them by Jan. 30, 2013. Comments received or postmarked after the due date will be considered to the extent practicable.

• Oral comments may be submitted to Margie DeRose at the Inyo National Forest, Supervisor’s Office by calling (760) 873-2424, or in person at, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200, Bishop, CA 93514.

• The Draft EIS/EIR may be reviewed at the BLM Bishop Field Office at 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100, Bishop, CA 93514, and the Mono County Library at 400 Sierra Park Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546. Additionally, CD-ROM versions of the Draft EIS/EIR may be obtained by contacting the Bishop Field Office. The document is also available on the Internet at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/energy/fasttrack/casadiablo/fedstatus.html

• Additional information regarding the project can be obtained from Reinhardt at (760) 872-5024, email creinhardt@blm.gov.

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