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New Energy Frontier report



The joint USDA and DOI report, New Energy Frontier – Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands, responds to congressional interest regarding the development of renewable and conventional energy ...

The joint USDA and DOI report, New Energy Frontier – Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands, responds to congressional interest regarding the development of renewable and conventional energy from federal lands and Outer Continental Shelf areas. The report documents the progress made to date and the Administration's plan of action for continued initiatives to ensure accountability, efficiency and responsibility in the management of Federal energy resources.



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New Energy Frontier report New Energy Frontier report Document Transcript

  • New Energy Frontier Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands A Joint Report to Congress on Siting Energy Development Projects on Federal Lands U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Department of Agriculture May 2011
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Table of Contents1.0 Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3.1.4 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wind Energy Guidelines. . . . . . 152.0 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3.2 Onshore Renewable Energy: Solar Energy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 2.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 3.2.1 Solar Energy Programmatic 2.2 Congressional Direction . . . . . . . . . . .7 EIS for BLM-Managed Lands . . . 17 2.3 Responsible Agencies . . . . . . . . . . . .8 3.2.2 Solar Energy Study Areas . . . . . 18 2.3.1 Bureau of Land Management . . . .8 3.2.3 Water Use for Solar Facilities . . . 20 2.3.2 Bureau of Reclamation . . . . . . .8 3.3 Onshore Renewable Energy: 2.3.3 Bureau of Indian Affairs . . . . . . .8 Geothermal Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 2.3.4 Bureau of Ocean Energy 3.3.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Management, Regulation and 3.3.2 Geothermal Energy Enforcement (formerly the MMS) . .9 Programmatic EIS . . . . . . . . . 22 2.3.5 Office of Surface Mining 3.3.3 Siting Geothermal Reclamation and Enforcement . . .9 Energy Facilities. . . . . . . . . . 23 2.3.6 National Park Service . . . . . . . .9 3.3.4 BLM and Forest Service 2.3.7 U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service . . 10 Coordination. . . . . . . . . . . . 23 2.3.8 U.S. Geological Survey . . . . . . 10 3.3.5 Geothermal Energy on 2.3.9 Office of Insular Affairs . . . . . . 10 Federal Lands . . . . . . . . . . . 25 2.3.10 USDA Forest Service . . . . . . . 11 3.4 Onshore Renewable Energy: 2.3.11 U.S. Department of Energy . . . . 11 Biomass Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 2.3.12 National Oceanic and 3.4.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Atmospheric Administration . . . . 12 3.4.2 Biomass in Managing Healthy Forest and Range Systems . . . . 273.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources 3.5 Hydropower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 on Federal Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 3.5.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 3.5.2 Expanding Federal Hydropower 3.1. Onshore Renewable Energy: Production . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Wind Energy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 3.5.3 Memorandum of 3.1.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Understanding. . . . . . . . . . . 31 3.1.2 Wind Energy on 3.5.4 Pilot Project Program . . . . . . . 31 BLM-Managed Lands . . . . . . . 15 3.5.5 Hydropower Modernization 3.1.3 Wind Energy on National Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Forest System Lands . . . . . . . 15 i
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 3.5.6 Reclamation’s Lease of 4.2.1 Siting Projects to Protect Power Privilege . . . . . . . . . . 32 Resources and Values . . . . . . 45 3.5.7 Hydropower Facilities on 4.2.2 Land Use Planning . . . . . . . . 46 Federal Lands . . . . . . . . . . . 32 4.2.3 Public Involvement and 3.5.8 Hydropower and the National Conflict Resolution . . . . . . . . 48 Park Service. . . . . . . . . . . . 34 4.2.4 Environmental Review. . . . . . . 48 3.5.9 Hydropower and the Fish and 4.2.5 Permit Applications and Review. . 49 Wildlife Service . . . . . . . . . . 34 4.2.6 Water Resources . . . . . . . . . 50 3.6 Offshore Renewable Energy . . . . . . . 35 4.2.7 Protecting Scenic Landscapes . . 51 3.6.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 4.2.8 Wildlife and Migratory Birds . . . . 53 3.6.2 Public Involvement . . . . . . . . 38 4.2.9 Endangered Species Act 3.6.3 Policy and Regulatory Compliance . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 4.2.10 Cultural Resources . . . . . . . . 56 3.6.4 Programmatic Environmental 4.2.11 Avoidance and Exclusion Areas: Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 National Parks and 3.6.5 Impact Mitigation . . . . . . . . . 38 Other Protected Lands . . . . . . 56 3.6.6 Interagency Coordination . . . . . 39 4.2.12 Consultation Among Agencies. . . 57 3.6.7 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 4.2.13 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Marine Fisheries and National Park Service Service Consultation . . . . . . . 39 Project Participation . . . . . . . 57 3.6.8 Protecting Coastal Units of the 4.2.14 Inspection, Enforcement, NOAA and the National Park Monitoring, and Compliance. . . . 58 and National Wildlife 4.2.15 Final Closure and Reclamation . . 58 Refuge Systems. . . . . . . . . . 39 4.2.16 Coordinating with Tribal 3.6.9 Decommissioning . . . . . . . . . 39 Governments . . . . . . . . . . . 58 3.6.10 Bonding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 4.3 Strategic Planning and Interdepartmental Coordination for Renewable Energy4.0 Onshore Energy in Balance with Other Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Resources and Values . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 4.3.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 4.3.2 The Opportunity . . . . . . . . . . 60 4.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 4.3.3 The Plan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 4.1.1 Renewable Energy: 4.4 Transmission Requirements and Siting Organizational Improvements . . . 42 for Renewable Energy. . . . . . . . . . . 61 4.1.2 Priority Renewable 4.4.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Energy Projects . . . . . . . . . . 43 4.4.2 Siting Transmission on 4.2 Onshore Energy Projects . . . . . . . . . 45 U. S. Forest Service Lands . . . . 63ii
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 4.5. Methodology Used to Limit Short-Term 5.3.3 Siting and Operational and Long-Term Impacts . . . . . . . . . . 64 Considerations . . . . . . . . . . 92 4.5.1 Landscape Assessment 5.3.4 Permitting Procedures and Initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . 93 4.5.2 Best Management Practices . . . 65 5.3.5 Monitoring and Compliance 4.5.3 Addressing the Legacy of Historic Over the Life of the Project . . . . 95 Energy Development . . . . . . . 66 5.3.6 Restoration and Reclamation . . . 95 4.5.4 Onsite and Offsite Mitigation . . . 68 5.3.7 Bonding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 4.5.5 Facilitating FWS Endangered Species Permitting on 6.0 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Private Lands . . . . . . . . . . . 68 4.6 Bonding and Reclamation . . . . . . . . . 70 7.0 Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 4.6.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 4.6.2 Reclamation . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 7.1 Appendix 1 4.6.3 Reclamation Standards . . . . . . 70 Secretarial Order on Developing Renewable Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . 995.0 Conventional Energy Development . . . . . . 71 7.2 Appendix 2 Inquiries and Proposals for Wind Energy 5.1 Oil and Gas in the Federal Estate . . . . . 71 on National Forest System Lands . . . . 103 5.1.1 Onshore Overview. . . . . . . . . 74 7.3 Appendix 3 5.1.2 Leasing Reforms . . . . . . . . . 77 Environmental Laws and Regulations . . 105 5.1.3 Pilot Project to Improve 7.4 Appendix 4 Federal Permit Coordination . . . 78 Memorandum of Understanding 5.1.4 Oil and Gas Best for Hydropower . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Management Practices . . . . . . 79 7.5 Appendix 5 5.1.5 Bonding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Applicable Laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 5.2 Coal Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 7.6 Appendix 6 5.2.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Principles of the BLM’s Visual 5.2.2 Lands Suitable for Coal Leasing . 81 Resource Management . . . . . . . . . 123 5.2.3 Competitive Leasing Process . . . 81 5.2.4 Lease Terms and Conditions . . . 84 8.0 Acronyms Used in This Report . . . . . . . 129 5.2.5 Bonding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 5.2.6 Termination of a Lease . . . . . . 84 5.3 Offshore Oil and Gas Development . . . . 85 5.3.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 5.3.2 Interagency Coordination . . . . . 92 iii
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 1.0 Executive SummaryThis report responds to the direction of Congress sumption have declined from 57 percent in 2008as provided in the Statement of Managers (Rept. to less than 50 percent in 2010.111-316) accompanying the Department of theInterior, Environment, and Related Agencies Ap- As part of its comprehensive energy strategy, thepropriations Act, 2010, and separate recommen- Obama Administration has offered, and continuesdations of individual members regarding issues to offer, millions of acres of public land for oilassociated with the development of both renew- and gas exploration and production. In 2010, theable and conventional energy from Federal lands Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held 33 oilboth onshore and on the Federal Outer Continen- and gas lease sales covering 3.2 million acres. Intal Shelf (OCS). 2011, the BLM is scheduled to hold an additional 33 lease sales. Currently, 38.2 million acres ofFederal lands and offshore areas managed by the public lands are under lease for oil and gas devel-U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the opment, of which only 16.6 million acres are ac-U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest tive and 21.6 million acres are inactive. In 2010,Service (USFS) are key components of a com- the BLM processed more than 5,200 applicationsprehensive energy strategy that increases the safe for permits to drill (APDs) on Federal and Indianand responsible production of natural gas and oil lands. In 2011, the BLM expects to process morein the United States, makes renewable energy a than 7,200 APDs.priority, begins to move the Nation toward a cleanenergy economy, creates jobs, and reduces our Offshore, in 2010, the Bureau of Ocean Energydependence on foreign oil. Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BO- EMRE) offered 36.9 million acres in the Gulf ofThe United States’ conventional energy supplies Mexico for oil and gas exploration and produc-have been, and continue to be, a critical compo- tion; 37.9 million acres of the OCS are under ac-nent of our Nation’s energy portfolio. Even as the tive lease, of which 6.5 million acres are produc-Nation responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil ing.spill in the Gulf of Mexico, total U.S. crude oilproduction was higher in 2010 than in any year While offering public lands and Federal waterssince 2003. U.S. natural gas production is also in- for oil and gas production, the Obama Admin-creasing, reaching 26.9 trillion cubic feet in 2010, istration has also undertaken needed reforms toa 5 percent increase from 2008 and the highest make oil and gas development safer and more en-level in more than 30 years. Offshore, oil produc- vironmentally responsible. The Deepwater Hori-tion from the OCS has increased by more than a zon oil spill underscored the need for reforms tothird, from 446 million barrels in 2008 to an es- the safety and oversight of exploration, develop-timate of about 600 million barrels in 2010. On- ment, and production.shore, oil production from public lands increased5 percent over the last year, from 109 million bar- Since the Deepwater Horizon spill, the DOI hasrels in 2009 to 114 million barrels in 2010. raised the bar for safety and environmental re- sponsibility, setting standards and certificationOverall, imports have fallen by 9 percent since protocols for drilling well design, testing, and2008, and net imports as a share of total con- control equipment and establishing rigorous per- 1
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsformance standards to reduce workplace error production, development, and delivery of renew-and require operators to maintain comprehensive able energy one of the top priorities for the DOIsafety and environmental management programs. as part of a balanced energy development strat-Operators must now submit well-specific blowout egy. Also in his first few months, the Secretaryscenarios and revised worst-case discharge cal- reached an agreement with the Federal Energyculations. Deepwater operators must also show Regulatory Commission to clarify jurisdictionalthat they have the capability to contain a subsea responsibilities regarding offshore renewabledischarge like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. energy development, approved the issuance of aThese standards set a clear, achievable path for new framework for offshore renewable develop-responsible offshore exploration, development, ment, and instructed the BLM to proceed vigor-and production. ously with the process of reviewing onshore solar, wind, and geothermal energy development appli-The Administration’s energy strategy encourages cations that previously had been languishing.increased conventional energy production, butit has also opened a new frontier for renewable The Secretary’s renewable energy strategy in-energy production on public lands and waters. cludes extensive measures, to include, but notWorking with many partners and stakeholders limited to:among Federal, state, tribal, and local interests,the DOI and USDA/USFS are pursuing a new co- • Appropriate siting of energy projects to op-ordinated strategy for balanced and responsible timize opportunities while protecting scenicdevelopment of conventional and renewable en- resources, wildlife, and other values andergy on Federal lands. Together, our Departments maximizing the use of areas that are alreadymanage about 700 million acres of land onshore, developed;and the DOI manages energy development on 1.7billion acres of the OCS. This new frontier holds • Proactive interagency and interdepartmentalvast potential for renewable energy production collaboration and consultation in the ongoingfrom wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, and development of a comprehensive strategy forbiomass that – together with conventional energy meeting our renewable energy developmentresources – can contribute to the Nation’s energy goals;security and to the clean energy economy of thefuture. • Assistance and support for the Federal En- ergy Regulatory Commission, Department ofHowever, the development of these energy re- Energy, and state governments in conduct-sources must be carried out in balance with many ing strategic planning necessary in the sitingother uses and values that serve the public interest and development of transmission facilities toand support the quality of life American citizens deliver new energy from the public lands toenjoy. These values include cultural, ecological, the places where people live and work;economic, historical, recreational, and scenic re-sources. • Development and implementation of policy, methodology, research, and managementIn March of 2009, soon after his appointment tools to prevent or minimize short- and long-to the Department of the Interior, Secretary Ken term impacts of energy development; andSalazar issued Secretarial Order 3285 making the2 1.0 Executive Summary
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands• Measures to ensure full compliance with and environmentally responsible renewable ener- terms and conditions of development and gy development activities, such as the siting and successful reclamation of energy project sites construction of offshore wind farms on the OCS, after the useful life of the projects. as well as other forms of renewable energy such as wave, current, and solar energy.Similarly, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack hasinitiated a Departmentwide Renewable Energy The BLM, BOEMRE, and USFS are entrustedStrategy which has significant implications both with an enormously complex and critical respon-on and off public lands. The portion that deals sibility: to protect our natural resources whilewith public lands specifically embraces lands managing the energy resources of Federal landsmanaged by the USFS and includes both the na- and waters to promote our Nation’s energy secu-tional forests and grasslands. The USDA Renew- rity; reduce our dependence on foreign sources ofable Energy Strategy dovetails with Secretary energy; provide jobs and economic opportunity toVilsack’s “All Lands” approach to caring for the advance America’s economic recovery; and con-Nation’s forests regardless of ownership. tribute to a cleaner, healthier environment.Given the significance of woody biomass in the To develop and deliver conventional and renew-Nation’s current renewable energy portfolio and able energy in a manner that balances energy pro-its expected role in the future, it is noteworthy duction with protecting public land resources andthat Secretary Vilsack has identified this as a spe- values, our Departments are taking the followingcial focus area within the Department’s overall actions:strategies for renewable energy and forests. TheUSFS plays a central role in using woody bio- • Siting projects to maximize protection ofmass to achieve both land stewardship objectives resources and values;and providing clean renewable energy. This roleranges from management of the source material • Playing a leadership role in the creation ofon Federal lands to assisting the energy utiliza- new woody biomass opportunities;tion of wood in specific locations and includesconducting fundamental research on the use of • Managing public resources with sensitiv-wood as an energy source. Other USDA agencies ity toward special landscapes, coastal areas,that play key roles in this effort include Rural De- and ridgelines through the land use planningvelopment and the Farm Service Agency. process;The DOI is leading efforts to implement the nec- • Involving interested stakeholders—local,essary frameworks and agreements for the devel- state, and tribal governments and industry,opment of comprehensive conventional and re- the general public, user groups, and advo-newable energy programs on the OCS. On April cacy groups;22, 2009, the President announced that the DOIcompleted the Final Renewable Energy Frame- • Completing thorough, science-based envi-work to govern management of the Department’s ronmental reviews;Offshore Renewable Energy Program. This rule-making established a program to grant leases, • Minimizing visual impacts through Visualeasements, and rights-of-way for orderly, safe, Resource Management;1.0 Executive Summary 3
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands• Addressing wildlife and habitat concerns • Requiring bonds that cover reclamation costs by reducing impacts through proper project and help guarantee compliance with the siting and mitigating impacts that cannot be terms and conditions of the rights-of-way or avoided; lease and setting reclamation standards that define the reclamation, revegetation, restora-• Avoiding national parks, USFS roadless tion, and soil stabilization requirements of areas, and other important protected land- the project area. scapes; The renewable energy strategies of both the DOI• Investigating and applying new management and USDA are guided by the fundamental belief strategies, such as adaptive management, that renewable energy for America will allow us where appropriate; to diversify energy sources and ultimately reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. The development of• Coordinating and consulting effectively new renewable energy sources need not come at across the Government; the expense of our Nation’s natural and cultural heritage. If promoted and sited in a thoughtful• Applying best management practices to help way, new energy development can, instead, con- ensure that energy development is conducted tribute to conservation and protection of the en- in an environmentally responsible manner, vironment. such as reducing the area of disturbance, ad- justing the location of facilities, or choosing We are determined to succeed in this dual mis- a paint color to help a facility blend into the sion. As we proceed, we will continue to rely landscape better; and upon and value the guidance of Congress.4 1.0 Executive Summary
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 2.0 Introduction “We have a choice. We can remain the world’s leading importer of oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of clean energy. We can hand over the jobs of the future to our competitors, or we can confront what they have already recognized as the great opportunity of our time: the nation that leads the world in creating new sources of clean energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. That’s the nation I want America to be.” President Obama, March 27, 20092.1 Overview in the way we manage these resources. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the most obviousSince the 1973 oil embargo almost 40 years ago, example of an unacceptable conventional energythe United States has struggled to reduce ener- development impact, but the DOI is also facedgy demand, energy imports, and the impacts of with unexpected wildlife and air quality issues inenergy use and development. The Nation needs many areas of the western United States wherea renewed commitment to these objectives. conventional energy development has occurred.Thus, President Obama and his Cabinet, working The DOI continues to provide ample opportuni-closely with the Congress, have set ambitious ties for conventional energy development fromgoals for developing new, domestic clean energy the Federal estate and is enhancing safety andsources while reducing oil demand and oil im- environmental protections to make sure develop-ports. The DOI and USDA can play a central role ment is carried out responsibly. Industry remainsin providing sites for renewable energy genera- interested in these opportunities, continuing totion, continuing to improve the safety and envi- bid for onshore oil and gas leases and working onronmental sustainability of conventional energy new environmental protections for offshore de-development, and making sure there is adequate velopment—from safety and environmental man-access for needed electricity transmission infra- agement systems to subsea containment—thatstructure. will help create an international gold standard for new OCS oil and gas development.After more than 100 years of conventional energydevelopment on the public lands, the legacy of Most renewable energy resources, in contrast,oil and gas development on the public lands is are still in the early stages of development in thesignificant. This development has created pros- U.S. These resources are typically much cleanerperity and still supports jobs and energy security to produce and to use than conventional energyfor America, but it has also created significant resources. However, the potential environmen-environmental impacts across tens of millions tal impacts of renewable energy developmentof acres both offshore and onshore. Although must still be taken seriously, with efforts mademuch conventional energy development is man- to limit or prevent negative environmental im-aged responsibly and with minimal impact, there pacts through responsible development practices.remain significant opportunities for improvement While tens of millions of acres of public lands 5
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsand the OCS have been affected by oil and gas Meanwhile, traditional energy resources pro-development, the first solar energy projects on duced from Federal lands managed by thepublic lands and the first wind energy projects Departments presently account for approximate-on the Federal OCS are only now getting started. ly 30 percent of the Nation’s energy supply, andThe DOI and its bureaus that oversee this devel- will continue to play a major role in meetingopment (BLM and BOEMRE) are now embarked the Nation’s energy needs for the foreseeableon a new mission—the responsible development future.of renewable energy resources such as wind, so-lar, geothermal, and sustainable hydropower. As In addition to playing a preeminent role in man-the conventional energy industry deals with some aging the energy resources of the public lands andof the environmental impacts of its development offshore waters, the DOI is also a steward of muchhistory and works to achieve higher standards for of our Nation’s natural and cultural resource base.development, renewable energy developers are The Department recognizes that the success of itsworking to create a new energy industry under mission depends upon a wise, comprehensive,clean, safe standards from the outset. and strategic plan of action across Federal juris- dictions and among many nongovernmental enti-The President has asked Federal agencies to work ties and stakeholders whose contributions are vi-together toward doubling renewable energy gen- tal. Thus, the DOI works closely with the USDA,erating capacity by the end of 2011. This call to Department of Energy (DOE), Environmentalincrease production of energy from our Nation’s Protection Agency (EPA), and other Federal part-own renewable energy resources places the DOI ners, as well as states, tribes, industry, and otherand USDA in a unique position to contribute sig- users of public lands to develop our energy re-nificantly to one of the most critical national pri- sources responsibly.orities of modern times. In delivering new energyto America, the DOI and USDA are guided by the A balanced, responsible approach to energy pro-fundamental belief that renewable energy devel- duction from Federal lands and the OCS is in-opment, where promoted and sited in a thought- tegral to the Nation’s current energy productionful way, can fully contribute to conservation and and its energy future. Today, about 38.2 mil-protection of the environment. lion acres of onshore Federal lands are under oil and gas lease, with about 12.1 million acres inClean, renewable energy development can take production onshore—yet until 2010 when Sec-place on many areas of Federal lands. Traditional retary Salazar approved nine new solar projectsenergy resources like coal, natural gas, oil, and other on public lands, representing approximatelyfossil fuels produce carbon dioxide directly and can 3,700 megawatts (MW) of electric generating ca-emit other greenhouses gases, whereas biomass, pacity, there was not a single commercial solarwind, solar, hydropower, and other renewable ener- energy project on, or under development on, thegy systems can substantially reduce carbon dioxide public lands. The right-of-way grants for theseemissions on a lifecycle basis. Issued by Secretary solar projects encompass approximately 36,000Salazar in March 2009, and refined in February acres. Offshore, there is a similar historic imbal-2010, Secretarial Order 3285 makes the produc- ance between renewable and conventional energytion, development, and delivery of renewable en- development, with about 38 million acres underergy, onshore and offshore, top priorities for the oil and gas lease (about 6.5 million in produc-DOI (Appendix 1). tion) and no Federal offshore wind or marine6 2.0 Introduction
