Summary: H.R.2171 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House with amendment(s) (10/14/2011)

Exploring for Geothermal Energy on Federal Lands Act - Exempts projects determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be geothermal exploration test projects from environmental impact statement requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).

Defines a "geothermal exploration test project" as the drilling of a well to test or explore for geothermal resources on lands leased by the Department of the Interior for the development and production of geothermal resources, that is completed in less than 45 days, that causes less than five acres of soil or vegetation disruption at the location of each well and no more than five additional acres of soil or vegetation disruption during access or egress to the test site, and that is developed: (1) no deeper than 2,500 feet, (2) less than eight inches in diameter, (3) in a manner that does not require off-road motorized access other than to and from the well site along an identified off-road route, (4) without construction of new roads other than upgrading of existing drainage crossings for safety purposes, and (5) with the use of rubber-tired digging or drilling equipment vehicles. Requires the restoration of the project site within three years to approximately the condition that existed at the time the project began, unless the site is subsequently used as part of energy development on the lease.

Requires: (1) a leaseholder intending to carry out a geothermal exploration test project to provide notice to the Secretary within 30 days prior to the start of drilling, (2) the Secretary to review a project within 10 days of receipt of such notice and to notify such leaseholder either that such NEPA requirements do not apply or that project deficiencies preclude the NEPA exemption, and (3) the Secretary to allow such leaseholder an opportunity to remedy any such deficiencies prior to the date such leaseholder intended to start drilling.