Text: H.R.3709 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (10/01/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 3709


To amend the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 to authorize noncompetitive leasing of certain areas adjoining other lands for which a qualified company or individual holds a pre-existing legal right to develop geothermal resources, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 1, 2009

Mr. Inslee (for himself, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Minnick, and Mr. Blumenauer) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources


A BILL

To amend the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 to authorize noncompetitive leasing of certain areas adjoining other lands for which a qualified company or individual holds a pre-existing legal right to develop geothermal resources, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Geothermal Production Expansion Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

The Congress finds the following:

(1) It is in the best interest of the United States to develop clean renewable geothermal energy.

(2) Development of such energy should be promoted on appropriate Federal lands.

(3) Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Bureau of Land Management is authorized to issue three different types of non-competitive leases for production of geothermal energy on Federal lands, including non-competitive geothermal leases to mining claim holders that have a valid operating plan, direct use leases, and leases on parcels that do not sell at a competitive auction.

(4) Federal geothermal energy leasing activity should be directed towards those seeking to develop the land as opposed to those seeking to speculate on geothermal resources and thereby artificially raising the cost of legitimate geothermal energy development.

(5) Developers of geothermal energy on Federal lands that have invested substantial capital and made high risk investments should be allowed to secure a discovery of geothermal energy resources.

(6) Successful geothermal development on Federal lands will provide increased revenue to the Federal Government, with the payment of production royalties over decades.

SEC. 3. Noncompetitive leasing of adjoining areas for development of geothermal resources.

The Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 is amended—

(1) in section 2 (30 U.S.C. 1001)—

(A) by striking the period at the end of each of paragraphs (e) and (f) and inserting a semicolon;

(B) by striking “, and” at the end of paragraph (g) and inserting a semicolon; and

(C) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

“(h) ‘industry standards’ means the standards by which a qualified geothermal professional assesses whether downhole or flowing temperature measurements with indications of permeability are sufficient to produce geothermal steam or geothermal resources as determined through flow or injection testing or measurement of lost circulation while drilling;

“(i) ‘qualified geothermal professional’ means an individual who is an engineer or geoscientist in good professional standing with at least five years of experience in geothermal exploration, development, project assessment, or any combination of the forgoing;

“(j) the term ‘qualified lessee’ means a person that may hold a geothermal lease under part 3202.10 of title 43, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on the date of enactment of the Geothermal Production Expansion Act; and

“(k) ‘valid discovery’ means a discovery of a geothermal resource by a new or existing slim hole or production well, that exhibits downhole or flowing temperature measurements with indications of permeability sufficient to meet industry standards.”; and

(2) in section 4(b) (30 U.S.C. 1003(b)), by adding at the end the following:

“(4) ADJOINING LANDS.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Areas that adjoin Federal lands for which a qualified lessee holds a legal right to develop geothermal resources may be available for noncompetitive lease under this section to the qualified lessee at the fair market value per acre, if—

“(i) the adjoining areas—

“(I) consist of an area of not more than a total of 640 acres;

“(II) each consist of not less than one acre;

“(III) are not already leased under this Act or nominated to be leased under subsection (a);

“(ii) the qualified lessee has not previously received a noncompetitive lease under this paragraph in connection with the valid discovery for which data has been submitted under subclause (I) of clause (iii); and

“(iii) sufficient geological and other technical data prepared by a qualified geothermal professional has been submitted by the qualified lessee to the relevant Federal land management agency that would engender a belief in individuals who are experienced in the subject matter that—

“(I) there is a valid discovery of geothermal steam or geothermal resources on the lands for which the qualified lesseeholds the legal right to develop geothermal resources; and

“(II) such thermal feature extends into the adjoining areas.

“(B) FAIR MARKET VALUE PER ACRE DEFINED.—As used in this paragraph, the term ‘fair market value per acre’ means a dollar amount per acre that—

“(i) except as provided in this subparagraph, shall be equal to the market value per acre, as determined by the Secretary;

“(ii) shall be determined by the Secretary with respect to a lease under this paragraph, by not later than the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date the Secretary receives an application for the lease;

“(iii) if the Secretary does not determine the fair market value per acre for a lease before the end of the period referred to in clause (ii), shall be $100 per acre (adjusted by the Secretary for inflation annually beginning with fiscal year 2011) until the Secretary establishes such fair market value; and

“(iv) for any lease for which an application is received before the end of the 15-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this clause, shall not exceed $200 per acre (adjusted by the Secretary for inflation annually beginning with fiscal year 2011).”.