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landshydrokinetic energy production. The impactsof conventional energy production from Federal report should also provide a detailed strategiclands and the OCS have been significant. To date, plan on how the Department and the Forestthe impacts of renewable energy development on Service will coordinate the development of such projects, particularly in areas where there is mixedpublic lands are comparatively light. ownership or management by the Department of the Interior, Forest Service, DepartmentThis report documents the progress made to date of Defense, and non-Federal landowners.and our plan of action for continued progress to- Additionally, the report should identify specificallyward ensuring the highest level of accountability, what areas of the public lands and the Outerefficiency, and responsibility in the management Continental Shelf will be considered for projectsof our Federal energy resources. based on: (1) their potential for renewable energy generation; (2) what additional transmission2.2 Congressional Direction lines will be necessary to connect these new sources of power to the energy grid; (3) where these transmission lines will be placed; (4) theStatement of Managers (Rept. 111-316) Accom- methodology to be used to limit the size of solarpanying the Department of the Interior, Environ- troughs and photovoltaic facilities, and (5) thement, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, impact on water resources.2010 The report should also include an analysis of The conferees understand that renewable energy the useful life of renewable energy sites and will become a more significant source of power for provide an explanation of how the infrastructure the Nation and that the Department of the Interior will be removed from the public lands when it is and the Forest Service will play a prominent role no longer functional. The conferees believe that in its development. However, the conferees are some mechanism, such as a bond put forth by the concerned about the impacts these projects may permittees, should be utilized by the Department have on the landscape and water resources, and the Forest Service so that the government particularly those for wind and solar power. does not have to pay for the removal of these Proposed solar projects can each cover several large facilities after they are no longer viable. square miles and the newest wind turbines are over 500 feet tall. Appropriate siting of these The Department of the Interior and Forest Service projects and cost-appropriate size limitations are should consult with the Congress on a regular critical to ensuring that the pristine landscapes, basis as they proceed with the development of limited water resources, and magnificent views policies and the preparation of environmental of the country’s public lands and coastlines are documents and permitting of renewable energy protected. projects. Accordingly, within 180 days of enactment, the conferees direct the Department of the Interior The conferees believe that renewable energy to submit a report in consultation with the Forest developers should have less difficulty permitting Service on the criteria used for siting renewable their projects on disturbed private lands than on energy projects, including the extent to which pristine public lands, in order to facilitate greater protection of scenic landscapes, ridgetops, water species protection and stewardship of public resources, habitat including that for endangered resources and public lands. The conferees species, and shorelines will be considered. The recommend that the Secretary evaluate whether2.0 Introduction 7
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands a cooperative agreement with States under 2.3 Responsible Agencies Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, the 2.3.1 Bureau of Land Management establishment of a Section 4(d) rule under the same Act, or the creation of a template `general The BLM is responsible for more than 245 mil- habitat conservation plan would improve the lion acres of public lands as well as 700 million permitting process for solar projects on private subsurface acres of mineral estate. The BLM lands in the California desert. manages Federal onshore oil, gas, and coal op- erations that make important contributions to theIn chapter 5, this report also responds to further Nation’s domestic energy supply. These landsrecommendations from Senate Majority Leader also hold extensive renewable energy resourcesHarry Reid, set forth in a December 21, 2009, let- that contribute to the Nation’s renewable energyter to the Secretary of the Interior, which reads as portfolio. This gives the BLM a principal rolefollows: in fulfilling the administration’s goals for a new energy economy based on a rapid and responsible I would like to recommend that you broaden the move to large-scale production of solar, wind, Department’s review to include an analysis of and geothermal energy. all energy development on public lands not just renewable energy, including siting processes, permitting costs, related staffing, long-term 2.3.2 Bureau of Reclamation reclamation and remediation costs, multi-agency The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) is a water re- coordination activities, as well as the methodology used by the Department to limit the short- and long- source management agency with numerous pro- term impacts on land, water, air quality, wildlife, grams, initiatives, and activities that will help the public health and scenic values associated with western states, Native American tribes, and oth- non-renewable energy resource extraction, ers meet new water needs and balance the multi- production, and, where applicable, related waste tude of competing water uses in the West. As the storage. Please include an evaluation of any second largest producer of hydroelectric power in other issues that would be valuable to Congress in the western United States, the BOR plays a key the development of New Energy and public lands role in providing renewable energy to western policies that will help meet the nation’s critical consumers while protecting the environment and challenges of global warming and energy security. the publics investment in these structures. BOR facilities help to avoid the annual production ofIn developing this report, the DOI and USDA approximately 51 billion pounds of carbon diox-Forest Service have considered Senator Reid’s ide that might otherwise be generated by fossilrecommendations, as well as a series of requests fuel power plants.set forth by Senator Lamar Alexander, formerRanking Minority Member of the Interior Ap- 2.3.3 Bureau of Indian Affairspropriations Subcommittee and current RankingMinority Member of the Energy and Water De- The DOI’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is re-velopment Appropriations Subcommittee, writ- sponsible for the administration of 56 millionten in separate letters to both the Secretary of the acres of land held in trust for American IndianInterior and the Secretary of Agriculture dated tribes, Alaska Natives, and individual IndianMarch 2010. landowners. This land contains large amounts of8 2.0 Introduction
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsboth renewable and nonrenewable trust resources the OCS for the development of renewable en-as well as access to areas with high potential for ergy. Future OCS renewable energy activities arewind and solar energy resource development. anticipated to include electrical generation fromUnder the purview of the Assistant Secretary wind and hydrokinetic (ocean wave and oceanfor Indian Affairs, the Office of Indian Energy current) resources.and Economic Development and the BIA workclosely with tribes to assist them in all aspects of 2.3.5 Office of Surface Miningenergy resource exploration and development in- Reclamation and Enforcementcluding, but not limited to, resource assessment,economic analysis, environmental impact evalua- The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation andtion, and realty management. Enforcement (OSM) works with the BLM, states, and Indian tribes to assure that citizens and the 2.3.4 Bureau of Ocean Energy environment are protected during surface coal Management, Regulation mining and that the land is restored to beneficial and Enforcement use when mining is finished. The OSM and its (formerly the MMS) partners are also responsible for ensuring that lands and water which were degraded by min-The BOEMRE, formerly the Minerals Manage- ing operations before 1977 are reclaimed. Today,ment Service (MMS), manages the Nation’s OSM has 24 states which have assumed primaryoffshore oil, natural gas, and other energy and responsibility for regulating surface mining ac-mineral resources on the Federal OCS. In May tivities within their borders and are administer-2010, the Secretary of the Interior announced the ing programs to clean up abandoned mine sites.fundamental restructuring of MMS, moving to The OSM has oversight responsibilities for thosedivide the agency into three separate entities— approved state programs. Through cooperativeBureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of agreements, the Secretary of the Interior delegatesSafety and Environmental Enforcement, and the regulatory responsibilities for surface coal min-Office of Natural Resources Revenue—in order ing and reclamation operations on Federal landsto improve the oversight of offshore energy de- to states with approved regulatory programs. Thevelopment and the revenues associated with it. DOI retains the duty to authorize the mining ofThe BOEMRE was established as an interim or- leased Federal coal. The OSM regulates surfaceganization, and on October 1, 2010, the Office of coal mining and reclamation operations on IndianNatural Resources Revenue was formally estab- lands. Currently, however, three tribes are in thelished as a separate entity within the Office of the process of developing their own programs.Secretary. The reorganization is planned for fullimplementation by October 1, 2011. 2.3.6 National Park ServiceThe Nation’s 1.7 billion acres of the OCS are The National Park Service (NPS) manages morebelieved to contain more than 60 percent of than 84 million acres of National Park Systemthe Nation’s remaining undiscovered, techni- lands and has responsibility over a variety ofcally recoverable oil and almost 40 percent of other special status areas, to include the Nationalits undiscovered technically recoverable natu- Trails System, wild and scenic rivers, nationalral gas (MMS National Assessment, 2006). historic landmarks, national natural landmarks,The BOEMRE is also responsible for leasing on and places on the National Register of Historic2.0 Introduction 9
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsPlaces. Given its many stewardship responsibili- tives, internal strategic planning, important andties, the NPS has a special role to ensure that any unanticipated global events, customer surveysleasing, siting, and permitting of energy facilities and needs, and the guiding principles of objec-on the public lands near parks and other special tive and impartial science. The USGS Water Usestatus areas is done in a way that safeguards their Program estimates the amount of water withdraw-resources and values. When the permitting of als associated with eight sectors of water use, in-energy development could impact adjacent park cluding thermoelectric power generation, whichunits and other special status areas, the NPS is is the largest sector of water withdrawals in theactive in park protection and the decisionmak- Nation. Estimation of water use is a key factor ining process. Current steps are being taken to assessing the sustainability of water supplies tostrengthen these measures. support energy development, while also protect- ing important environmental values. While con- 2.3.7 U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service tributing efforts to address challenges of the New Energy Frontier, the USGS will be instrumentalThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is in providing the science framework and informa-dedicated to the conservation, protection, and en- tion necessary for all partners to use in analyzinghancement of fish and wildlife and their habitats impacts and making decisions on mitigation, res-by administering laws such as the Endangered toration, and conservation efforts.Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and theFish and Wildlife Coordination Act. The FWS 2.3.9 Office of Insular Affairsis responsible for managing fish and wildlifeFederal trust resources, including threatened and The Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) is currentlyendangered species, migratory birds, interjuris- leading efforts to investigate opportunities fordictional fish species, certain marine mammals, increased renewable energy and energy effi-and the National Wildlife Refuge System. The ciency deployment in the U.S. Territories. TheFWS is engaged in energy planning and review DOI, through OIA, and DOE have entered intoto assist other agencies and the energy industry in an agreement with the U.S. Virgin Islands to de-avoiding and otherwise mitigating the impacts of crease the territory’s dependence on fossil development on these trust resources. The In April 2009, the Virgin Islands was chosen asFWS manages approximately 90 million acres of one of three pilot locations for Energy Develop-refuge lands. ment in Island Nations (EDIN)—an international partnership with the goal of bringing renewable 2.3.8 U.S. Geological Survey energy to islands around the world. Through participation in EDIN, the Virgin Islands will beThe U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Re- able to access technical resources of the DOE’ssources Program provides objective, impartial, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)and scientifically robust information to advance to develop technically and economically soundthe understanding of geologically based energy plans to implement sustainable energy technolo-resources; contributes to plans for a secure energy gies. The OIA is also working with the DOE/future; and facilitates evaluation and responsible NREL to develop renewable energy and energyuse of resources. The Energy Resources Pro- efficiency plans for the three Pacific Territories ofgram research portfolio is responsive to national American Samoa, Commonwealth of the North-priorities established through legislative direc- ern Mariana Islands, and Guam.10 2.0 Introduction
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 2.3.10 USDA Forest Service into several areas including training, direct tech- nical assistance, policy support, transmissionThe USFS manages 193 million acres of National planning, siting of large scale projects, researchForest System lands that are important sources and development of new technologies, and spon-of both conventional and renewable forms of en- soring research and development of wind turbineergy. This is a point of emphasis in the USDA impacts on wildlife. Specific support areas are asRenewable Energy Strategy. The lands and re- follows:sources represent a sustainable, strategic asset inachieving and enhancing U.S. energy security, • The DOE worked with the BLM to conduct aeconomic opportunity, environmental quality, and programmatic environmental impact state-global competitiveness. Given its many steward- ment (PEIS) for wind, which was completedship responsibilities, the USFS has a special role in 2006, and one for solar, expected to beto ensure that any leasing, siting, and permitting complete in 2011.of energy facilities are done in a way that protectsthe character of protected areas, such as wilder- • The DOE and the BLM signed a memo-ness, roadless areas, and wild and scenic rivers randum of understanding (MOU) on Julyand trails. Given the significant role that biomass 8, 2010, that establishes public land for aplays in the Nation’s renewable energy portfolio, solar demonstration zone (SDZ). This SDZthe USFS plays a lead role in furthering the use of will be public land that is withdrawn for thewoody biomass. Secretary Vilsack’s “All Lands” DOE. The DOE will work with industry tovision for forests helps guide this focus beyond demonstrate advanced solar generation tech-the national forests and grasslands. nologies at this site.The USFS works across ownerships to sustain • The DOE and national laboratory staff arethe health, diversity, and productivity of the Na- developing and conducting training coursestion’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs, in wind and solar technologies for DOIincluding energy needs, of present and future staff. These courses include information ongenerations. Specifically, the State and Private technology, performance, economics, con-Forestry organization of the USFS reaches across struction level impacts, and environmentalthe boundaries of national forests to states, tribes, impacts.communities, and nonindustrial private landown-ers of the Nation’s forested lands. USFS Research • The DOE, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineersand Development scientists develop, execute, and (ACOE), and the BOR signed an MOU todisseminate science practices and technology to work toward the increased development ofimprove the health, resiliency, and use of all the sustainable hydropower generation opportu-Nation’s forests and grasslands, including for bio- nities on BOR and ACOE facilities.mass energy and integrating energy productioninto sustainable forest and grassland manage- • In June 2010, the DOE and BOEMRE signedment. an MOU to cooperate on a number of issues 2.3.11 U.S. Department of Energy related to offshore wind development.The DOE has been a long-standing partner with • On February 7, 2011, Secretary Salazar andthe DOI and USDA. The DOE cooperation falls Secretary of Energy Steven Chu unveiled2.0 Introduction 11
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands A National Offshore Wind Strategy: Creat- to establish a coordinated network of Federal ing an Offshore Wind Industry in the United energy corridors on Federal lands throughout States, a joint strategic plan to accelerate the the United States. An example of this work development of offshore wind energy. is the West-wide Energy Corridor project.• The DOE is working with the OIA to support 2.3.12 National Oceanic and the increased use of renewable energy in the Atmospheric Administration U.S. Territories. The Department of Commerce’s National Oce-• The DOE works with all DOI agencies and anic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) bureaus on the DOE Federal Energy Man- is also an important Federal partner on energy agement Program to encourage increased issues. Their expertise, services, and responsi- energy efficiency, water conservation, and bilities are critical to energy conservation, devel- renewable energy deployment at DOI fa- opment, production, management, and delivery. cilities (e.g., national park sites, BLM field The NOAA also helps to ensure the protection of offices, Main Interior Building). coastal and ocean environmental resources as en- ergy activities take place. The administration is• The DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery involved in a variety of energy sectors, including and Energy Reliability is working with other offshore oil and gas, marine hydrokinetic energy, Federal agencies including the Departments liquefied natural gas, ocean thermal energy con- of the Interior, Defense, Commerce, and version, offshore and onshore wind energy, solar Agriculture to improve energy delivery and energy, biomass and biofuels, traditional hydro- enhance the electric transmission grid for the power, and nuclear energy. future. These agencies are working together12 2.0 Introduction
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands “The Department of the Interior plays a leading role in our Nation’s quest to build a clean energy economy – creating American jobs and driving innovation – by promoting renewable energy on our public lands. As part of this Admin- istration’s commitment to a safe, secure energy future, Interior is unlocking our Nation’s renewable energy potential in unprecedented ways.” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar3.1 Onshore Renewable Energy:Wind Energy• Federal lands currently account for 6 percent of renewable electricity generation and 0.1 percent of a total energy supply of 6 billion kilowatt hours (kWh).• Abundant wind energy potential exists on Federal lands in the West, Great Plains, and New England.• The total wind potential for Federal lands alone is up to 350,000 MW.• The BLM has 25 wind energy facilities on public lands in Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming with a total installed capacity of 437 MW.• Federal and state wind energy incentives continue to foster interest in commercial wind energy projects on public lands.• Forty-seven new wind development project applications are currently being processed. 13
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 3.1.1 Overview radars, can cause false readings that can disrupt forecaster situational awareness and radar algo-Wind power uses the naturally occurring energy rithms.of the wind for practical purposes like generatingelectricity, charging batteries, or pumping water. Additional infrastructure for and placement ofWind turbines capture the kinetic energy in the wind energy facilities are important to transmis-wind, converting it into electrical energy. Utility- sion of wind energy. As wind energy scales up toscale turbines are mounted on tall towers, usually become a greater share of electricity supply, wind200 feet or more above the Earths surface where energy projects may be challenged by the need tothe wind is faster and less turbulent. In utility- connect to the energy transmission grid. As anscale power applications, multiple turbines are intermittent source of generation, major new de-connected to the utility grid, providing electricity velopment projects are likely to require enhancedwhen the wind blows. regional transmission capability, energy storage capacity, and/or backup generation capacity toFor more than a decade, wind energy has been successfully integrate into the grid without jeop-the fastest growing energy technology world- ardizing transmission reliability. In addition towide, achieving an annual growth rate greater wind development, solar and geothermal projectsthan 30 percent. As of January 2010, the United may require new or significant upgrades to theStates has a total installed wind energy capacity existing transmission grid, as would some newof 35,000 MW. conventional electricity generation sources.Potential impacts associated with wind energy Laws recently enacted by 33 states require elec-development are complex and specific to each tric utilities to provide a portion of their energysite. The priority concern now are impacts relat- from renewable energy sources. As a result, theing to bird and bat collisions with rotating blades BLM and USFS anticipate a continued increaseand wildlife habitat alteration and fragmentation. of interest in the use of Federal lands for renew-Although proper siting decisions, stipulations, able energy development. Specifically, the BLM:and good management practices can minimizethese environmental concerns, an effective moni- • Manages 20.6 million acres of public landstoring program is needed to collect data and con- with wind power potential in 11 westerntinue to observe effects. The potential impacts states;on resources such as wildlife and scenery will beanalyzed in site-specific National Environmental • Has 207 rights-of-way applications pendingPolicy Act (NEPA) documents, as appropriate. for the use of public lands for wind energy site testing; andWind turbines can also negatively impact Amer-ica’s network of radars. The NOAA is working • Has 25 installed wind development projectswith the Departments of Defense, Homeland Se- with a capacity of 437 MW and an additionalcurity, and Transportation to develop software to four projects approved but not yet com-model potential wind turbine impacts on radars in pleted, which will bring total capacity to 580advance of turbine installation to better support MW.the evaluation of industry siting requests. Forexample, turbines, when sited close to weather14 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 3.1.2 Wind Energy on corridors, national recreation areas, inventoried BLM-Managed Lands roadless and roadless areas, and other areas where laws or other land management objectives wouldA PEIS relating to the authorization of wind en- prohibit or severely restrict renewable energy de-ergy projects on BLM-managed lands was com- velopment. The assessment projects a maximumpleted in June 2005. This PEIS provides an anal- development potential of approximately 139,000ysis of the development of wind energy projects MW of wind energy from National Forest Systemin the West. In conjunction with the publication (NFS) lands.of the PEIS, the BLM amended 52 land use plansto allow for the use of public lands for wind en- Numerous inquiries have been made about theergy development. The BLM offices are able to siting of meteorological towers to obtain data re-use the PEIS as an aid in analyzing impacts of garding feasibility of wind energy developmentspecific applications for the use of public lands in on these lands. Appendix 2 displays those inqui-the development and production of wind energy. ries and proposals for wind energy facilities on NFS lands. As of December 2010, there were ap-In 2006, the BLM issued a wind energy policy to proximately 10 meteorological towers installedprovide guidance on best management practices on NFS lands nationwide.and measures to mitigate potential impacts onbirds, wildlife habitat, and other resources. The Currently under review, the Deerfield Wind Proj-2006 policy was updated in December 2008 with ect is a proposal to construct and operate a windregard to rental rates, visual resource guidance, energy facility on NFS lands in the Green Moun-requirements for plans of development, and areas tain National Forest in Searsburg and Readsboro,excluded from development. However, as the sit- Vermont. The project would construct 15 new 2ing of renewable energy projects on the landscape to 2.1 megawatt-class wind relatively new, much remains unknown abouteffects on wildlife and habitat. The BLM contin- The USFS recognizes that renewable energy pro-ues to conduct studies necessary to evaluate and duction and transmission are appropriate uses ofprocess the increasing number of rights-of-way NFS lands. The agency is developing and imple-applications for the siting of wind energy projects menting national directives to enhance consisten-and rights-of-way applications for electric trans- cy and efficacy in siting, authorizing, and admin-mission lines for these projects. istering wind energy site testing and development on NFS lands. These directives will supplement 3.1.3 Wind Energy on rather than replace existing special use regula- National Forest System Lands tions and directives.The USFS, in partnership with the DOE’s Na- 3.1.4 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servicetional Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Wind Energy GuidelinesColorado, prepared a report entitled, Assessingthe Potential for Renewable Energy on National The Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Com-Forest System Lands. This document covered ap- mittee was established in 2007 under the Federalproximately 170 million acres of national forests Advisory Committee Act to provide advice andand national grasslands. The assessment exclud- recommendations to the Secretary of the Interi-ed Alaska, wilderness areas, wild and scenic river or on developing effective measures to avoid or3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 15
