Text: H.R.4568 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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                                                 Union Calendar No. 375
115th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4568

                          [Report No. 115-502]

To amend the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 to promote timely exploration 
    for geothermal resources under geothermal leases, and for other 
                               purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                            December 6, 2017

Mr. Labrador (for himself and Mr. Gosar) introduced the following bill; 
        which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

                            January 9, 2018

  Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole 
       House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed
 [Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed 
                               in italic]
    [For text of introduced bill, see copy of bill as introduced on 
                           December 6, 2017]


_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To amend the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 to promote timely exploration 
    for geothermal resources under geothermal leases, 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 ``Enhancing Geothermal Production on 
Federal Lands Act''.

SEC. 2. GEOTHERMAL PRODUCTION ON FEDERAL LANDS.

    The Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 (30 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.) is 
amended by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 30. GEOTHERMAL EXPLORATION TEST PROJECTS.

    ``(a) Definition of Geothermal Exploration Test Project.--In this 
section, the term `geothermal exploration test project' means the 
drilling of a well to test or explore for geothermal resources on lands 
for which the Secretary has issued a lease under this Act, that--
            ``(1) is carried out by the holder of the lease;
            ``(2) causes--
                    ``(A) less than 5 acres of soil or vegetation 
                disruption at the location of each geothermal 
                exploration well; and
                    ``(B) not more than an additional 5 acres of soil 
                or vegetation disruption during access or egress to the 
                test site;
            ``(3) is developed--
                    ``(A) less than 9 inches in diameter;
                    ``(B) 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;
                    ``(C) without construction of new roads other than 
                upgrading of existing drainage crossings for safety 
                purposes;
                    ``(D) with the use of rubber-tired digging or 
                drilling equipment vehicles; and
                    ``(E) without the use of high-pressure well 
                stimulation;
            ``(4) is completed in less than 90 days, including the 
        removal of any surface infrastructure from the site; and
            ``(5) requires the restoration of the project site within 3 
        years of the date of first exploration drilling to 
        approximately the condition that existed at the time the 
        project began, unless the site is subsequently used as part of 
        energy development under the lease.
    ``(b) Categorical Exclusion.--
            ``(1) In general.--Unless extraordinary circumstances 
        exist, a project that the Secretary determines under subsection 
        (c) is a geothermal exploration test project shall be 
        categorically excluded from the requirements for an 
        environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement 
        under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 
        4321 et seq.) or section 1508.4 of title 40, Code of Federal 
        Regulations (or a successor regulation).
            ``(2) Extraordinary circumstances definition.--In this 
        subsection, the term `extraordinary circumstances' has the same 
        meaning given such term in the Department of the Interior 
        Departmental Manual, 516 DM 2.3A(3) and 516 DM 2, Appendix 2 
        (or successor provisions).
    ``(c) Process.--
            ``(1) Requirement to provide notice.--A leaseholder shall 
        provide notice to the Secretary of the leaseholder's intent to 
        carry out a geothermal exploration test project at least 30 
        days before the start of drilling under the project.
            ``(2) Review and determination.--Not later than 10 days 
        after receipt of a notice of intent under paragraph (1), the 
        Secretary shall, with respect to the project described in the 
        notice of intent--
                    ``(A) determine if the project qualifies for a 
                categorical exclusion under subsection (b); and
                    ``(B) notify the leaseholder of such determination.
            ``(3) Opportunity to remedy.--If the Secretary determines 
        under paragraph (2)(A) that the project does not qualify for a 
        categorical exclusion under subsection (b), the Secretary 
        shall--
                    ``(A) include in such notice clear and detailed 
                findings on any deficiencies in the project that 
                resulted in such determination; and
                    ``(B) allow the leaseholder to remedy any such 
                deficiencies and resubmit the notice of intent under 
                paragraph (1).''.

SEC. 3. GEOTHERMAL LEASING PRIORITY AREAS.

    The Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 (30 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.) is 
further amended by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 31. GEOTHERMAL LEASING PRIORITY AREAS.