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsminimize impacts to wildlife and their habitats Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance to addressrelated to land-based wind energy projects. The this problem. These guidelines were released onFWS chaired the committee, which included 22 February 8, 2011, and will be open for publicmembers representing Federal and state agencies, comment until May 19, 2011.wildlife conservation organizations, and the windenergy industry. The committee’s recommen- The BLM, USFS, and FWS have coordinateddations contain advice regarding policy issues, closely during the development of wind ener-as well as science-based technical guidance on gy policy and guidelines to ensure consistencyhow to best assess and prevent adverse impacts among the agencies. In 2011, the FWS is plan-to wildlife and their habitats while allowing for ning to expand its research to learn the impacts ofthe development of the Nation’s wind energy re- wind energy technology on wildlife in the Greatsources. Based on this work, the FWS developed Plains and offshore coastal areas.the Draft Voluntary Land-Based Wind EnergyGuidelines. These guidelines were released onFebruary 8, 2011, and will be open for public The Committee’scomment until May 19, 2011. recommendations include:These recommendations, aimed at minimizing the • A decisionmaking framework that impacts of land-based wind farms on wildlife and guides all stages of wind energy habitat, will be used to develop final FWS Wind development;Turbine Guidelines. The finalization process willinclude coordination with other Federal agencies • Reliance on the best available and public comment. The FWS guidelines will science when assessing renewable be applicable to private as well as Federal lands. energy projects and their potential environmental impact; andThe development of facilities to generate elec-tricity from wind turbines in the western United • Use of landscape-scaled planning that States has increased dramatically in the range recognizes the need to think long term of the golden eagle, putting these eagles at risk about protecting our Nation’s economic from collision with wind turbines. The FWS is and natural resources.charged with implementing the Bald and GoldenEagle Protection Act and has developed the Draft16 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands3.2 Onshore Renewable Energy: As of late 2010, the USFS had not received any applications for utility or other large-scale com-Solar Energy mercial solar facilities.• Solar radiation levels in the Southwest are 3.2.1 Solar Energy Programmatic some of the most ideal in the world for en- EIS for BLM-Managed Lands ergy production. Federal potential is found principally on BLM-managed lands, with In December 2010, the BLM and the DOE com- 23 million acres of public lands having solar pleted a draft BLM/DOE Programmatic Envi- energy development potential. ronmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States. The• Energy from the sun is used to generate elec- document, a landscape-level planning effort to tricity; heat water; and heat, cool, and light facilitate environmentally responsible solar en- buildings. ergy development, analyzes the potential impacts from utility-scale solar energy development and• Solar energy accounted for 0.9 billion kWh, evaluates alternatives for establishing a compre- or 1 percent, of renewable electricity genera- hensive solar energy development program. The tion in 2008. public comment period on the draft PEIS opened December 17, 2010, and ran through March 17,• To date, there is no installed solar capacity 2011. The comment period was recently extended on BLM lands. In 2010, the BLM approved through April 16, 2011. nine solar projects, with a total capacity of 3,682 MW. Twenty-four solar energy study areas, comprising approximately 677,400 acres—more than 1,000As of late 2010, the BLM had more than 100 ap- square miles—are being analyzed in detail to de-plications pending for utility-scale solar energy termine whether they are appropriate for designa-projects in Arizona, California, Nevada, and New tion as Solar Energy Zones to be managed withMexico that involve about 1.05 million acres of a preference for solar energy generation on sitesland and have an applicant-estimated capacity of suited for solar development (see 3.2.2).61,000 MW.3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 17
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsIn the draft PEIS, the BLM proposes to: (1) es- were excluded from further analysis. The catego-tablish a new Solar Energy Program that would ries of NLCS lands that were excluded includeinclude Solar Energy Zones, (2) standardize and wilderness areas, wilderness study areas, instantstreamline the authorization process for solar study areas, national conservation areas, nationalenergy development projects, and (3) establish monuments, wild and scenic rivers, and nationalmandatory design features for such development historic and scenic trails.on public lands, thus providing a more efficientprocess for siting and permitting responsible so- Other potentially sensitive areas that were elimi-lar energy development. nated from further analysis in the solar draft PEIS include: areas identified as critical habitat forAs part of the draft PEIS development, the DOE threatened and endangered species, areas of criti-plans to develop a suite of solar energy environ- cal environmental concern (ACEC), special rec-mental policies and mitigation strategies that reation management areas (SRMA), areas desig-would apply to the deployment of DOE-sup- nated by the BLM as no surface occupancy, andported solar energy projects, whether located on areas designated by the BLM in its existing landBLM-administered lands or other Federal, state, use plans as exclusion or avoidance areas for de-tribal, or private lands. The BLM would con- velopment.tinue to employ its own environmental policiesand mitigation strategies when making decisions The resulting lands that the BLM considers toon whether to issue rights-of-way for utility-scale have solar development potential include approx-solar energy development projects on public imately 4.5 million acres in Arizona, 1.8 millionlands. The BLM and DOE will work together to acres in California, 0.15 million acres in Colora-implement consistent policies and strategies. do, 9.6 million acres in Nevada, 4.1 million acres in New Mexico, and 2.5 million acres in Utah.Public lands deemed technically suitable for util-ity-scale solar energy development are located in As with all forms of energy development, therea six-state study area (including Arizona, Califor- are potential environmental concerns from solarnia, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah). energy development, such as land disturbance/These lands are suitable because: they have excel- land use impacts, aesthetic impacts, impacts onlent solar energy resources; they have low slopes wildlife habitat, consumption of water and otherof less than 5 percent—since higher slopes are a resources, problems connecting to the grid, andbarrier to construction for most solar facilities; using potentially hazardous materials. Althoughthey have contiguous areas of at least 247 acres proper siting decisions, stipulations, and good(1 square kilometer)—since utility-scale solar fa- management practices can help to minimize en-cilities require concentrated development. vironmental concerns, an effective monitoring program is needed to collect data and continue toFurther evaluation was conducted on these lands observe all address potential environmental suitabilityconcerns. 3.2.2 Solar Energy Study AreasLands containing outstanding cultural, ecologi- In addition to lands identified in the solar draftcal, or scientific values within the BLM’s Na- PEIS, the BLM identified 24 tracts of BLM-ad-tional Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) ministered land in six western states, known as18 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Solar Technologies: 2010 Approved Projects Parabolic Trough • 60 percent of applications • 3 approved projects Photovoltaic • 30 percent of applications • 2 approved projects Power Tower • 10 percent of applications • 2 approved projects Solar Dish • No pending applications • 2 approved projectssolar energy study areas, with the potential to acres. Lands in these study areas are flatter thanbe used for large-scale solar energy production. other lands identified in the draft PEIS as techni-BLM experts at state and field office levels cre- cally suitable for solar development, with slopesated and assessed guidance to identify the study that are generally less than 2 percent. Addition-areas. The guidance criteria include: proxim- ally, the areas must be free of other types of con-ity to existing roads, transmission, or designated flict, such as threatened and endangered speciestransmission corridors; and a size of at least 2,500 habitat, ACECs, SRMAs, and NLCS lands.3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 19
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsThere are three solar energy study areas in Ari- use the most water are those that create electric-zona, four in California, four in Colorado, seven ity by generating steam, such as parabolic troughin Nevada, three in New Mexico, and three in and power tower technologies. The technologiesUtah. The study areas range in size from 1,522 that use the least amount of water are photovol-acres (De Tilla Gulch in Colorado was originally taic and dish/engine systems.about 2,500 acres but revised to avoid a sensitivearea) to 202,295 acres (Riverside East in Califor- Because the ideal locations for solar facilities arenia). The 24 study areas are located in 14 sepa- typically in arid areas, water use and water avail-rate BLM district and field offices and 16 separate ability are key considerations when thermoelec-counties. tric technologies (those utilizing a steam cycle) are selected. Cooling technologies using the leastThe boundaries of several of the study areas were amount of water are preferred. In practice, how-altered in response to scoping comments and ever, many more factors must be considered whenbased on land management considerations, in- selecting the appropriate cooling system.cluding the need to protect adjacent special sta-tus areas such as national parks. The revisions Conventional cooling systems for thermoelectricwill make the study areas easier to describe and power plants, usually referred to as wet recirculat-manage, eliminate areas with sensitive resources, ing cooling, provide the best performance underand in some cases, add adjacent lands that ap- most weather conditions. Unfortunately, sincepear equally suitable for solar energy develop- their primary mechanism for heat dissipation isment. The total combined land area is 677,400 evaporation of some of the water in the recirculat-acres. This combined area could harvest enough ing system, their water demands are the greatestsolar energy to produce approximately 60 to 108 among the available cooling options.gigawatts (GW), depending on the types of solartechnologies that will be used. The solar technologies that use the least amount of water are photovoltaic and dish systems that 3.2.3 Water Use for Solar Facilities employ dry cooling. Dry cooling systems cool steam in a condenser by passing ambient air overAs with other energy facilities, water is a neces- the condenser’s surface and are feasible in desertsary component for construction and operation of environments. However, the net power output ofall solar energy facilities. During construction, concentrated solar power facilities equipped withwater is needed to control fugitive dust, compact dry cooling will be less than that of a similarlysoils, wash equipment, and support the work- sized facility using wet recirculating cooling.force. The amount of water use during construc-tion is dependent on the project location and the Hybrid wet/dry systems have been developed thatspecific project design. During operations, all so- introduce water into the air stream by passing itlar energy technologies require water to support over the steam condenser or by deluging the outerthe workforce and for periodic washing of mir- surface of the condenser with water. The coolingrors or panels, at a minimum. Water is necessary mechanism is the same as for wet recirculatingfor facility operations for the useful life of that cooling systems; water flash evaporates, coolingfacility, usually 20 to 30 years. Depending on either the air stream or the surface of the condens-the technology used, some solar facilities can be er as it does so. Such wet/dry hybrids are not asrelatively water intensive. The technologies that thermally efficient as conventional wet recirculat-20 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsing cooling systems. However, they use substan- 3.3 Onshore Renewable Energy:tially less water and offer somewhat better perfor-mance than dry cooling alone, but still with some Geothermal Energyreduction in power output. Such hybrid systemsperform best in desert environments where rela- • The U.S. leads the world in geothermaltive humidity is typically very low. generation capacity with 3,152 MW (August 2009) from 77 power plants, accounting forSolar facilities in dry environments may reduce about 35 percent of world geothermal pro-groundwater or surface water requirements by uti- duction.lizing reclaimed water from wastewater treatmentfacilities. Some cooling technologies use organic • During 2009, geothermal energy accountedsolvents in closed systems in place of water; al- for 17 percent of U.S. renewable electricitythough, cooling systems of this design have lim- generation, providing 15 billion kWh.ited capacity and have been successfully appliedonly to facilities with relatively small generating • Geothermal energy production providescapacities. However, both of these water-saving baseload energy, like that from a nuclearsystems may be utilized in future solar facilities or conventionally fueled facility, that is notin arid areas. dependent on fluctuating natural conditions.While water availability remains the primary • Most geothermal production is in Califor-consideration in the selection of a cooling system nia and Nevada; other active states includefor concentrated solar power facilities utilizing Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah.steam, other factors also enter into the selection. California provides 82 percent of U.S. gen-These include land requirements, visual resource erating capacity or 30 percent of the world’simpacts (i.e., the physical profiles of the system geothermal generating capacity.and, in some cases, the steam plume that may re-sult in some weather conditions), the initial chem- • During 2009, about 4.4 billion kWh of elec-istry of the available water, the complexity of the tricity was generated from geothermal leaseswater treatment before it can be introduced into on BLM-managed land, and the electricitythe cooling system, capital and operating costs, supplied 35 power plants.and the parasitic load (i.e., the amount of powerneeded to operate the system).3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 21
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 3.3.1 Overview The Humboldt-Toiyabe NationalThe BLM administers more than 245 million sur- Forest was the first forest to useface acres of public lands and 700 million acres of the programmatic analysis andsubsurface mineral estate. The USFS is respon- established a model for othersible for the surface management of 193 millionacres of NFS lands. The Geothermal Steam Act, national forests to amended, defines the role of the USFS in themanagement of geothermal resources. This will facilitate leasing and provide for environmentally sound geothermal 3.3.2 Geothermal Energy energy exploration and development. Programmatic EISThe BLM and the USFS jointly prepared a geo- accordance with NEPA, the Federal Land Policythermal energy PEIS that was completed on De- and Management Act of 1976, and the Nationalcember 17, 2008, with the signing of the record Forest Management Act of 1976. Even withof decision. The USDA supported and adopted the record of decision for the final PEIS issued,the PEIS. The record of decision approved the any ground-disturbing activities for subsequentDOI’s decision to facilitate geothermal leasing geothermal exploration, drilling, utilization, andof Federal mineral estate in the 12 western states reclamation permits will be subject to additionalof Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, site-specific environmental review under NEPA.Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah,Washington, and Wyoming. While the decision did not amend any USFS land use plans, it does provide the framework to facili-The decision (1) allocates BLM lands as open to tate the USFS efforts in the processing of pendingbe considered for geothermal leasing or closed geothermal lease applications and future geother-for geothermal leasing, and identifies those NFS mal projects on USFS lands.lands that are legally open or closed to leasing;(2) develops a reasonably foreseeable develop- The PEIS describes the statutory authority underment scenario that indicates a potential for 12,210 the Geothermal Steam Act to protect designatedMW of electrical generating capacity from 244 thermal features in parks by (1) alerting poten-power plants by 2025, plus additional direct uses tial lessees that no leasing is allowed in Nationalof geothermal resources; and (3) adopts stipula- Park System units; (2) noting that the Island Parktions, best management practices, and procedures Geothermal Area adjacent to Yellowstone Na-for geothermal leasing and development. tional Park is closed to leasing; and (3) explain- ing that other lands in proximity to the parks withThese actions will be implemented as BLM re- designated thermal features will require a specialsource management plan amendments for 114 analysis of the potential effects of possible geo-land use plans. The proposed action and plan thermal development and may be determined in-amendments were evaluated through the prepa- eligible for lease. The NPS works with the BLMration of the Final Programmatic Environmental to ensure that these statutory duties are carriedImpact Statement for Geothermal Leasing in the out.Western United States, which was prepared in22 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsThe following table illustrates the estimated fu- permit prior to building a power plant and asso-ture geothermal generating potential by state. It ciate facilities. The approval process involves awas compiled from various sources and served NEPA analysis, which may be an environmentalas the basis for the PEIS reasonable foreseeable assessment or an environmental impact statementdevelopment scenario for the purpose of impact (EIS), depending on the scope of the project andanalysis. potential impacts anticipated. One of the pur- Estimated Future Geothermal poses of the analysis is to incorporate best man- Electrical Generation by State agement practices to minimize the impact of the facility and minimize the footprint. Estimated Estimated Commercial Commercial State As of late 2010, there were 58 geothermal leases Development Development by 2015 (MW) by 2025 (MW) in a producing status covering about 56,000 acres. While some of the leases produce geothermal re- California 2,375 4,703 sources for electrical generation for non-Feder- Nevada 1,473 2,880 al-sited power plants, there were 17 production facilities located on Federal leases for which the Idaho 855 1,670 BLM has approved a utilization permit. These Oregon 380 1,250 power plants were sited on a total of 313 acres Utah 230 620 for an average of 18.4 acres per plant, or about 1 percent of the average lease size of about 1,800 Washington 50 600 acres. There were 120 geothermal leases cover- New Mexico 80 170 ing approximately 134,000 acres of NFS lands. Alaska 20 150 3.3.4 BLM and Forest Service Arizona 20 50 Coordination Colorado 20 50 The BLM and USFS have a long history of co- Montana 20 50 ordination on geothermal leasing and permitting Wyoming 20 50 on USFS-administered lands under an MOU, re-Note: This table was compiled from a variety of sources, vised in April 2006, to implement Section 225for the purpose of developing the reasonable foreseeable of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Section 225development scenario in the FINAL Programmatic Envi- requires the coordination of geothermal leasingronmental Impact Statement for Geothermal Leasing in the and permitting on public lands and NFS lands be-Western United States (2008). tween the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture. 3.3.3 Siting Geothermal Energy Facilities The BLM and USFS coordinate geothermal re-The issuance of a geothermal lease does not au- source leasing activities on NFS lands. While thethorize lease activities, other than casual use. USFS manages the surface estate of NFS lands,Permits and authorizations are required prior to the BLM is responsible for managing the mineralstarting lease operations: drilling of temperature estate. This includes the leasing and permitting ofgradient wells, geothermal drilling permits for exploration and development of geothermal leas-production and injection wells, and a construction es. The USFS serves as lead agency for geother-3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 23
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Map of Lands with Geothermal Potential24 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsmal leasing availability analyses and decisions • Short-term and intermittent noise impactsand conducts analysis on geothermal activities from construction and maintenance activi-on NFS lands. The USFS develops lease stipula- ties. Operations would have minimal noisetions for NFS lands that are only as restrictive as impacts in most areas on Federal lands; how-necessary to protect the resources for which they ever, areas with minimal noise sources (i.e.,are applied. The USFS provides the consent to remote areas) would experience a greaterlease, and the BLM issues the leases. change in the noise characteristics;The BLM coordinates the NEPA permit review • Loss of some recreational opportunities fromwith the USFS, which proposes permit conditions energy infrastructure, although new roadsof approval involving surface issues. The BLM associated with development could provideis also the lead agency in processing drilling per- access for additional recreational opportuni-mits intended for production of geothermal re- ties in some circumstances;sources, water maintenance injection, or utiliza-tion to maintain the geothermal resource (which • Long-term visual impact from power plantsare lease exclusive operations) on Federal lands. and infrastructure;Under most circumstances a single NEPA docu- • Short-term impact to ground water duringment is prepared, with the BLM as lead and the drilling;USFS as the cooperating agency. • Loss of other land uses, such as livestock 3.3.5 Geothermal Energy grazing; and on Federal Lands • Short-term increases in air emissions fromDepending on site conditions and the type of geo- drilling and construction activities.thermal plant, a typical geothermal electrical gen-eration plant has a surface disturbance between Moreover, potential cumulative impacts associ-30 and 130 acres for all associated activities, such ated with geothermal development include ero-as exploration, well sites, pipelines, and power sion, habitat loss and fragmentation, propagationplant. In addition, electrical transmission may re- of invasive species, and viewshed degradation.quire between 20 and 240 acres.Like other forms of energy development, includ-ing conventional energy development, geother-mal development can have the following impacts:• Long-term loss of vegetation, habitat, and soil;3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 25
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 3.4 Onshore Renewable Energy: Biomass Energy • Biomass currently provides almost 2.1 percent of U.S. energy consumption. • Biomass has the potential to supply an in- creasing portion of U.S. liquid transportation fuels and can be a substitute for fossil fuels used in heating and/or electrical power. • Biomass can be used directly or converted into products to provide heat, make fuel, and generate electricity. • The DOI manages 437 million acres of forest and grasslands. The USFS manages 193 mil- lion acres of forest and grasslands. • Biomass supplied from Federal lands con- sists primarily of residual material gener- ated from the restoration and management of healthy forest ecosystems. Benefits of removing biomass can include: – Resource protection and wildfire reduction – Protection of public health and safety – Restoration of long-term ecological function – Control of invasive species 3.4.1 Overview The U.S. economy uses biomass-based materials as a source of energy in many ways. Wood and agricultural residues are burned to create steam for electrical power generation and for space heating in residential and commercial buildings.26 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsBiomass is also converted to a liquid form for 3.4.2 Biomass in Managing Healthyuse as a transportation fuel (ethanol and biodie- Forest and Range Systemssel). Biomass harvested from Federal lands is al-most exclusively the residual material associated One of the greatest challenges facing Federal landwith forest treatments and in the form of woody managers is restoring, maintaining, and enhanc-biomass. Biomass collected on USFS and DOI ing the health and productivity of forest and grass/lands include small-diameter trees and shrubs, shrubland ecosystems. Restoring Federal lands attree-harvest debris, noncommercial tree species, risk of loss from fire, insects, and/or disease oftenas well as undesirable aquatic and terrestrial plant involves the removal of large quantities of small-residues. diameter and lower-quality wood through thin- ning and prescribed fire treatments. Long-termTo date, woody biomass residues have played a benefits of forest health often outweigh the short-minor role in terms of the overall U.S. energy pic- term investment to achieve the desired health andture. The vast majority has been used in pulp and productivity results. At this time, management ofpaper industries, where residues from production this critical resource is an important part of ourprocesses are combusted to produce steam for renewable energy portfolio.electricity generation. Outside the pulp and pa-per industries, only a small amount of biomass is Siting Criteriaused to produce electricity. Some power plantscombust biomass exclusively to generate electric- Managing healthy and resilient ecosystems pro-ity while some facilities mix biomass with coal vides Federal land managers the principal criteria(biomass co-firing plants). The electricity gener- needed for determining sites suitable for woodyation sector, excluding co-generators, consumed biomass collection. Converting this residual ma-about 0.7 quadrillion British thermal units from terial into energy and biobased products supportsbiomass in 2008. improved forest health and productivity as well as local economic opportunities. The discussionOne noteworthy initiative to increase the use of on leasing reforms in Section 5.1.2 provides abiomass for energy is the Bioenergy Facilities summary of the factors and requirements consid-Initiative, which is an interagency working part- ered by land managers as they make decisions onnership among the DOI, DOE, and USFS to com- project siting that also apply to woody biomassplete feasibility studies on 48 potential sites on removal.Federal, state, and tribal facilities. The biomasstechnology included in the potential sites ranges Biomass siting is often driven by actions neces-from thermal applications to combined heat and sary to improve or maintain resource health, re-power, to large-scale power projects. Each site siliency, and function of the ecosystem. Whenanalysis will include a resource assessment, mar- feedstock material is sourced from public lands,ket evaluation, environmental reviews, technol- this process involves land use planning, environ-ogy evaluation, and financing options. A second mental analysis (both through a planning EIS andinitiative, from the 2008 Farm Bill Title IX, is the site-specific project environmental assessments),Wood to Energy program, which encourages the as well as compliance with a variety of environ-use of wood from Federal, state, tribal, and pri- mental laws such as NEPA, the Endangered Spe-vate lands. The wood can be residual byproducts cies Act, the National Historic Preservation Act,from forest treatments or wood processing mills. the Clean Water Act, etc. (see Appendix 3).3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 27
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsWater use requirements associated with biomass grasslands, thus improving ecological stabil-byproducts are typically not significant. Besides ity and landscape integrity.improving land and resource systems, the benefitsof biomass energy depend upon the intended use Biomass projects must be designed and appro-and source of the material. Well-designed forest priately sited to minimize any negative treatments with a biomass component can: When designing biomass energy projects, the fol- lowing factors should be considered:• Improve energy security through reduced dependence on imported fuels; • Life-cycle production of greenhouse gases1 and other pollutants;• Create jobs in new or expanded domestic industries; • Combustion emissions and the need for any air emission control measures;• Provide potential environmental benefits, including reduction of greenhouse gas emis- • The tradeoffs of short-term project impacts sions as compared to uncontrolled burning, versus long-term landscape improvements; improved wildlife habitat, and cleaner water and flowing from healthy and restored lands; and • The need for reliable feedstock supplies and• Reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire by infrastructure constraints for delivering and removing combustible material in forests and distributing feedstock.1 Life-cycle production of greenhouse gases - direct emissions for a renewable fuel would include net emissions from growth of renewable fuel feedstock, distribution of the feedstock to the renewable fuel producer, production of renew- able fuel, distribution of the finished fuel to the consumer, and use of the fuel by the consumer.28 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands3.5 Hydropower• The BOR is the second largest hydropower producer in the U.S.• In the U.S., there are 58 hydropower plants with an installed capacity of 14,876 MW. On average, these plants annually produce more than 40 billion kWh.• Hydropower provides approximately 17 per- cent of the power used in the West.• The BOR owns 28 additional hydropower plants that are operated by others with a total capacity of approximately 600 MW.• Forty-three hydropower plants have been added to BOR dams by non-Federal develop- ers through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license process. Their total capacity is approximately 450 MW.• Four hydropower plants with a total capacity of approximately 16 MW have been added to BOR dams by non-Federal developers through the BOR’s lease of power privilege.• The BOR has more than 500 dams, diver- Average sion dams, and canal drops that do not have Number of Net hydropower installed, but could potentially Region Years Plants Generation support small hydropower development. (MWh) Pacific 10 2000-2009 22,141,985 3.5.1 Overview Northwest Mid-Pacific 12 2000-2009 4,851,403The BOR is the second largest generator of hy-droelectric power in the United States. Annually, Lower 3 2000-2009 5,754,536 Coloradothe BOR currently serves the residential needs ofalmost 4 million households by generating more Upper 12 2000-2009 4,827,526than 40 billion kWh of electricity at 58 power Coloradoplants. An additional 1,000 MW of generating ca- Great 21 2000-2009 2,461,610pacity have been installed at 71 BOR facilities by Plainsnon-Federal developers. The BOR facilities help Total 58 2000-2009 40,037,0593.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 29
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsto avoid the annual production of approximately new dams. In addition to the potential for new51 billion pounds of carbon dioxide that other- units at existing facilities, the BOR will identifywise would be generated if the facilities’ power opportunities for increasing generation capacitywere to come from fossil fuel power plants. through an aggressive up-rate and rewind pro- gram and the development of pumped storageWithin the context of western hydroelectric gen- projects.erating capacity, the BOR is a key player. Withoperations in 17 western states, the BOR has land The BOR has entered into a partnership arrange-holdings and facilities which lend themselves ment with the DOE and the U.S. Army Corps ofwell to the support for other forms of renewable Engineers to explore opportunities for the assess-energy development. In some cases, hydropower ment, integration, and installation of hydropowercan provide stable backup generation for other and other forms of renewable energy, such as so-forms of renewable energy (e.g., wind and solar) lar and wind power, on BOR dams, canals, andwhen those resources are unavailable. Integrat- other facilities. The BOR is also working withing other forms of renewable generating resourc- the DOE to identify technologies that will fa-es with hydropower is of keen interest to the BOR cilitate implementation of low-head hydropower,and DOI. and the agencies have surveyed the industry and are developing a funding opportunity announce-There are opportunities to develop additional en- ment to advance small hydropower developmentvironmentally sustainable hydropower capacity at BOR facilities.through installation of technologically advancedturbines on a number of existing BOR dams and Finally, the energy-water nexus must be moved tocanals. This capacity increase would not require the forefront of consideration, and new strategies Western U.S. Electric Generating Capacity Western U.S. Electric Generating Capacity Oil .6% Coal 23.5% Reclamation Hydro 23% Hydro 40.8% Other 7.7% Combined Cycle Other Hydro 2.3% 77% Nuclear 6.0% Combustion Gas Turbine 14.8% 4.3%30 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsare needed to ensure that the water footprint of Energy Credits, transmission interconnectionvarious energy development projects is taken into costs, and the potential environmental costs thataccount. The DOE and the USGS have been con- are associated with hydropower development. Asducting research to develop a better understand- a result of these updates, 43 sites with a capacitying of the link between the Nation’s energy and of 184 MW were identified as having a benefit/water supplies. The BOR and DOE are working cost ratio greater than 1. The study can be foundto identify energy-water nexus criteria for the at In 2011, the BOR willBOR’s WaterSMART and Title XVI grants that continue that study by assessing the hydropowerwill help better evaluate which proposals best im- potential at all BOR canal drops in the West.plement the objectives of improving both waterand energy efficiencies. 3.5.3 Memorandum of Understanding 3.5.2 Expanding Federal The recently executed MOU among the DOE, Hydropower Production DOI, and the Army Corps of Engineers (Appendix 4) will advance the evaluation and identificationSection 1834 of the 2005 Energy Policy Act re- of renewable technologies with an implementa-quires the Secretaries of Energy, the Interior, and tion goal of new sustainable generating capacityArmy to “jointly conduct a study assessing the on Federal lands and facilities. Signed on Marchpotential for increasing electric power production 24, 2010, the MOU will facilitate the rapid evalu-at federally owned or operated water regulation, ation and implementation of new hydropower tostorage, and conveyance facilities.” Subsequent- aid in meeting the Administration’s energy andly, under the 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Act, environmental goals.the BOR was tasked with implementing the re-sults of the Section 1834 study. 3.5.4 Pilot Project ProgramThe original Section 1834 study did not include The BOR’s Power Resource Office is establish-any recommendations; rather, it evaluated exist- ing a pilot project program based on best avail-ing nonhydropower dams using a set of screen- able low-head hydropower generation technolo-ing criteria, which were appropriate at the time. gies. The best technologies will be identified byPrioritized by size, only 80 sites went through a BOR/DOE team, in collaboration with otherthe energy analysis and cost/benefit analysis. Of resource agencies, with the best sites for develop-the remaining dams considered, only six came ment identified by the BOR as part of the updatedthrough the process with a cost/benefit ratio Section 1834 study. Ultimately, the developmentgreater than one. sites will be BOR owned and operated where the BOR has authority to develop power. Other BORThe BOR is undertaking a complete reevaluation development sites will be identified in the updat-of the 530 sites that were identified in the original ed Section 1834 study, and if the project is suc-Section 1834 study. All 530 sites, including those cessful, the technology may be utilized on thesewith capacity potential of less than 1 MW, were sites in the future.reviewed and considered, and the model used toevaluate the potential for generation was updatedto include various turbine technologies. The studyused updated economics, including Renewable3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 31
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 3.5.5 Hydropower The BORs LOPP process is spelled out in its Di- Modernization Initiative rectives and Standards, which can be found on its website, but certain requirements must be met.The BOR has hydropower generation on 58 dams These include:in the western United States. Most of these gen-eration facilities were constructed more than 50 • The determination that an opportunity isyears ago and some more than 75 years ago. The afforded for power development at a BORBOR has had an ongoing program of up-rating project;and improving the efficiencies at the dams for thepast 30 years, but there are still opportunities to • A finding that the LOPP will not impair theincrease the generation output of some of these project’s efficiency for irrigation purposes;facilities. In order to identify these opportunities,the BOR joined a study initiated by the U.S. Army • An LOPP contract term of up to 40 years;Corps of Engineers called the Hydropower Mod-ernization Initiative. This study included a recon- • A preference for LOPP contracting withnaissance-level review of capacity and efficiencey municipalities, public corporations and agen-opportunities at nearly all of the Federal hydro- cies, and Rural Electrification Act organiza-power generation facilities in the United States. tions; andThe Hydropower Modernization Initiative identi- • LOPP rates “sufficient to cover an appropri-fied 10 BOR plants with the potential for 67 MW ate share of the annual operation and main-in capacity increases and 36 BOR plants with the tenance cost, interest on an appropriate sharepotential to generate an additional 388,357 MWh of the construction investment at not lesswith the same amount of water through installa- than 3 per centum per annum, and such othertion of more efficient turbines. The results of this fixed charges as the Secretary deems proper.”study can be found at Additionally, all other environmental require- 3.5.6 Reclamation’s Lease ments must be met including NEPA and Endan- of Power Privilege gered Species Act compliance.The BOR has the ability to contract for the in- 3.5.7 Hydropower Facilitiesstallation of non-Federal hydropower generation on Federal Landson certain facilities, which differs from the Fed-eral Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) li- The Federal Power Act of 1920 authorized FERCcense process. Congress granted lease of power to permit the use of Federal lands by private enti-privilege (LOPP) authority in two BOR-wide ties and municipalities to develop hydropower fa-statutes: the Town Sites and Power Development cilities. These existing facilities, many of whichAct of 1906 and the Reclamation Project Act of were licensed in the 1940s and 1950s, are located1939. This contractual ability is currently ex- on public lands withdrawn by the Federal Powertended only to those projects where Congress au- Act.thorized the development of hydropower or it wasadministratively authorized to be a component of As license terms are nearing the end for a largea specific project. number of these facilities, the BLM, through32 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands needed to establish appropriate terms and condi- Environmentally Sustainable tions for proposed FERC hydropower licenses. Hydropower A primary means to expedite the licensing pro- cess is for non-Federal entities (e.g., license ap- On March 24, 2010, the Department of plicants) to work with resource agencies like the the Interior, the Department of Energy, USFS and the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Army Corps of Engineers signed a (NMFS) early in the licensing process and to pro- memorandum of understanding (MOU) that vide those agencies with all of the study informa- will allow the agencies to tion they need to make decisions. cooperate more closely and align priorities to support the development of There are approximately 200 FERC-licensed environmentally sustainable hydropower. projects on NFS lands with an installed capac- ity of about 16,000 MW. In the past decade, the The MOU represents a new approach USFS has participated in more than 100 license to hydropower development—a strategy proceedings. FERC-administered hydroelectric that can increase the production of license proceedings take about 5 years to com- clean, renewable power while avoiding or plete. The FERC licensing process is a highly regulated and time-intensive process requiring reducing environmental impacts and specialized skills, especially those related to wa- enhancing the viability of ecosystems. ter resource management. USFS staffs are active- The DOI will focus on increasing energy ly engaged in all license proceedings for projects generation at federally owned facilities and on NFS lands to ensure timely processing to meet explore opportunities for new development FERC regulatory deadlines and meet agency of low-impact hydropower. With better management responsibility for the lands under its coordination among Federal agencies, a jurisdiction. common-sense approach, and a focus on low-impact hydropower projects, we can Preliminary permits issued by FERC to applicants supply more clean power for our economy. to study a given site’s potential as a hydropower facility have increased significantly in the past few years. For example, there are 15 preliminaryparticipation in FERC’s re-licensing process, is permits for new hydropower development on theproviding input into the license review and ap- national forests in Alaska.proval process, and identifying applicable termsand conditions necessary to protect or enhance Many NFS lands have the necessary attributes tospecific resource values. contribute to the increase in hydropower produc- tion on Federal lands. These attributes includeThe USFS is also actively participating in FERC- many miles of perennial stream flow that dropadministered licensing proceedings for projects over significant elevations. Therefore, two likelyoccurring on NFS-administered lands to ensure options to increase capacity on NFS lands arethe adequate protection and utilization of the Fed- construction of new small projects and the con-eral reservation. In a process similar to that used struction and operation of pump-storage the BLM, the USFS is reviewing ongoing pro- Increased capacity via small projects (5 MW orcedures, seeking to reduce the time and resources less) would likely occur by constructing new fa-3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 33
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landscilities (diversions, penstocks, powerhouses, etc.) The hydropower MOU between the DOI, DOE,by retrofitting smaller turbines to licensed in- and Department of the Army recognizes that notstream flow releases, which are used to maintain every site is appropriate for new or increased hy-downstream aquatic conditions. Another option dropower production and that new hydropowerto increase small project capacity is by adding development must be environmentally sustain-new capacity at Federal facilities such as the BOR able and take into account the need to maintainand U.S. Army Corps of Engineer dams located healthy river ecosystems and our natural and cul-on lands administered by the USFS. It is difficult tural heritage. These overarching goals of theto estimate new hydropower production potential MOU should help to ensure protection of parkon NFS lands without knowing what measures resources.will be necessary to mitigate for project-inducedeffects. These mitigation measures, which may 3.5.9 Hydropower and thereduce power generation potential, include in- Fish and Wildlife Servicestream flows, fish passage facilities, sluice gatesto pass sediment, and other measures to main- Hydroelectric development can result in sig-tain functions and processes of streams flowing nificant, long-term effects on fish and wildlifethrough NFS lands. throughout a watershed. The FWS, working with other resource agencies, partners, and project de- 3.5.8 Hydropower and velopers, has developed a range of impact avoid- the National Park Service ance, minimization, and mitigation measures ap- plicable to a wide range of hydroelectric projects.While some hydroelectric dams do exist in NPS Among these measures are upstream and down-park units, the dams are owned and operated by stream fish passage facilities for migratory spe-other entities, and their construction either pre- cies, measures to operate project reservoirs thatdated the park unit’s establishment or was specifi- reduce the frequency and extent of water eleva-cally authorized by Congress. tion changes, and identification of instream flow releases for bypassed river reaches and areasThe NPS cooperates with other Federal agencies downstream of projects.and FERC to identify situations where proposedor existing hydropower projects may impact park The FWS actively engages in the review of bothunits. The NPS also provides technical assistance Federal and non-Federal hydroelectric projectson FERC hydropower licensing proceedings, re- as the principal agency responsible for provid-gardless of whether a park unit is impacted, with ing technical recommendations on fish passageemphasis on recommending recreational en- to FERC. Both types of projects are subject tohancements. the provisions of NEPA, the Clean Water Act, the Federal Power Act, and the Fish and Wildlife Co-The NPS anticipates that there may be proposals ordination Act, among others. Balancing energyfor increasing hydroelectric generating capac- production with the protection of instream flowsity (e.g., adding hydro to existing dams, pumped and fish is a characteristic of successful licensingstorage projects, and marine and hydrokinetic efforts. Bringing FWS expertise to the licensingprojects) that will have the potential to impact process facilitates that outcome.park resources and values even though the proj-ects will be located outside park boundaries.34 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands3.6 Offshore Renewable Energy REpower Systems 5M, the world’s largest wind turbine with a rated• The OCS holds significant renewable energy power of 5 MW and a 126-meter rotor resources that can contribute to meeting the diameter. Nation’s energy needs.• Offshore renewable energy resources in- clude many thermal and mechanical forms of energy. However, it is likely that in the foreseeable future, only ocean wind, wave, and current resources will be economically developable. Artist rendition of ocean current energy technology• Ocean wave and current resource estimates are significant, with great wave energy po- tential off the Pacific Northwest and ocean current potential off Florida.• Offshore wind development technology is more advanced than ocean wave and current technology, and OCS wind development is expected to contribute to the Nation’s energy portfolio before wave and current develop- ment.• The BOEMRE is Estimated Gross Offshore Wind moving forward with commercial Resources leasing processes for OCS wind GW by Depth (m) Region development off New England 0- 30 59.2 30 - 60 127.7 60 - 900 273.4 >900 0.0 the Atlantic coast. Mid Atlantic 165.6 181.6 59.7 56.6 S. Atlantic Bight 28.4 58.2 13.7 0.0 These leasing efforts California 2.3 4.8 130.5 277.9 would contribute to Pacific Northwest 7.5 19.2 188.1 121.0 Great Lakes 166.6 137.0 813.2 0.0 jointly announced Gulf of Mexico 0.0 12.3 54.7 0.0 Total 429.5 540.7 1,533.3 455.5 DOI and DOE Hawaii 0.8 1.4 24.9 123.6 deployment scenario of 10 GW of capacity by 2020. Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 35