    ``(a) Definition of Covered Land.--In this section, the term 
`covered land' means land that is--
            ``(1) Federal land; and
            ``(2) not excluded from the development of geothermal 
        energy under--
                    ``(A) a land use plan established under the Federal 
                Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 
                et seq.); or
                    ``(B) any other Federal law.
    ``(b) Designation of Geothermal Leasing Priority Areas.--The 
Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, shall 
designate portions of covered land as geothermal leasing priority areas 
as soon as practicable, but not later than 5 years, after the date of 
the enactment of this section.
    ``(c) Criteria for Selection.--In determining which covered lands 
to designate as geothermal leasing priority areas under subsection (b), 
the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, shall 
consider if--
            ``(1) the covered land is preferable for geothermal 
        leasing;
            ``(2) production of geothermal energy on such land is 
        economically viable, including if such land has access to 
        methods of energy transmission; and
            ``(3) the designation would be in compliance with section 
        202 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 
        U.S.C. 1712), including subsection (c)(9) of that section.
    ``(d) Review and Modification.--Not less frequently than once every 
10 years, the Secretary shall--
            ``(1) review covered land and, if appropriate, make 
        additional designations of geothermal leasing priority areas; 
        and
            ``(2) review each area designated as a geothermal leasing 
        priority area under this section, and, if appropriate, remove 
        such designation.
    ``(e) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.--
            ``(1) Initial designations.--No later than one year after 
        the initial designation of a geothermal leasing priority area, 
        the Secretary shall prepare a supplement to any final 
        programmatic environmental impact statement for geothermal 
        leasing that is the most recently finalized such statement with 
        respect to covered land designated as a geothermal leasing 
        priority area under subsection (b).
            ``(2) Subsequent designations.--Each designation of a 
        geothermal leasing priority area under subsection (d) shall be 
        included in a programmatic environmental impact statement for 
        geothermal leasing or in a supplement to such a statement.
            ``(3) Consultations.--In developing any programmatic 
        environmental impact statement for geothermal leasing or 
        supplement to such a statement under this section, the 
        Secretary shall consult, on an ongoing basis, with appropriate 
        State, Tribal, and local governments, transmission 
        infrastructure owners and operators, developers, and other 
        appropriate entities.
            ``(4) Procedure.--The Secretary may not delay issuing a 
        permit or holding a lease sale under this Act because the 
        supplement required under paragraph (1) has not been finalized 
        by the Secretary.
    ``(f) Compliance With NEPA.--If the Secretary determines that the 
designation of a geothermal leasing priority area has been sufficiently 
analyzed by a programmatic environmental impact statement, the 
Secretary shall not prepare any additional analysis under the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) with respect 
to geothermal lease sales for such geothermal leasing priority area.''.

SEC. 4. FACILITATION OF COPRODUCTION OF GEOTHERMAL ENERGY ON OIL AND 
              GAS LEASES.

    Section 4(b) of the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 (30 U.S.C. 
1003(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
            ``(4) Land subject to oil and gas lease.--Land under an oil 
        and gas lease issued pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act (30 
        U.S.C. 181 et seq.) or the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired 
        Lands (30 U.S.C. 351 et seq.) that is subject to an approved 
        application for permit to drill and from which oil and gas 
        production is occurring may be available for noncompetitive 
        leasing under subsection (c) by the holder of the oil and gas 
        lease--
                    ``(A) on a determination that geothermal energy 
                will be produced from a well producing or capable of 
                producing oil and gas; and
                    ``(B) in order to provide for the coproduction of 
                geothermal energy with oil and gas.''.

SEC. 5. NONCOMPETITIVE LEASING OF ADJOINING AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF 
              GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES.