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 3.6.1 Overview governors in an Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to help identify and address regionalUnder the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), issues in offshore wind development.BOEMRE is implementing a program that willallow leasing on the OCS for the development Currently, nine states on the Atlantic Coast areof renewable energy. For the foreseeable future, actively pursuing development of OCS wind re-OCS renewable energy activities are anticipated sources to help achieve renewable energy goals—to include electrical generation from wind and Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,hydrokinetic (ocean wave and ocean current) re- New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhodesources. Island, and Virginia. Industry is considering the potential for wind development offshore otherIn 2007, BOEMRE (MMS at the time) estab- Atlantic states—including Florida, Georgia, andlished a separate section, the Office of Alterna- South Carolina. The BOEMRE has establishedtive Energy Programs, dedicated to managing the intergovernmental task forces, with participationOCS renewable energy program. In addition, from Federal, state, tribal, and local governments,BOEMRE regional offices have hired and inte- to help facilitate commercial wind energy devel-grated staff for authorizing and overseeing OCS opment. The first step in the leasing process isrenewable energy program activities. the identification of a wind energy area and the issuance of a request for interest for each area inSoon after he came to office, Secretary Salazar order to determine whether to proceed with non-also made the commitment to finalize the review competitive or competitive lease processes.of the proposed Cape Wind Project in Federal wa-ters off the coast of Massachusetts. After a thor- The BOEMRE has exclusive jurisdiction forough review, including the Secretary’s personal managing all aspects of wind development on thevisit to the site and with neighboring tribal and OCS. For hydrokinetic renewable energy projects,coastal jurisdictions, BOEMRE approved the de- BOEMRE has exclusive jurisdiction to issuevelopment with conditions in April 2010, issuing leases, easements, and rights-of-way on the OCS,a lease in October 2010. and FERC has exclusive jurisdiction to issue li- censes and exemptions.On November 23, 2010, Secretary Salazarlaunched the “Smart from the Start” wind energy In effect, BOEMRE will convey the land rightinitiative for the Atlantic OCS to facilitate siting, (lease or grant) on the OCS for hydrokinetic proj-leasing, and construction of new offshore wind ects, and FERC will manage the construction andprojects. The initiative is expected to spur the operation of the generating facility. The roles ofrapid and responsible development of this abun- both agencies with respect to hydrokinetic renew-dant renewable resource. The initiative will also able energy development on the OCS are delin-allow BOEMRE to: identify priority wind energy eated in an MOU dated April 9, 2009.areas for potential development; improve coor-dination with Federal, state, and local partners; The BOEMRE nonhydrokinetic OCS renewableand accelerate the leasing process. The leasing energy program consists of four major compo-process is being simplified, enabling leases to be nents: (1) lease or grant issuance and adminis-issued as early as this year. Further, Secretary tration, (2) site assessment, (3) construction andSalazar has convened interested Atlantic coastal operations, and (4) decommissioning.36 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands General OCS Renewable Energy Lease Process Two Types of Renewable Energy Leases Subpart B (1) Commercial Lease: up to 25-year lease for full-scale commercial energy production (2) Limited Lease: up to 5-year lease BOEMRE Task Forces for site assessment, technology Preliminary Outreach BOEMRE may invite governors and testing, etc. (no right for BOEMRE encourages companies local government executives, as well subsequent commercial to contact local, state, regional, and as other federal agencies, to join in a operations). national stakeholders in advance task force or other joint planning or of pursuing necessary leases and coordination agreement relating to approvals. potential renewable energy prelease, leasing and postlease activities. Acquisition of Lease and Competitive Lease Issuance Submission of Plan Site Assessment Plan (SAP) or SAP Combined with Noncompetitive Lease Issuance • BOEMRE prepares NEPA and other Construction and Operations Plan • Company submits a lease request. environmental compliance (COP) for Commercial Lease • Within 60 days after BOEMRE documentation. or General Activities Plan (GAP) issues a determination that there is • BOEMRE consults with affected for Limited Lease no competitive interest, company states and localities, federal agencies Subparts B And F submits a SAP or SAP/COP for a and others during environmental commercial lease, or a GAP for a documentation and lease sale limited lease. processes. Environmental Compliance • NEPA and other environmental • BOEMRE prepares Coastal Zone Documentation* compliance documentation for lease Management Act (CZMA) consistency BOEMRE conducts necessary reviews and plan. determination. for National Environmental Policy Act, • BOEMRE distributes lease request • Within 6 months after acquiring a Endangered Species Act, Marine and plan and consults with states lease, lessee must submit a SAP or Mammal Protection Act, Clean Water and localities, federal agencies and combined SAP/COP for a Act, Clean Air Act, etc. others. commercial lease, or a GAP for a • Company prepares CZMA limited lease. consistency certification for plan. • BOEMRE prepares NEPA and other BOEMRE Decision environmental compliance documentation for plans, if necessary. • Before the end of the site assessment • BOEMRE distributes SAP, SAP/COP Submission of COP for term, lessee must submit a COP. or GAP to interested parties and Commercial Lease • BOEMRE conducts NEPA and other consults during process. (If Not Previously Submitted) environmental compliance • Lessee prepares CZMA consistency Subpart F documentation for COP, if necessary. certification for SAP, SAP/COP or • BOEMRE distributes COP and GAP. consults with states and localities, BOEMRE Decision federal agencies and others. • Lessee prepares CZMA consistency • Lessee conducts activities as certification for COP. approved in approved plan. Facility Design, Fabrication, • if substantial revision of the plan is Installation necessary, lessee submits to Subpart G • Lessee submits detailed information BOEMRE and BOEMRE distributes on plans to remove a facility. to states and localities, federal • BOEMRE distributes application to Submission of agencies, and others for necessary states and localities, federal environmental and other reviews. Decommissioning Application agencies and others. • BOEMRE conducts additional NEPA Subpart I • BOEMRE conducts additional NEPA and other environmental compliance and other environmental reviews, if documentation, if necessary. BOEMRE Decision necessary. Decommissioning Activities Lessee decommissions as approved by BOEMRE* Environmental compliance documentation will be as comprehensive as possible as early in the process as practicable. For example, if an applicant nominates an area for lease and submits a combined SAP/COP along with its nomination, BOEMRE will conduct one comprehensive environmental review covering lease issuance, proposed SAP activities, and proposed COP activities. Thus, subsequent additional reviews may tier off the initial comprehensive review and focus on specific new issues.3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 37
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsThe BOEMRE program regarding hydrokinetic April 2009. The regulations have been and willprojects consists mainly of the first two compo- continue to be augmented by explanatory guide-nents listed above, with FERC managing con- lines developed by BOEMRE.struction and operations and decommissioning.However, BOEMRE will maintain decommis- 3.6.4 Programmatic Environmental Reviewsioning requirements through the leases and The BOEMRE determined that establishment ofgrants it issues. the OCS renewable energy program and develop- ment of the regulatory framework constituted aThe DOI and BOEMRE are implementing the major Federal action that may have a significantoffshore renewable energy program consistent impact upon the environment within the mean-with the President’s National Ocean Policy. For ing of NEPA. Therefore, BOEMRE prepared aexample, the assessment of wind energy areas PEIS to evaluate the environmental impacts ofunder the “Smart from the Start” initiative uses this broad agency action that sets the stage for po-principles of coastal and marine spatial planning, tential site-specific actions. Since the focus of theincluding comprehensive interagency and inter- PEIS is on the program, it is expected that subse-departmenal coordination, and these efforts will quent NEPA documents prepared for site-specificplay a crucial role in informing coastal and ma- OCS renewable energy projects will tier from therine spatial planning bodies. PEIS and the resulting record of decision. 3.6.2 Public Involvement The BOEMRE completed the PEIS in November 2007 and issued a record of decision on Decem-The EPAct requires BOEMRE to provide public ber 21, 2007. Following completion of the re-notice and consider public comments concern- cord of decision, the DOI committed to complet-ing any proposed OCS renewable energy lease, ing comprehensive regulations for authorizingeasement, or right-of-way. Provisions for pro- and managing all renewable energy activities onviding public notice and input are included in the the OCS. The record of decision also adopted in-BOEMRE OCS renewable energy framework. terim policies and best management practices toAlso, public input may be provided through rel- apply to the program.evant environmental review processes conductedunder NEPA. 3.6.5 Impact Mitigation 3.6.3 Policy and Regulatory Framework The BOEMRE regulatory framework provides for submission and consideration of relevant en-As required by the EPAct, BOEMRE promul- vironmental information throughout the life ofgated regulations necessary to carry out the OCS an OCS renewable energy project—from leaserenewable energy program. The regulations were or grant issuance to site assessment, construc-developed in consultation with relevant Federal tion, and operation to decommissioning of facili-agencies, affected state and local governments, ties. As shown in the General OCS Renewablethe renewable energy industry, nongovernmental Energy Lease Process, compliance with NEPA,organizations, and other interested and affected the Coastal Zone Management Act, and other rel-parties in a rulemaking process that took longer evant laws is required, and appropriate mitigationthan 3 years to complete. The OCS renewable measures are developed through leasing and planenergy framework was issued as 30 CFR 285 in approval processes and coordination efforts.38 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsThe PEIS record of decision adopted a range of cial wind projects on the Atlantic OCS, andmitigation measures to avoid or minimize en- BOEMRE will formally consult on those projectsvironmental harm associated with OCS renew- as required by the Endangered Species energy activity. These measures include 15policies relating to issues such as project siting, The FWS Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisoryrequired consultations, socioeconomic consider- Committee’s charter does not apply to wind devel-ations, and adaptive management. The adopted opment on the OCS. However, in the event thatmeasures also include 52 best management prac- the committee formulates recommended practicestices that may be incorporated as binding lease or for onshore development that may be appropriategrant stipulations and used to monitor and enforce for application offshore, BOEMRE would con-compliance. Under its adaptive management ap- sider and adopt such practices, as warranted. Theproach, BOEMRE will employ certification and FWS and BOEMRE have also signed an MOU toverification processes applying observed operat- implement the Migratory Bird Treaty experiences to the adjustment of mitigationand monitoring activities on a case-by-case basis. 3.6.8 Protecting Coastal Units of the NOAA and the National Park 3.6.6 Interagency Coordination and National Wildlife Refuge SystemsThe EPAct requires BOEMRE to consult with rel- Under the EPAct, BOEMRE’s renewable energyevant Federal departments and agencies in autho- development on the OCS is precluded withinrizing OCS renewable energy activity. The table the boundaries of any unit of the National Parkin Appendix 5 lists the relevant agencies and their System, National Wildlife Refuge System, anyroles in the OCS renewable energy program. The national monument, and any unit of the NationalBOEMRE is in the process of developing guide- Marine Sanctuary System administered by thelines and agreements, such as MOUs, for efficient NOAA. The NPS, FWS, NOAA, and BOEMREconsultation and coordination with a number of are also working together to address and avoidthese agencies. adverse impacts to park and refuge resources and values caused by activities outside the boundaries 3.6.7 U.S. Fish and Wildlife of these areas. These agencies are also participat- Service and National Marine Fisheries ing in intergovernmental task forces associated Service Consultation with proposed Atlantic wind projects. As con- flicts are identified, additional coordination willThe BOEMRE must consult with the FWS and be needed. By working together at the earliestthe NMFS to ensure that proposed OCS renew- stages of planning and permitting processes, theable energy actions are not likely to jeopardize NPS, FWS, NOAA, and BOEMRE can take thethe continued existence of any species listed at necessary steps to protect our Nation’s naturalthe Federal level as endangered or threatened or and cultural heritage, which includes migratoryresult in the destruction or adverse modification and non-migratory species in parks and refuges.of critical habitat designated for such species. 3.6.9 DecommissioningOfficials of the FWS, as well as the NMFS,are participating in the intergovernmental The BOEMRE regulatory framework providestask forces established to consider commer- that all facilities, including pipelines, cables,3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands 39
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsand other structures and obstructions, must be jointly and individually responsible for meetingremoved when they are no longer used for op- decommissioning obligations.erations, but no later than 1 year after the termi-nation of the lease or grant. However, there are 3.6.10 Bondingalso provisions for allowing facilities to remain inplace for alternate use. Decommissioning infor- The BOEMRE renewable energy program re-mation is required for any activities that involve quires lease-specific bonding based on the stage ofa structure, and that information is considered by the project and the level of activities on the lease.BOEMRE in setting appropriate financial assur- Demonstration of financial assurance is requiredance amounts. Lessees must provide a general prior to issuance of a lease. A supplemental bonddescription of their decommissioning concepts based on the complexity, number, and locationand methodologies in their plan filings. In many of any facilities involved is required prior to be-cases, an actual decommissioning may not occur ginning site assessment activities. Based on theuntil more than 20 years later. Therefore, a sub- construction and operation plan for the project, ansequent decommissioning application detailing additional supplemental bond or financial assur-plans and activities will be required 2 years be- ance is required based on the complexity, number,fore the end of the lease or grant. The BOEMRE and location of facilities involved in the plannedwill compare the decommissioning application activities and commercial operation. Prior to in-to the general concepts described previously in stallation of any facilities, the BOEMRE requiresapproved plans to determine whether additional a decommissioning bond based on anticipated de-environmental or technical reviews are necessary. commissioning costs.Co-lessees, operators, and grant holders are all40 3.0 Overview of Renewable Energy Resources on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 4.0 Onshore Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values Congressional Direction: The conferees direct the Department of the Interior to submit a report in consultation with the Forest Service on the criteria used for siting renewable energy projects, including the extent to which protection of scenic landscapes, ridgetops, water resources, habitat including that for endangered species, and shorelines will be considered. House Report 111-316, Renewable Energy and Public Lands4.1 Overview renewable energy options on public lands and in Federal waters and quickly implemented pro-Delivering renewable and conventional energy, grams to consider specific renewable energy de-in balance with protecting other resources and velopment opportunities. It has also implementedvalues, is central to the mission of the agencies new oil and gas and coal development oversighttasked with managing public lands and resources. measures (see chapter 5). While moving towardsThe processes for resource planning and protec- this exciting agenda on public lands, the DOI un-tion in the course of energy development—con- derstands that along with best management prac-ventional or renewable—are similar and are tices, investment in both baseline and continuedpresented in this chapter. It is difficult for the bu- research to reduce uncertainty in our predictionsreaus—onshore and offshore—to assess past im- of impacts is critical as industry grows to meetpacts of renewable energy because there has been our energy needs.such limited renewable energy development onpublic lands and the OCS—only a few thousand The DOI’s renewable energy strategy, as embod-acres of public lands affected by geothermal and ied in specific initiatives such as the onshore re-wind development. newable energy project “fast-track” review and its determination to move forward with offshoreThe President and the Congress have laid out im- wind energy development in the Atlantic region,portant goals intended to help the Nation meet its is directed toward (1) identification of areasenergy needs. These include energy efficiency, where renewable energy potential is significantdevelopment of a variety of domestic energy but would create the least resource conflict andsources, investigation and implementation of environmental impact, and (2) greater attention tonew energy technologies, and production of en- the responsible and responsive review of specificergy from onshore and offshore public lands and project proposals, within the Department’s areaswaters. of responsibility.The DOI, under Secretary Salazar’s leadership, Through this historic Departmentwide effort, 12has both jump-started its exploration of possible renewable energy projects on public lands were 41
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsapproved in 2010. When completed, these proj- its first geothermal lease in Colorado and ap-ects will have an installed capacity of almost proved plans for five geothermal wells on leases4,000 MW of energy, generate enough energy to in Idaho.power as many as one million American homes,and create thousands of construction and opera- Similarly, under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership,tional jobs. the USDA is taking major steps forward with renewable energy production from the Nation’sThese commercial-scale initiatives include the forests and farms. The USDA renewable ener-first solar project ever permitted on public lands gy strategy is administered through a variety ofand what will be the largest solar project in the USDA agencies and programs and emphasizesworld. energy conservation, sustainable energy feed- stock production and management, renewableThe DOI’s 2010 onshore renewable energy ac- energy technology development and deploymentcomplishments include: through research and development, outreach and education, and financial assistance.Solar: Approval by Secretary Salazar of pro-posals for nine commercial-scale solar energy 4.1.1 Renewable Energy:plants in California and Nevada that will have Organizational Improvementsan installed capacity totaling nearly 3,700 MWhof power and are expected to create thousands Within the BLM, interdisciplinary project teamsof new jobs in the construction, operation, and designed to specifically handle given project ap-maintenance of these new facilities. Several of plications will be responsible for processing ap-these projects will take advantage of American plications, applying siting criteria, consultingRecovery and Reinvestment Act incentives, ei- with other stakeholders, completing environ-ther through the Treasury grant program or the mental analysis, and ultimately recommendingDOE loan guarantee program. These projects whether to approve or deny a project.will also provide mitigation funding and policydirection expected to help assure the survival of The BLM has experienced a significant increasekey species such as the desert tortoise. in applications and interest in the development of wind, solar, and geothermal energy resourcesIn addition, the DOI and DOE have joined forces and associated electrical transmission systemsto develop a 25-mile square solar demonstration on public lands. These proposals have created azone on Federal lands in Nevada to demonstrate major workload by demanding commitment andcutting-edge solar energy technologies. resources for the timely and consistent processing of applications.Onshore Wind Energy: Approval of a 150-MWproject in Nevada. The DOI manages 20.6 mil- Secretarial Order 3283 provided direction to es-lion acres of public lands with wind potential in tablish coordination offices to facilitate the per-11 western states. mitting of renewable energy projects. The BLM has established renewable energy coordinationGeothermal Energy: Approval of two geother- offices (RECO), similar in concept to the oil andmal projects in Nevada that together will produce gas pilot offices authorized under the Energy Pol-about 79 MW of energy. The BLM also offered icy Act of 2005, to support the permitting of envi-42 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsronmentally responsible wind, solar, geothermal, and to provide additional renewable energy staffand transmission projects on public lands. in the other states for the FY 2009 balance. TheThe creation of these offices has given the BLM BLM also received a $16.1 million increase in thea greater ability to focus resources on process- 2010 Interior Appropriations Act for the BLM re-ing renewable energy development and electric newable energy program, including $11.1 milliontransmission rights-of-way applications on pub- to cover the full-year costs of the RECO staffinglic lands. These offices will initially include ap- and $5 million to fund regional EISs (four solarpropriate multidisciplinary BLM staff to process and one wind).these applications and will eventually includeadditional resources from other Federal and state 4.1.2 Priority Renewable Energy Projectsagencies to assist in processing the applications. “The BLM is committed to giving priorityThe BLM has set up RECOs in Arizona, Califor-nia, Nevada, and Wyoming because the majority to renewable energy projects thatof the existing workload for renewable energy ap- are smart from the start and will helpplications and projects is located in these states. diversify this country’s energy portfolioIn addition, the BLM has provided funding for ad- in an environmentally responsibleditional resources and staff in states with smaller, manner. The process of screeningbut significant, renewable energy workloads. Allof the staff provide cross-servicing to other states for priority projects is about focusingwhen needed. The RECOs in Arizona, California, our staff and resources on the mostNevada, and Wyoming are staffed and have filled promising renewable energy projects.”106 positions with reassignments or new selec-tions to support the processing of renewable en- BLM Director Bob Abbeyergy and transmission applications. A total of 35additional renewable energy support personnelhave been identified in the other states. In 2009, the BLM established a list of priority en- ergy projects (referred to as “fast track” projects)The BLM also set up a National Renewable En- for expedited application review and processing.ergy Office to provide program oversight, coor- This set of priority projects were those that haddination, and policy direction for the RECOs. demonstrated sufficient progress toward the envi-The national office is working with other Federal ronmental review and public participation processagencies and offices at the national level, and to potentially be cleared for approval by Decem-Congress on legislative, regulatory, and policy ber 2010, thus making them eligible for economicissues. The National Renewable Energy Office, stimulus funding under the American Recoverylocated in the BLM headquarters office in Wash- and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. In 2009,ington, D.C., currently consists of six existing the BLM approved one geothermal priority proj-employees, including a renewable energy team ect, and in 2010, it approved nine solar, one wind,leader and a program manager for each of the re- and one geothermal priority project.newable energy and transmission programs. The BLM is following the same process for prior-The BLM reprogrammed $11 million in June ity projects in 2011. Although staff and resources2009 to expedite the establishment of the RECOs are focused on priority renewable energy proj-4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 43
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsects, all renewable energy projects proposed for further data collection for golden eagles. The co-BLM-managed lands will receive the entire envi- ordination has occurred at multiple levels withinronmental review required by NEPA. the agencies, expediting information transfer and decisionmaking.The BLM is also coordinating closely with land-managing bureaus, such as the FWS and NPS, Priority Projectsin the review process. As an active partner, theFWS has made every effort to respond to BLM The BLM’s ongoing collaboration with requests and provide species and habitat informa- the NPS and FWS and emphasis on tion as early in the review process as possible. early consultation were instrumental in Continued coordination during preparation of the designation of additional priority best management practices and mapping effortsto delineate areas not suitable for development energy projects announced by the BLM will enhance the balanced review of energy sit- in March, avoid impacts to natural resources, and re-duce delays during project-specific review. 2011 Renewable Priority ProjectsSpecifically, the BLM, FWS, NPS, DOD, BIA, (19 Total)and departmental solicitors, as well as the depart-mental liaisons to the DOE and DOD, participate Solar Projectsin weekly discussions and strike team meetings Arizona • 1to address priority project issues. This coordina- California • 8tion has allowed the agencies to address potentialconcerns earlier in the process. For example, is- Wind Projectssues such as golden eagle nesting near proposed California • 3wind power facilities and the presence of tortoisecritical habitat have the potential to cause delays Oregon • 2in project permitting that would impact the de-velopers’ ability to meet the deadline for ARRA Geothermal Projectsfinancial incentives. However, early and concen- Nevada • 4trated agency coordination has resulted in a re- Utah • 1duction of impacts to tortoise habitat and allowed44 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Memorandum of Understanding 4.2 Onshore Energy Projects between the Secretary of the 4.2.1 Siting Projects to Interior and the Governor of Protect Resources and Values California to Expedite Renewable Energy Development in California In carrying out their multiple-use missions, the BLM and USFS are dedicated to ensuring bal- In October 2009, the State of California and anced management that serves the many diverse the Department of the Interior reached an public interests and values associated with the public lands and resources. This includes the agreement to cooperatively develop long-term protection of scenic landscapes, ridgetops, shore- renewable energy plans and to guide eligible lines, and other visual resources, as well as re- projects through state and Federal permitting sources that are of cultural, ecological, economic, processes that can receive 30-percent Federal historic, and recreational value. tax credits under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Balanced management of the energy resources on Federal lands is achieved through a variety of ex- The memorandum of understanding commits isting statutory and regulatory mechanisms. With the Federal Government and the state to the growing importance of energy development a science-based process for reviewing, from the Federal lands, with advancing technol- approving, and permitting renewable energy ogy, and with the emerging role of renewable en- ergy in the Nation’s energy policy, the laws, regu- applications in California. The agreement also lations, and policies that conserve the resources facilitates the identification of transmission and values of the public lands continue to evolve. corridors by December 2010 and includes the Uncertainty requires continued diligence to mon- Department of Defense (DOD) in the process itoring and research to ensure the sustainability of because some transmission lines may need ecosystems on Federal lands while also ensuring to cross DOD lands. Agencies within the DOI our Nation’s energy future. participating in the agreement are the Bureau The resource values, uses, and issues associated of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and with public lands are complex and vary from one Wildlife Service. State agencies involved are geographic area to the next. These factors, along the California Energy Commission and the with the public’s ever-increasing interest in the California Department of Fish and Game. conservation and use of the public lands—includ- ing protection of our Nation’s natural and cultural In addition to a broad commitment to work heritage—requires a deliberate and methodical together, the parties of the MOU also agree to approach in achieving land management deci- expedite projects that are on track to break sions capable of satisfying America’s diverse in- ground by the end of 2010. Qualified projects terests and values. that begin construction by December 1, 2011, The following pages discuss the multiple steps are eligible for economic stimulus funding of established comprehensive land management under the ARRA. programs that together constitute the siting pro-4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 45
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landscess used to evaluate proposals for energy devel- The DOI, in conjunction with the DOE, has con-opment. Siting criteria are dictated by legislative ducted a series of PEISs to facilitate renewablemandates, regulations, policy statements, land energy development on public lands that addressuse planning decisions, and environmental miti- wind energy development, geothermal energygation reached through environmental analysis. development, and energy transmission corridors across Federal lands. The wind, geothermal, andFrom planning decisions and land use authori- West-wide Energy Corridor EISs are complete,zations to final reclamation and closure, energy and a solar energy development PEIS is now be-projects are managed through every aspect of the ing prepared and scheduled for completion in lateland management agency’s established programs. 2011.Any discussion of siting criteria begins with anunderstanding of this basic process. The PEISs estimate renewable energy potential, identify lands available for development, estab- 4.2.2 Land Use Planning lish best management practices, amend land use plans to enable future development, and provideUnder Federal mandate, Federal resource man- the broad-scaled environmental analysis neededagement agencies must maintain an inventory of to streamline site-specific NEPA analysis.the lands and resources and develop, maintain,and revise land use plans, as needed over time. Land use planning includes decision criteria that are specific to energy development and transmis-• Land use plans provide the basic direction sion projects. For example, the planning process and guidance for the agencies’ day-to-day and the ultimate land use plan decision will often management of public lands. address the following types of determinations re- garding energy development:• Land use plans also present an opportunity to account for the need to protect special status • Oil, gas, coal, and geothermal resources – areas, including those under the management Areas open and closed to leasing, including of other agencies. any constraints necessary to achieve desired conditions for multiple resources;• Land use plans are subject to review under NEPA, requiring the development of EISs • Transmission, wind, and solar resources for major Federal actions (including most – Identification of existing and potential land use planning proposals and most energy development areas, avoidance areas, or other development projects). constraints necessary to achieve desired con- ditions for multiple resources; andWhen considering a new application for an en-ergy-related project proposal, the land manager • Water-energy nexus - Consideration mustensures the proposal will be consistent with the be given to the competition between energyarea’s land use plan and ensures the protection development needs and water constraints,of nearby special status areas. The land manager particularly in areas potentially impacted bymust also ensure consistency with existing NEPA climate change or prolonged and verify the areas or conditions forwhere, when, and how energy development and/ This land use planning process is a critical firstor transmission can be considered on public lands. step in managing public resources with sensitiv-46 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Energy Siting and Development Process on Public Lands Land Use Planning: Lands designated as Leasing: opened or closed to Note: Oil, natural gas, Industry submits Expression energy development geothermal, and coal of Interest for tracts to the and/or transmission. resources only. BLM. Public Participation and Review. Lease Sale: Parcel Review: Qualified parcels are offered Field Office conducts all with applicable restrictions necessary reviews identified in the land use plan. (environmental and land use Public Participation and plan) to determine if tracts Review. may be leased. Application Review: Coordinated Review of Application includes: Approval: • Pre-application The BLM approves the • Plan of Development application with the necessary Application terms and conditions, including • Coordination with other Submittal: agencies requirements for resource Industry submits reclamation and/or restoration. • Environmental Review (NEPA), application and Plan Administrative review and appeal most often includes a public of Development is available to the public. comment containing all surface • Cultural Review use information. • Wildlife/Biological Review Concurrence Public notification may • Production Facility Review & Consultation: be available. • Required Documentation Depending on the lands and resources Public Participation and Review. affected, interagency consultation may be necessary. Termination: Final Reclamation Project Operations Project Industry is relieved of and Abandonment: and Interim Development: all liabilities only after all All disturbed lands are Reclamation: Construction must comply disturbed lands have been set on a course for All operational operations, with the terms and returned to a condition eventual ecosystem including the reclamation conditions of the approved acceptable to the surface restoration. of disturbed lands not land use authorization. management agency. necessary for operational purposes, must comply with terms and conditions. Inspection, Enforcement, and Monitoring: The BLM conducts various types of inspections at each of these stages to ensure industry is in compliance with the terms and conditions of the approved permit. In addition, the BLM also monitors the environmental impacts of these activities to ensure all mitigation is accomplishing the desired conservation outcomes they were designed to achieve.4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 47
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsity toward special landscapes, coastal areas, and may arise from multiple use management. Forridgelines—resources specifically identified in example, if energy development will potentiallythe congressional mandates for this report. Land conflict with habitat conservation for a givenuse planning is also the first step toward devel- wildlife species, spatial and temporal constraintsoping an inventory of land use values and iden- or specific reclamation standards may be imposedtifying special concerns. It is a critical juncture on future energy development proposals to meetin accounting for the needs of adjacent state and the goals and objectives for wildlife habitat andprivate lands and in protecting nearby special sta- energy development. Or, if potential energy de-tus areas, like national parks, national trails, and velopment will conflict with treasured viewsheds,national wildlife refuges. an area may be determined inappropriate for en- ergy development, and an alternative, more suit-Energy production can serve as a catalyst for able area may be proposed.nearby growth—from service facilities and work-ers at the facilities to the evolvement of other In the absence of alternatives for protecting con-development due to the proximity of energy pro- servation values, the land use plan may admin-duction. Of course, land use decisionmaking on istratively ensure resource protection throughadjacent non-Federal lands is the responsibility of special designations, such as ACEC designation,states and localities, but energy development pol- which may close an area to public use or placeicies on Federal lands can influence the develop- limitations on public access and activity.ment on non-Federal lands. Public involvementand interagency coordination are important steps 4.2.4 Environmental Reviewfor evaluating the potential impacts, both positiveand negative, of Federal energy projects on non- As discussed above, establishing a land use planFederal lands and resources. is a major Federal action requiring the prepara- tion of an EIS pursuant to NEPA. Therefore, the 4.2.3 Public Involvement agencies must analyze and disclose to the public and Conflict Resolution the potential environmental effects that may result from the decisions made in a land use plan. ThePublic involvement is a significant element of the analysis also evaluates the effectiveness of anyland use planning process to identify the appropri- mitigation measures that are being considered toate multiple uses of public lands. Public involve- offset potential environmental impacts. The goalment includes interested stakeholders, including is to select the alternative that best represents bal-Federal, state, tribal, and local governments and ance between resource conservation and use, andthe general public, user groups, and industry who responds to the Nation’s various with the land manager. Land use plans aredeveloped using an interdisciplinary approach Proposals found to be compatible with the man-that balances the short- and long-term benefits agement direction provided in a land use plan areof competing values and uses. The mandate for then subjected to a permitting process. The pro-multiple use on public lands invites consideration cess generally follows fairly consistent steps toand protection for a wide variety of uses. ensure the proper siting, mitigation of impacts, and establishment of appropriate terms and con-The land use plan is the manager’s first oppor- ditions a proponent must satisfy for the use oftunity to resolve potential resource conflicts that public lands and resources. The following dis-48 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landscussion describes, in general terms, the complex The BLM’s screening and prioritization processprocess involved at the site-specific level when will help direct development to low-conflict areassiting and mitigating the impacts from energy- such as previously disturbed sites, areas adjacentrelated projects. to disturbed sites, and locations that minimize construction of new roads and/or transmission 4.2.5 Permit Applications and Review lines.Prior to implementing energy-related projects In all cases, energy development and transmis-on public lands, the project proponent must first sion proposals must undergo an official reviewobtain authorization to do so. Depending on the involving matters pertaining to land tenure, landtype of energy source being developed, issuance use plan conformance, other uses already autho-of a Federal lease may first be required. rized, as well as another level of NEPA environ- mental review to evaluate the site-specific im-The resources that require the issuance of a Fed- pacts associated with the development proposal.eral lease include oil, natural gas, geothermal, No ground-disturbing activities may take placeand coal. Wind and solar generation facilities and until the land manager gives approval.transmission lines do not require the issuance ofa lease but are approved in the form of a land use Both the BLM and the USFS have detailed regu-authorization under Title V of the Federal Land lations prescribing specific steps for permittingPolicy and Management Act. However, rights- processes that, although subject to individualof-way approval can include a competitive pro- variances from one energy resource to the next,cess subject to payment of bonus bids similar to follow a similar course of action. These process-programs with leasing requirements. es require proponents to submit detailed informa- tion regarding the land uses involved with theirApplication Screening development proposal, also known as a plan of development, which will then be used during theIn February 2011, Secretary Salazar announced a environmental and land use plan conformance re-series of additional initiatives to encourage rapid view conducted by the local land manager whenand responsible development of renewable ener- processing a from public lands. Among the initiatives is ad-ditional guidance by the BLM for pre-application Before approving an energy project, an interdis-and screening of proposed solar and wind energy ciplinary team of resource specialists will con-projects. duct necessary on-the-ground assessments to de- termine the presence of and potential impacts toTo ensure early coordination with Federal land other resource values within or in proximity to amanagers and stakeholders before significant re- given project. Each proposal must conform withsources are committed to processing right-of-way the management requirements prescribed in theapplications for solar or wind energy projects, land use plan, and each proposal must conformthe BLM will accept applications only after pre- with any additional requirements or mitigationapplication meetings have been held. This mea- measures that may be required as a result of site-sure will help screen out projects with the most specific environmental analysis under NEPA.serious potential environmental conflicts, whileplacing priority on applications with the highest Following completion of the environmental andlikelihood of success in the permitting process. permitting process, the applicant will receive a4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 49
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsuse authorization that describes all uses that have that promote sustainable water strategies. Thebeen approved related to a commercial energy energy/water nexus is identified in the order anddevelopment project, or the application can be acknowledges that DOI bureaus should identifydenied. An approved use authorization will in- how much water is used for various energy pro-clude onsite access roads, electrical and distribu- duction technologies and incorporate such infor-tion facilities, and other support facilities. The mation into decisionmaking on the developmentapproval will define which lands are involved in of energy and water resources. Federal agenciesthe development and specific descriptions on how responsible for approving new energy develop-the project will be configured. ment need to account for the demand that this development places on available water suppliesThe land use authorization also details: and assess the impact on surface and ground wa- ter quality.• Bonding and reclamation requirements; The total use of water for new renewable energy• Due diligence requirements; projects should be considered. The amount of us- age will depend on the specific technology pro-• Terms and conditions; and posed. This new demand needs to match avail- able water supplies. Both physical and legal• Use fees and rents. availability of water supplies are significant fac- tors. Also important is the quality of the avail-The siting process for energy projects includes able water supplies. Often low-quality, brack-consideration of special resource values such as: ish groundwater aquifers are locally available. However, energy production generally requires a• Visual resources – protection for scenic higher quality, fresh water supply. To meet this landscapes; requirement, water may need to be transported over significant distances or poor quality water• Wildlife and migratory birds; may need to be treated prior to use. The energy required to transport and/or treat required water• Cultural resources; and supplies should be factored into the overall net energy produced by the proposed development.• Endangered species. The responsibility to allocate water supplies is heldRecognizing the sensitivity of these special re- by states, and in much of the West, surface watersources, the Departments have established spe- supplies are already fully allocated. Groundwatercific processes and policies for their protection. appropriation laws vary by state. In some states, groundwater development rights lie with the land- 4.2.6 Water Resources owner, and in other states, groundwater devel- opment requires the issuance of state water useEnergy production and water supply are inex- permits. Federal agencies permitting new energytricably linked. Recognizing this relationship, development should take into account these stateon February 22, 2010, Secretary Salazar issued water allocation processes. Water quality impactsOrder 3297 directing DOI bureaus to adopt crite- may not be governed by existing regulatory re-ria that identify and support projects and actions gimes. Both the impact of these changing water50 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsuses and the time and risk that these changes rep- ally sensitive settings on public lands in a mannerresent should be considered when evaluating the that protects these qualities and values. The poli-feasibility of new energy production. cies encourage using basic landscape design prin- ciples for visually integrating proposed develop-Finally, sustainable water supply reflects the ment into the landscape setting. Designers useoverall water demand and supply condition. In the basic design elements of form, line, color, andany region, water is required for people, crops, texture to describe and evaluate landscapes andthe environment, and the economy. In drought then incorporate these qualities into the design ofyears, water supplies may already be inadequate landscape modifications. Changes in a landscapeto meet the cumulative demand for existing uses. that repeat the landscape’s basic elements are saidFurther, legal allocation of water often results in to be in harmony with original surroundings.certain uses having full supplies while other usesface shortage. New energy development needs tofit within these constraints. As new energy devel- Shared Viewshedsopment occurs on Federal lands, managers should Protecting Visual Resourcesseek opportunities that lead toward a sustainable The BLM acknowledges that its water future. administrative boundaries are often a part of an extended viewscape 4.2.7 Protecting Scenic Landscapes shared by adjacent land management While managing public lands for multiple use, jurisdictions, such as the NPS.Federal resource management agencies must en-sure that many different resource values are pro- The BLM visual resource inventory tected. Among these are scenic values of land- teams are actively contacting respective scapes that are treasured by all Americans. The NPS units and engaging with their Federal Land Policy and Management Act directs administrators to review the degree of the BLM to protect scenic values, maintain an in- visual sensitivity reaching beyond their ventory of scenic values, and minimize damage boundaries. The BLM assesses visual to scenic values. impacts, develops impact mitigation The BLM and USFS follow a systematic and strategies, and then incorporates that objective process for addressing visual impacts information during land use decision that may result from surface-disturbing activities making. (renewable energy, oil, gas, minerals, etc.) pro-posed for development on Federal public lands. The BLM is also reaching other The BLM established its current Visual Resource interested agencies in an attempt to Management (VRM) policy in the 1980s, which facilitate a common understanding stems from NEPA and the Federal Land Policy on the principles of visual resource and Management Act. The USFS’s Scenery management and implementation Management System (SMS) is similar in nature procedures to help achieve our and emphasis to the BLM’s VRM. respective land management The objective of the VRM and SMS programs is objectives. to manage areas of high scenic value and visu-4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 51