    Section 4(b) of the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 (30 U.S.C. 
1003(b)) is further amended by adding at the end the following:
            ``(5) Adjoining land.--
                    ``(A) Definitions.--In this paragraph:
                            ``(i) Fair market value per acre.--The term 
                        `fair market value per acre' means a dollar 
                        amount per acre that--
                                    ``(I) except as provided in this 
                                clause, shall be equal to the market 
                                value per acre (taking into account the 
                                determination under subparagraph 
                                (B)(iii) regarding a valid discovery on 
                                the adjoining land) as determined by 
                                the Secretary under regulations issued 
                                under this paragraph;
                                    ``(II) shall be determined by the 
                                Secretary with respect to a lease under 
                                this paragraph, by not later than the 
                                end of the 180-day period beginning on 
                                the date the Secretary receives an 
                                application for the lease; and
                                    ``(III) shall be not less than the 
                                greater of--
                                            ``(aa) 4 times the median 
                                        amount paid per acre for all 
                                        land leased under this Act 
                                        during the preceding year; or
                                            ``(bb) $50.
                            ``(ii) Industry standards.--The term 
                        `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 energy 
                        from geothermal resources, as determined 
                        through flow or injection testing or 
                        measurement of lost circulation while drilling.
                            ``(iii) Qualified federal land.--The term 
                        `qualified Federal land' means land that is 
                        otherwise available for leasing under this Act.
                            ``(iv) Qualified geothermal professional.--
                        The term `qualified geothermal professional' 
                        means an individual who is an engineer or 
                        geoscientist in good professional standing with 
                        at least 5 years of experience in geothermal 
                        exploration, development, or project 
                        assessment.
                            ``(v) Qualified lessee.--The term 
                        `qualified lessee' means a person who may hold 
                        a geothermal lease under this Act (including 
                        applicable regulations).
                            ``(vi) Valid discovery.--The term `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 that are sufficient 
                        to meet industry standards.
                    ``(B) Authority.--An area of qualified Federal land 
                that adjoins other land for which a qualified lessee 
                holds a legal right to develop geothermal resources may 
                be available for a noncompetitive lease under this 
                section to the qualified lessee at the fair market 
                value per acre, if--
                            ``(i) the area of qualified Federal land--
                                    ``(I) consists of not less than 1 
                                acre and not more than 640 acres; and
                                    ``(II) is 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 clause (iii)(I); and
                            ``(iii) sufficient geological and other 
                        technical data prepared by a qualified 
                        geothermal professional has been submitted by 
                        the qualified lessee to the applicable Federal 
                        land management agency that would lead 
                        individuals who are experienced in the subject 
                        matter to believe that--
                                    ``(I) there is a valid discovery of 
                                geothermal resources on the land for 
                                which the qualified lessee holds the 
                                legal right to develop geothermal 
                                resources; and
                                    ``(II) that geothermal feature 
                                extends into the adjoining areas.
                    ``(C) Determination of fair market value.--
                            ``(i) In general.--The Secretary shall--
                                    ``(I) publish a notice of any 
                                request to lease land under this 
                                paragraph;
                                    ``(II) determine fair market value 
                                for purposes of this paragraph in 
                                accordance with procedures for making 
                                those determinations that are 
                                established by regulations issued by 
                                the Secretary;
                                    ``(III) provide to a qualified 
                                lessee and publish, with an opportunity 
                                for public comment for a period of 30 
                                days, any proposed determination under 
                                this subparagraph of the fair market 
                                value of an area that the qualified 
                                lessee seeks to lease under this 
                                paragraph; and
                                    ``(IV) provide to the qualified 
                                lessee and any adversely affected party 
                                the opportunity to appeal the final 
                                determination of fair market value in 
                                an administrative proceeding before the 
                                applicable Federal land management 
                                agency, in accordance with applicable 
                                law (including regulations).
                            ``(ii) Limitation on nomination.--After 
                        publication of a notice of request to lease 
                        land under this paragraph, the Secretary may 
                        not accept under subsection (a) any nomination 
                        of the land for leasing unless the request has 
                        been denied or withdrawn.
                            ``(iii) Annual rental.--For purposes of 
                        section 5(a)(3), a lease awarded under this 
                        paragraph shall be considered a lease awarded 
                        in a competitive lease sale.
                    ``(D) Regulations.--Not later than 270 days after 
                the date of enactment of this paragraph, the Secretary 
                shall issue regulations to carry out this paragraph.''.
                                                 Union Calendar No. 375

115th CONGRESS

  2d Session

                               H. R. 4568

                          [Report No. 115-502]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL

To amend the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 to promote timely exploration 
    for geothermal resources under geothermal leases, and for other 
                               purposes.

_______________________________________________________________________

                            January 9, 2018

  Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole 
       House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed

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