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Illustration of Visual Resource Management Concepts Structures and Color Selection The Standard Environmental Colors Proper color selection can Chart provides guidance on color dramatically reduce the visual options to visually adapt facilities presence of facilities that would into the landscape setting. otherwise dominate the landscape.52 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsThe VRM system involves inventorying scenic by the recent measures taken by the DOI for thevalues and establishing management objectives conservation of sage-grouse and their habitat.for those values during the resource managementplanning process. The BLM then evaluates pro- Where changes in wildlife habitat seem likely,posed activities to determine whether they con- efforts are focused on maintaining the quality ofform with the management objectives. The sys- such habitats or developing alternative habitattem also accounts for shared treasured landscapes areas for the priority species involved. Federalassociated with adjacent lands, which is a new wildlife programs regularly consult and coordi-innovation of the VRM system. For example, in nate with state fish and wildlife agencies in main-undertaking new visual resource inventories as taining credible and effective wildlife compo-part of the solar PEIS, the BLM is working close- nents for all resource development programs. Asly with the NPS to ensure that viewsheds associ- energy development is analyzed and approved,ated with parks are considered. operators are required to take a number of actions to ensure protection of wildlife values.Visual impact mitigation for energy facility sitinginvolves objective analysis of the visual charac- The following are examples of wildlife resourceter and natural landscape setting, development of management requirements for wind energy proj-land use objectives to help determine allowable ects. Similar requirements have been establishedvisual change, and monitoring energy develop- for other forms of energy development. Addi-ment compliance with the land use visual man- tional site-specific mitigation measures are devel-agement objectives. oped based on findings from NEPA analysis.For further discussion of the VRM program, see • Operators are required to review existingAppendix 6. information on species and habitats in the vicinity of the project area to identify poten- 4.2.8 Wildlife and Migratory Birds tial concerns. They will coordinate with the FWS, NMFS, and state agencies to obtainWith the increased demand for all forms of do- the most recent information on species andmestic energy production, wildlife resource man- habitats.agement will be one of the greatest challenges.While supporting development of domestic en- • Operators must conduct surveys for Fed-ergy resources, the American people rightfully eral and/or state-protected species and otherexpect Federal resource management agencies to species of concern (including special statuscontinue to provide adequate protection of wild- plant and animal species) within the projectlife and habitat. Thus, a principal objective in area and design the project to avoid (if pos-siting energy facilities is to avoid, minimize, or sible), minimize, or mitigate impacts to thesemitigate the impacts of energy development ac- resources. The BLM and USFS will reviewtivities on wildlife species, the strength of their survey plans and consult with the statepopulations, and the health of their habitat. wildlife agency, FWS, or NMFS prior to survey approval and implementation and willThe potential impacts of land use activities often prohibit the disturbance of any population ofdetermine the more immediate and near-term pri- federally listed plant species.orities for wildlife management, as demonstrated4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 53
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Conserving Sage-Grouse Habitat While guiding and managing new technologies to improve land use The map identifies important conventional and renewable energy planning and develop additional rangewide focal areas having projects, the DOI has expanded measures to conserve sage-grouse high-density occurrences of efforts with state, tribal, and local habitat while ensuring that energy greater sage-grouse and will be partners to identify lands that are production, recreational access, instrumental in identifying land vital to the survival of the greater and other uses of Federal lands uses that do not compromise sage-grouse to reduce impacts on continue as appropriate. these habitat areas. The BLM will the species. work with state fish and wildlife In November 2010, Secretary agencies to further refine the map In addition, the FWS recently Salazar announced the completion by incorporating additional specific announced a finding that the of a breeding bird density map for state-level data. greater sage-grouse warranted the greater sage-grouse that will listing as a threatened or serve as a critical tool for enhancing endangered species under the the sustainability of sage-grouse Endangered Species Act, but the populations. listing is precluded by higher priority listing actions. The map was developed by the BLM in coordination with the The BLM, which manages more Western Association of Fish and sage-grouse habitat than any other Wildlife Agencies, the FWS, and the government agency, announced Natural Resources Conservation guidance that will expand the Service. use of new science and mapping 54 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands• Operators of wind projects must evaluate avian and bat activity in the project area and Preserving Night Sky Integrity design the project to minimize or mitigate For obstacles more than 200 feet in height, the potential for bird and bat strikes. Scien- the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tifically rigorous avian and bat use surveys requires placement of continuous flashing will be conducted; the amount and extent lights at night to warn aircraft pilots of of ecological baseline data required will be danger. determined on a project basis. The BLM and FAA are researching and • If site studies show that the proposed place- ment of turbines would pose a significant evaluating the application of on-demand risk to raptors, turbines will be configured audio/visual warning systems technology as to avoid landscape features known to attract an alternative means to warn aircraft pilots raptors. of potential risk.• Operators must determine the presence of The research may identify alternatives that bat colonies and avoid placing turbines near will help preserve night sky integrity in known bat hibernation, breeding, and mater- rural landscape settings. nity/nursery colonies; in known migration corridors; or in known flight paths between This technology may also lead to colonies and feeding areas. opportunities for mitigating visibility of obstacles during daylight hours as well.• Operators must determine the presence of active raptor nests (i.e., raptor nests used during the breeding season). Measures to • Procedures will be developed to mitigate reduce raptor impact at a project site (e.g., potential impacts to special status species. minimize road cuts, maintain either no veg- Such measures could include avoidance, etation or non attractive plant species around relocation of project facilities or lay-down the turbines) are considered. areas, and/or relocation of special status spe- cies.• A habitat restoration plan must be developed to minimize or mitigate negative impacts on • Facilities and structures will be designed to vulnerable wildlife, while maintaining or en- discourage bird perching or nesting. For hancing habitat values for other species. The example, power lines and poles will be plan will identify revegetation, soil stabili- configured to minimize raptor mortality and zation, and erosion reduction measures that discourage raptor and raven nesting and must be implemented to ensure that all tem- perching. porary use areas are restored. The plan will also require that restoration occur as soon 4.2.9 Endangered Species Act as possible after completion of activities to Compliance reduce the amount of habitat converted at any one time and to speed up the recovery of For renewable and conventional energy devel- natural habitats. opment, a wildlife review assesses the impact of4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 55
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsproposed energy surface disturbance activities or operator fails to follow the permit conditions,on wildlife habitat, vegetation, and land cover by then corrective actions may be taken by the per-conducting onsite wildlife surveys or reviews of mitting Federal agency.contract wildlife survey information submittedby the project proponent. Under provisions of 4.2.10 Cultural ResourcesSection 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act, aFederal agency that permits, licenses, funds, or The Departments employ numerous measuresotherwise authorizes activities must consult with to protect our Nation’s cultural resources. Allthe FWS and/or NMFS to ensure that its actions proposed actions on Federal lands, including re-will not jeopardize the continued existence of any newable and conventional energy development,listed species. If listed species are present, the must comply with Federal laws, regulations, andFederal agency must determine whether the ac- policies protecting our collective heritage. Majortion may affect the species. laws include the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (specifically, Section 106), NEPA,A “may affect” determination includes those ac- and the Native American Graves Protection andtions that are not likely to adversely affect as well Repatriation those likely to adversely affect listed species.If the Federal agency determines that the action Each of these laws specifically addresses the pro-is not likely to adversely affect listed species, and tection of cultural resources. Section 106 of thethe FWS and/or NMFS concurs with that deter- NHPA, for example, directs Federal agencies tomination in writing, then no further consultation take into account the effect that any proposed ac-is required. If the Federal agency determines that tion may have on significant cultural resourcesthe action is likely to adversely affect listed spe- and to provide the Advisory Council on Historiccies, then it must request initiation of formal con- Preservation the opportunity to comment with re-sultation. The Federal agency, or its designated gard to such undertakings. The DOI and USDArepresentative, prepares a biological assessment have long-established policies and procedures todescribing the project, potential impacts of the comply with the NHPA and other pertinent lawsproject to federally listed species, and methods to and regulations, and to accomplish the consulta-avoid and minimize those impacts. Once the FWS tion necessary to fully comply with these man-and/or NMFS accepts the biological assessment dates in considering and protecting the culturalas complete, formal consultation begins, and the resources on their lands.FWS and/or NMFS prepares a biological opinion.The biological opinion is the document that states 4.2.11 Avoidance and Exclusion Areas:the opinion of the FWS and/or NMFS regarding National Parks andwhether or not the Federal action is likely to jeop- Other Protected Landsardize the continued existence of listed species orresult in the destruction or adverse modification Under Federal law, energy development is gen-of critical habitat. It also contains measures to erally not permitted within the boundaries of afurther reduce impacts to species and their habi- number of special status areas, such as nationaltats. These measures are often included in permit parks and designated wilderness areas.conditions in order for the operator and Federalagency to remain in compliance with the Endan- A matter of policy, the BLM and USFS do notgered Species Act. If the Federal action agency consider energy development on lands where56 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landssuch development is incompatible with specific process for DOD to review and comment on pro-resource values. Additional areas of land may be posed wind energy applications and for develop-excluded from development on the basis of find- ing mitigation measures to minimize impacts onings of resource impacts that cannot be mitigated military activities.and/or conflict with existing and planned multi-ple-use activities or land use plans such as: 4.2.13 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service• Critical habitat for threatened and endan- Project Participation gered species designated by the FWS• Rights-of-way exclusion and avoidance ar- Fish and Wildlife Service eas, no surface occupancy areas The FWS coordinates with the BLM, USFS,• Special recreation management areas other agencies, and the private sector on all types of energy projects and at multiple levels, includ-In addition, the BLM has recently issued guidance ing at the project, regional, and national levels.for pre-application and screening of proposed so- The FWS network of field offices provides on-lar and wind projects. Pursuant to this guidance, the-ground assistance with project planning andany proposed development located near or adja- impact assessment, including endangered speciescent to lands designated for protection—such as a consultation, while regional and Washington of-unit of the National Park System or the National fices provide coordination and policy guidance.Wildlife Refuge System—which may be adverse-ly affected by the proposed project, will be con- The BLM and FWS established jointly located of-sidered to have a high potential for conflict. fices under Section 365 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. These offices review oil and gas projects 4.2.12 Consultation Among Agencies on BLM lands. As described in the 2009 Report to Congress, the offices have reduced review timeThe consultation process includes other Federal of oil and gas extraction applications, improvedand state agencies, such as the state historic pres- Federal coordination, and reduced impacts to fishervation offices and the state fish and game agen- and wildlife and their habitats. The FWS staff hascies. These agencies provide valuable input into gained a technical understanding of oil and gasland use plans and project-specific review. The extraction not possible in standard field offices,site-specific environmental analysis for a project and BLM staff has direct and immediate access tois often one of the best opportunities for inter- FWS staff that also is not always possible in fieldagency consultation and usually includes a public offices. Based on this experience, the BLM andreview process. FWS anticipate expanding this concept of joint- ly located offices to include renewable energyFor example, consultation by the BLM with the sources. This will reduce interagency coordina-Department of Defense (DOD) has resulted in tion delays, particularly considering the backlogthe establishment of a wind energy protocol that of applications.outlines a framework for early cooperation andparticipation for assessing the impacts pertain- For example, early and concentrated coordinationing to the siting, construction, and operation of between the agencies has resulted in a reductionwind energy facilities. The protocol establishes a of impacts to tortoise habitat and further data col-4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 57
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landslection for golden eagles. The coordination has to ensure all aspects of a given project are imple-occurred at multiple levels within the agencies, mented according to the terms and conditions ofexpediting the transfer of information and deci- their approved permit. This includes all the miti-sion making. gation measures identified through the various levels of environmental review. If a violation isNational Park Service identified, the agencies will enforce compliance to ensure the proponent takes appropriate actionsWhile most units of the National Park System to abate the violation and return to compliance.and other areas under NPS management author-ity are protected by law from the siting of energy 4.2.15 Final Closure and Reclamationdevelopment on Federal lands and waters with-in their boundaries, they are not immune to the All proponents are required to reasonably demon-spillover effects of that development outside their strate that they possess the technical and financialboundaries. capability to carry out the projects proposed. They are also required to provide financial sureties thatThe NPS works with other agencies within the would compensate for any unreclaimed resourceDOI, other Federal agencies like the USFS, and damage or loss that may occur. This compensa-FERC to ensure that energy development occurs tion is accomplished through a bond. Each of thein appropriate locations using appropriate tech- Federal energy programs has regulatory bondingnologies. Where potential spillover effects to requirements that must be met prior to project ap-parks and other special areas are identified, the proval. The standards for these bonds vary fromNPS recommends that actions be taken to address one program and/or project to the next.them. Park protection concerns may include: ad-verse impacts to park water quality and quantity, Once a project has reached completion of its use-including ground water; air quality at the local ful life, proponents are required to complete fulland regional level; wildlife and wildlife habitat, reclamation to the satisfaction of the authorizedincluding wildlife migration corridors; views- officer. This typically includes removal of roadsheds; soundscapes; night skies; cultural resourc- and facilities, site stabilization, rehabilitation,es; and historic landscapes. and revegetation. Reclamation is not completeAs the Nation’s park expert, the NPS brings con- until approved by the authorized officer of the re-siderable expertise to bear in the decisionmak- spective land management processes of other agencies that could affectpark resources. Early consultation allows park 4.2.16 Coordinating withresource protection concerns to be raised early in Tribal Governmentsthe decisionmaking process, and creates greaterflexibility for identifying needed mitigation, in- Tribes, as independent governments, have thecluding alternative siting locations. right of consent for all development projects on tribal land. With this in mind, the DOI works 4.2.14 Inspection, Enforcement, across all its bureaus to assist tribes and individ- Monitoring, and Compliance ual Indian landowners with the development of their energy resources. Only when tribes seek ap-Following project approval, the land management proval for energy development projects that haveagencies perform a range of follow-up inspections the potential to impact trust resources, do DOI58 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsbureaus become directly involved in the process 4.3 Strategic Planning andof evaluating the potential impacts and determinehow and when the projects should move forward. Interdepartmental CoordinationIn these cases, the DOI has a trust responsibilityto ensure that any proposed projects are consis- for Renewable Energy Projectstent with all Federal statutory authorities relatedto the protection of the environment, cultural, and Congressional Direction:historical resources. Until the point that tribes The report should also provide a detailed seek approval, the DOI plays an advisory role strategic plan on how the Department working with tribes to provide technical assis- and the Forest Service will coordinate the tance to determine the extent and magnitude of development of such projects particularly potential energy resources, economic evaluation in areas where there is mixed ownership of of proposed development projects, and analysis Interior and Forest Service lands.of the long-term consequences to the natural andcultural environment of any potential develop- House Report 111-316, Renewablement in Indian country. Energy and Public LandsTo accomplish its trust responsibilities, all DOIbureaus have tribal liaisons who work directly 4.3.1 Overviewwith individual tribes regarding a range of tech-nical assistance areas. The DOI also regularly Although there are very few proposals for jointconvenes an internal committee that coordinates USFS/BLM renewable energy development, theregulatory policy and evaluates internal resource two agencies have a long history of cooperatingneeds and allocation related to the development on projects along shared boundaries and on longof energy and mineral resources. In addition, linear projects, such as electric transmission linesa Tribal Energy Policy Advisory Committee and pipelines, that cross both agencies’ lands.(TEPAC) serves as an advisory board for the As- Future joint projects will likely involve potentialsistant Secretary of Indian Affairs to make recom- geothermal or biomass energy. Throughout themendations about the implications of Federal pol- development of these two agencies, the USFSicy with regard to energy development in Indian and BLM have worked jointly in establishing en-country. TEPAC membership consists of tribal ergy programs that are complementary and easilygovernmental leaders, senior managers from coordinated. This long history of interagency co-DOI bureaus, and senior-level managers from the ordination, centered on strategic objectives, pro-DOE, EPA, and USDA. vides a solid foundation for broader and longer- term strategic planning across areas of renewable energy development where the missions and ju- risdictions of the two agencies converge. Strategic planning for renewable energy develop- ment centers on two fundamental elements that will determine the overall success of the program. These are (1) the optimal siting of renewable en- ergy sources and (2) the optimal transmission of4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 59
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsenergy from renewable energy sources across and potential resource conflicts. This requires aFederal lands to end users. planning and development model completely dif- ferent from the application-based cost recoveryWith the growing interest in renewable energy, model for other forms of energy development.the BLM has received more than 400 applica-tions to develop new renewable energy projects For renewable energy, effective decision mak-on public lands. Strategic planning recognizes, ing involves consideration of siting, scale, andhowever, that the key to effective renewable en- planned transmission capabilities in advance ofergy development is not in the number of project making sites available for development. Theapplications received, but in the scale of projects ability to apply such considerations also requiresbrought forward, their placement in relation to a much higher level of upfront planning and anal-existing and planned transmission capabilities, ysis, which entail costs that do not fit the exist- ing cost recovery model. Moving away from the New Funding to application-based cost recovery process can shift Meet the Challenge: the focus of management and coordination to- ward areas of highest renewable energy potential The American Recovery and where environmental risks can be accounted for Reinvestment Act and addressed. BLM Renewable Energy As part of the strategic planning effort, the BLM Studies and Support is working with other agencies and stakehold- ers to define Federal renewable energy zones in NEPA Analysis Total of $13 million which to coordinate development and transmis- • Solar EIS and sion projects. This is critical to ensuring that Study Areas projects with high production potential are given priority for siting in locations that are near exist- Studies Total of $28 million ing and planned transmission capability, and in • Land Reuse $1.7 million (AZ) areas with lower potential environmental impact. • Wildlife/Ecological $3.25 million 4.3.2 The Opportunity Assessments • Cultural/Paleo Studies $0.745 million The ARRA has made significant additional funds available to industry, communities, and state and • Visual Resources $2.39 million Federal agencies to support renewable energy ini- • Technical Support $0.615 million tiatives. The availability of these funds has pro- duced a surge of inquiries as well as applications. • Updating Case Records $8.6 million By getting in front of this wave, the DOI has pri- • Land Status $10.7 million oritized projects to ensure that large-scale, near- (GIS/Geographic term, and well-financed solutions are given prior- Coordinate Data Base) ity for development in the areas of highest energy potential and minimal environmental impact. Total Supporting Moving away from the application-based ap- Renewable Energy $41 million proach allows better control in prioritizing sites60 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsfor expedited development of large-scale renew- 4.4 Transmission Requirementsable energy projects. The most effective way tomeet this objective is to complete the required and Siting for Renewable Energyenvironmental analyses upfront, in advance of of-fering sites for project application. Congressional Direction:The BLM has been able to implement this change The report should identify specifically what because of significant additional funding provid- areas of the public lands and the Outer ed in the ARRA and the FY 2010 Appropriations Continental Shelf will be considered for Act. Funding provided under these measures projects based on:covered the upfront costs of hiring new staff, pre-paring the necessary environmental documents, (2) What additional transmission lines will be conducting the appropriate studies, and improv- necessary to connect these new sources of ing information available to industry and the power to the energy grid;public to support their future decisionmaking and (3) Where these transmission monitoring requirements. lines will be placed. 4.3.3 The Plan House Report 111-316, Renewable Energy and Public LandsThe BLM plan is to get in front of the demandfor new renewable energy applications and tophase these applications to better match transmis- 4.4.1. Overviewsion planning that is also underway. The BLM Planning for transmission is essential to identifywill move decisively away from the previous what facilities are needed and to determine the ap-application-by-application, rights-of-way-orient- propriate locations for these facilities. The DOIed funding, and processing procedures toward a and USDA do not have a primary role in transmis-coordinated regional focus in developing renew- sion planning, which is a technical exercise basedable energy potential. By focusing resources on on many factors outside the purview of DOI andareas with the greatest potential for renewable USDA land management authorities. Transmis-production with reduced environmental conflicts, sion planning is conducted by the DOE, FERC,and by coordinating with transmission planning, and numerous local and regional entities, suchthe BLM expects to transmit renewable energy as the Western Electricity Coordinating Coun-to the end user more quickly. The DOI has es- cil. However, the DOI and USDA are involvedtablished a performance goal of approving 9,000 in both short- and long-term land use planning toMW of new renewable energy production capac- identify the preferred locations on the lands theyity by the end of 2011. manage for major transmission projects. Improvements to the national electricity grid are important for promoting renewable energy for two major reasons. First, sources of industrial- scale renewable energy generation are often in locations that are not well-served by transmission lines. Second, the national electricity grid must be4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 61
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsrobust to meet reliability standards as intermittent ern Governors’ Association’s Western Renewablesources of energy are integrated into the system. Energy Zones initiative. The DOI will also par- ticipate in the Interconnection-Wide TransmissionThe DOI and USDA are striving to provide ac- Planning Initiative funded by the DOE throughcess to remote renewable sources and to enhance ARRA funds and awarded to the Western Elec-the national electricity grid to ensure reliability tricity Coordinating Council and the Westernas sources of renewable energy are brought on- Governors’ Association.line. The Departments are meeting these chal-lenges through their land use planning processes Siting and authorizing major, long-distance trans-and through improvements to project siting and mission facilities require developers to coordi-permitting reviews. The Departments continue to nate with many different agencies, which can bework closely on these efforts with other Federal a lengthy and difficult process. To enhance effi-agencies, tribes, states, and other entities. ciency and coordination in siting and authorizing electric transmission facilities among all involvedThe DOI designated more than 5,000 miles of en- Federal agencies, the Secretaries of the Interior,ergy corridors on BLM lands as directed by Sec- Agriculture, and Energy and the FERC Commis-tion 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. These sioner established an interdepartmental workingcorridors link to 1,000 miles of additional cor- group to improve the siting and authorizationridors designated by the USFS, providing a net- process among Federal agencies for electric trans-work across much of the Federal land in 11 west- mission projects. The result was an interagencyern states. MOU executed by nine Federal agencies in Oc- tober 2009 that commits these agencies to closeDesignated energy corridors allow applicants for coordination and a number of other proceduresrenewable energy projects the opportunity to move to improve the Federal process under existing au-more quickly through the siting process. The des- thorities. The participating agencies are workingignated corridors also provide land managers with together to implement the memorandum’s provi-a tool to consolidate project locations across the sions.landscape. Corridors exist in locations that avoid,to the maximum extent possible, known resource The BLM and USFS continue to seek innovativeconflicts. Projects that are sited within corridors solutions to impediments as they evaluate appli-will still be subject to full site-specific environ- cations for large and complex projects. For ex-mental review. As more information becomes ample, the BLM is working closely with the Stateavailable from stakeholders and ongoing regional of Wyoming and its agencies and other Federaland local planning efforts, the DOI and USFS will agencies to identify common challenges such ascontinue to monitor, revise, update, and adapt the system reliability, multiple levels of approvals,network of corridors as appropriate. and the lack of impact-free routes. This partner- ship will develop and implement solutions andThe Departments will also continue their active consistent policy approaches to address theseparticipation and leadership in regional transmis- challenges through existing applications and dem-sion planning, which helps guide land use plan- onstration projects.ning efforts. For example, the DOI will continueto work closely with California’s Renewable En-ergy Transmission Initiative process and the West-62 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 4.4.2 Siting Transmission on lands and represent the preferred locations for U. S. Forest Service Lands electric transmission and oil and gas pipelines on NFS and BLM lands. Applicants are encouragedThe USFS receives thousands of requests per to site within these and other existing corridorsyear for various uses, including the siting of elec- to avoid corridor proliferation, minimize environ-tric transmission lines. Very few new electric mental impacts and controversy, and acceleratetransmission lines have been constructed in the the siting approval process.western United States over the last two decades.Today, that situation is rapidly changing. The energy corridor project for the remaining 39 states, currently underway, will identify corridorsThe corridors, established to avoid the prolifera- for the potential siting of transmission lines ontion of utility corridors crossing Federal land, im- NFS land, as well as opportunities to consolidateprove transmission and overall reliability of the rights-of-way. At this point, it is too early in theNation’s energy transmission infrastructure. Al- process to project or even estimate the potentialmost 1,000 miles of corridors designated on NFS number of energy corridor miles that could resultlands connect with those established on BLM from this project. Proposed Transmission Corridors4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 63
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsA reasonable estimate for transmission and distri- 4.5 Methodology Usedbution increases crossing NFS lands is about 10percent more than the existing capacity of 14,400 to Limit Short-Term andmiles currently installed on NFS lands. To con-nect the electricity generated from renewable en- Long-Term Impactsergy resources to the grid, it is important to knowthe estimated capacity. Currently, 19 major trans- Congressional Direction:mission projects are in varying stages of develop-ment (ranging from NEPA analysis to construc- The report should identify specifically what tion). The agency has received 35 applications areas of the public lands and the Outer for transmission and distribution and anticipates Continental Shelf will be considered for renewing approximately 71 permits. projects based on: (4) The methodology to be used to limit the size of solar troughs and photovoltaic facilities. House Report 111-316, Renewable Energy and Public Lands 4.5.1 Landscape Assessment Inititatives The DOI recognizes that renewable and conven- tional energy development on a large scale can impact important natural resource values, includ- ing treasured landscapes, sensitive wildlife habi- tats, limited surface and groundwater resources, and existing land uses. The DOI is working to understand and address the implications of en- ergy development in the context of these overall landscape values. The DOI’s goal is to minimize potential impacts by siting future energy projects in a responsible, environmentally sound manner, and by focusing environmental mitigation and conservation efforts where they are most needed and beneficial. To assist the DOI in meeting the goal of respon- sible energy development, the Secretary of the Interior launched two new initiatives that provide a framework for coordination among the DOI bureaus and integration of the DOI’s expertise64 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landswith that of its partners. The DOI Climate Sci- effective responses. The ecoregional approachence Centers (CSC) and Landscape Conservation has two main components: ecoregional assess-Cooperatives (LCC), established by Secretarial ment, which synthesizes existing science regard-Order in February 2010, each have distinct sci- ing resource conditions, trends, and managementence and resource-management roles but also opportunities; and ecoregional direction, whichshare complementary capacities and capabilities. identifies the BLM’s key management prioritiesThe CSCs, operated through the USGS, will pro- for the public lands within an ecoregion. Thevide scientific information, tools, and techniques BLM’s ecoregional priorities will be developedthat land, water, wildlife and cultural resource in partnership with other Federal and non-Federalmanagers, and other interested parties can apply land anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate andecologically driven responses at regional-to-local At a more specific scale, the BLM is analyzingscales. The LCCs are networks of public-private in detail 24 solar energy study areas as part ofpartnerships that provide shared science to inform the Solar Energy Development Programmaticintegrated resource-management actions address- Environmental Impact Statement, to determineing climate change and other stressors within and whether these areas are appropriate for designa-across landscapes. Both of these initiatives will tion as Solar Energy Zones. Designated Solar En-contribute strong, science-based support for DOI ergy Zones would be those areas on the landscapeland managers to evaluate and plan for responsi- identified as having the best potential and fewestble, environmentally sound energy development resource conflicts for solar energy the context of overall landscape values. These zones would be well-suited to large-scale solar projects and set aside for that explicit pur-The BLM is developing an ecoregional approach pose.for managing public lands that builds upon andcomplements the DOI initiatives. The BLM’s 4.5.2 Best Management Practicesecoregional approach builds interagency partner-ships to identify important conservation and de- Best management practices (BMP) are state-of-velopment priorities within an ecoregion.2 The the-art mitigation measures applied to energy ex-need for an ecoregional approach stems from a ploration, development, and production to helprecognition that land managers and landowners ensure that development is conducted in an en-throughout the West are facing complex manage- vironmentally responsible manner. BMPs pro-ment challenges that transcend traditional admin- tect wildlife, air quality, water quantity and qual-istrative jurisdictions. These challenges include ity, viewsheds, night skies, soundscapes, specialexpanding energy development, urban growth, status areas, and landscapes as the Departmentswildfires, invasive species, extensive drought, work to develop vitally needed domestic energymelting permafrost, and other pervasive climate sources.change-related impacts. Some BMPs are as simple as choosing a paintThis ecoregional approach will provide a road- color that helps equipment blend with the naturalmap to help land managers understand these surroundings, while others involve cutting-edgecomplex challenges and design and coordinate monitoring and production technologies. All2 An ecoregion is a landscape that has similar resource characteristics, such as the Sonoran Desert, Northern Great Basin, or Colorado Plateau.4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 65
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsBMPs are based on the principle that the “foot- Energy Programmatic Environmental Impactprint” of energy development should be as small Statement (BLM 2005). Similar policies are inand as light as possible and sited in the proper place for geothermal and transmission projects.location using the proper technology given any Once complete, the solar PEIS will also establishenvironmental constraints. By reducing the area BMPs and protection policies for solar energy de-of disturbance, adjusting facility locations, and velopment projects.using numerous other techniques to minimizeenvironmental effects, the BLM is significantly Energy production is a long-term, though typicallyreducing impacts associated with new energy not a permanent, use of public land. BMPs repre-development to wildlife habitat, scenic quality, sent a commitment to the idea that smart planningwater quality, recreation opportunities, and other and responsible followthrough reduce impacts toresources. resources, both now and in the future. BMPs are a significant tool in the BLMs pursuit of enhanc-Numerous oil and gas operators have developed ing environmental protection and the quality ofand used BMPs, and BMPs are being developed life for all citizens through balanced stewardshipand tested in the renewable energy field. Through of Americas public lands and resources.the use of BMPs, and as potential impacts and op-portunities for mitigation are better understood, 4.5.3 Addressing the Legacy ofthe DOI can encourage innovations in technol- Historic Energy Developmentogy and practices. BMPs are not “one-size-fits-all” solutions but are tailored to the nature of the In many areas, historic overuse of the land, oftenproject and the resources and values of the proj- from the days prior to the introduction of environ-ect site. The actual practices and mitigation mea- mental laws, has transformed some public land-sures best suited for a particular site are evaluated scapes into virtual wastelands of nonnative plantthrough the NEPA process and vary to accom- cover, neglected roads, abandoned energy andmodate unique, site-specific conditions and local mineral infrastructure, and diverse streamsideresource conditions. vegetation has been altered into barren monocul- tures such as salt cedar. These gradual changesThe BLM Wind Energy Development Program have greatly damaged the land’s biological pro-established a number of policies and BMPs re- ductivity, resulting in less wildlife, degraded wa-garding the development of wind energy resourc- ter quality, and decreased supplies of groundwa-es on BLM-administered public lands. The poli- ter. Taking proactive measures to address thesecies address the administration of wind energy legacies of past misuse can aid in reducing the cu-development activities, and the BMPs identify mulative effects of energy development proposedrequired mitigation measures that would need on public landscapes. Historic oil and gas opera-to be incorporated into project-specific plans of tions from the days when there were few or nodevelopment and rights-of-way authorization regulations continue to disrupt wildlife habitats.stipulations. Additional mitigation measures Current operations have created cumulative im-will be applied to individual projects, through pacts that may have contributed to wildlife popu-stipulations in the rights-of-way authorization as lation declines, such as mule deer in the Pinedaleappropriate, to address site-specific and species- area of Wyoming. As the BLM learns more aboutspecific issues. These policies and BMPs were cumulative impacts and implements monitoringformulated through preparation of the Final Wind and adaptive management programs, it is bet-66 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Illustration of BLM Best Management Practices In this example, the methods for reducing the visual contrast of the energy project are (1) painting the pump jack and other facilities on the pad a color that blends with the natural colors within the immediate surroundings, (2) siting the pad in amongst the trees to disrupt the form and lines of the facility, and (3) interim reclamation to reduce the visual contrast of the pumping unit and well pad. Right: Several environmental best management practices have been successfully used in combination to minimize the footprint of energy development at this location. The area captured in the photo hosts six coalbed natural gas wells, 2 miles of two-track road, and 2 miles of pipelines and power lines buried beneath the road. Bottom: Conventional energy development over time - Many areas contain important scenic values. Oil and gas development occur in some areas, but should always be considered a temporary use of the land. When oil and gas production has ended, facilities must be removed, the well must be plugged, the land recontoured back to its original land form, the site revegetated, and over time, the habitat and visual resources fully restored.4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 67
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landster able to plan for future development reducing mance of mitigation that addresses projectunintended impacts on air quality, wildlife, and impacts.other important resources. The BLM determines when offsite mitigation may 4.5.4 Onsite and Offsite Mitigation be needed through the NEPA review process. As impacts are identified during the environmentalWhen an application to develop an energy project analysis, the BLM, the applicant, and cooperat-on public lands is received and the BLM begins to ing agencies discuss mitigation options. Consid-prepare an environmental analysis of the project, eration of offsite mitigation may be appropriatethe BLM considers options to mitigate impacts to when it is determined that a land use authoriza-an acceptable level onsite (within the land area tion cannot otherwise be brought into compliancebeing proposed for development). Onsite mitiga- with law, regulation, land use plan decisions, ortion is the norm and is achieved whenever pos- other important resource objectives.sible through avoidance, minimization, remedia-tion, or reduction of impacts over time. 4.5.5 Facilitating FWS Endangered Species PermittingOffsite mitigation consists of compensating for on Private Landsresource impacts by replacing or providing sub-stitute resources or habitat at a different location Congressional Direction:than the project area. Offsite mitigation becomesan option only after application of onsite mitiga- The conferees recommend that the tion, including BMPs. The BLM continues to Secretary evaluate whether a cooperative have an obligation to ensure that actions do not agreement with States under Section result in unnecessary or undue degradation to the 6 of the Endangered Species Act, the public lands. An offsite mitigation option is a establishment of a Section 4(d) rule under supplemental mitigation practice identified on a the same Act, or the creation of a template case-by-case basis and is based on the need to ad- ‘general habitat conservation plan’ would dress important resource issues that cannot be ac- improve the permitting process for solar ceptably mitigated onsite. Three types of offsite projects on private lands in the California mitigation may be considered: desert.• In-kind: Replace or substitute resources House Report 111-316, Renewable that are of the same type and kind as those Energy and Public Lands being impacted. This is generally the pre- ferred option. The DOI and California have established a re-• Out-of-kind: Replace or substitute resourc- newable energy action team (REAT). The REAT es that, while related, are of equal or greater agencies are addressing multiple challenges as- overall value. sociated with renewable energy development in California, including expediting permitting on• In-lieu-fee: Payment of funds to a natural private lands. The REAT is working on tools to resource management agency, foundation, streamline approval of projects on private lands or other appropriate organization for perfor- and provide protection of trust resources through68 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsplanning and oversight of the long-term develop- restoration of existing Federal lands to bement of renewable energy in California. These consolidated for the most effective long-termtools include: protection of biologically sustainable blocks of habitat to benefit desert dwelling wildlife• Conservation plan – Development of a species and habitats. An additional benefit large-scale desert conservation strategy, the is that the National Fish and Wildlife Foun- Desert Renewable Energy Conservation dation has the ability to leverage additional Plan, to address project siting and impacts to funds from third-party organizations that listed species and native ecosystems on both would likely increase the overall resources public and private lands. This large-scale available for acquisition and management of desert conservation strategy will meet the conservation lands. requirements of Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act and the California • 4(d) rule – The FWS is considering develop- Natural Communities Conservation Planning ment of a draft Endangered Species Act 4(d) Act, which is administered by the California rule for the desert tortoise in order to facili- Department of Fish and Game. tate timely permitting of low-impact projects on non-Federal lands.• In-lieu-fee program – The REAT agencies have established a mitigation account with • Best management practices – The REAT the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation agencies have developed BMPs for wind, for all renewable energy and associated solar, and geothermal energy projects that transmission projects in southern Califor- will promote the siting of projects in areas nia. Mitigation funds deposited into the on private lands by minimizing impacts to account will be used to mitigate impacts of native habitats, state and federally listed spe- these projects in a manner that would allow cies, and other species of concern. funds for land acquisition and funds for the4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values 69
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands4.6 Bonding and Reclamation types of environmental risks presented by the projects themselves. At a minimum, the bond Congressional Direction: will cover: The report should also include an analysis • “Hard” environmental liabilities (e.g., haz- of the useful life of renewable energy ardous materials releases) for which the Fed- sites and provide an explanation of how eral Government may be ultimately liable; the infrastructure will be removed from • Decommissioning and deconstruction of the public lands when it is no longer facilities; and functional. The conferees believes that some mechanism, such as a bond put forth • Reclamation, restoration, soil stabilization, by the permittees, should be utilized by the and revegetation requirements for the project Department and the Forest Service so that area. the Government does not have to pay for 4.6.2 Reclamation the removal of these large facilities after they are no longer viable. Renewable energy facilities authorized on Feder- House Report 111-316, Renewable al lands, if properly maintained over time should Energy and Public Lands last for a long period. The initial solar and wind authorizations will usually cover a 20- to 30-year period, but may be reauthorized for additional 4.6.1 Overview time if warranted. At whatever point a facility isThe BLM and USFS require financial bonds for no longer functional, full reclamation is required.all renewable energy development projects on If the proponent is incapable of completing theFederal lands to ensure compliance with the terms required reclamation, the Federal Governmentand conditions of the rights-of-way authorization will exercise the reclamation bond in place toand applicable regulatory requirements, including cover the full costs of reclamation.reclamation costs. The amount of the requiredbond will be determined during the rights-of-way 4.6.3 Reclamation Standardsauthorization process on the basis of site-specific A decommissioning and site reclamation plan, re-and project-specific factors. The BLM and USFS quiring approval by the BLM and USFS prior tomay also require financial bonds for site monitor- the start of construction, will define the reclama-ing and testing authorizations. tion, revegetation, restoration, and soil stabiliza-Both land agencies have the authority to require tion requirements for the project area. This plana bond for liabilities that the grantee or operator, includes the reclamation of construction areasfor whatever reason, is unwilling or unable to ad- and the revegetation of disturbed areas as quicklydress. The bond represents the final assurance as possible to reduce invasive weed infestationthat an obligation assumed by the grantee/opera- and erosion. The approved decommissioningtor will be fulfilled, even if the agency must step and site reclamation plan will be used as the basisin and complete site reclamation itself. for determining the standard for reclamation and restoration of the project area and, ultimately, inThe determination of what liabilities and obliga- determining the bond amount.tions should be bonded depends, in part, on the70 4.0 Renewable Energy in Balance with Other Resources and Values
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 5.0 Conventional Energy Development Broaden the Department’s review to include an analysis of all energy development on public lands not just renewable energy, including siting processes, permitting costs, related staffing, long-term reclamation and remediation costs, multi-agency coordination activities, as well as the methodology used by the Department to limit the short- and long-term impacts on land, water, air quality, wildlife, public health and scenic values associated with non-renewable energy resource extraction, production, and, where applicable, related waste storage. Recommendations from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, December 21, 20095.1 Oil and Gas in the 5 percent increase from 2008 and the highest level in more than 30 years.Federal Estate The Obama Administration has also offered, andThe Administration continues to emphasize re- continues to offer, millions of acres of public landsponsible development of important oil and gas and Federal waters for oil and gas exploration andresources on the public lands. In the last 2 years, production. In 2010, the BLM held 33 oil and gasoil production from the Federal OCS has in- lease sales covering 3.2 million acres. In 2011, thecreased by more than a third, from 446 million BLM is scheduled to hold an additional 33 leasebarrels in 2008 to an estimate of about 600 mil- sales. Currently, just 55 percent of all leases (43lion barrels in 2010. Oil production from Federal percent of acres) have some activity (productionwaters in the Gulf of Mexico reached an all-time or exploration); 38.2 million acres of public landshigh in 2010. The region accounts for most OCS are currently under lease for oil and gas develop-production, and 30 percent of total U.S. oil pro- ment, of which only 16.6 million acres are activeduction. and 21.6 million acres are inactive. Given that a large percentage—perhaps half of the BLM’sIn the past 2 years, oil imports have fallen by more than 248 million acres—of public lands9 percent. Net imports as a share of total con- is in states, such as Nevada, Idaho, interior andsumption have declined from 57 percent in 2008 southwest Alaska, and eastern Oregon, where oilto less than 50 percent in 2010. and gas development is unlikely due to geological and/or logistical issues, it is clear that the BLMThe U.S. natural gas production is also increas- has provided ample opportunities for industrying, reaching 26.9 trillion cubic feet in 2010, a leasing and development, and continues to do so. 71
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Onshore Oil and Gas • Onshore Federal oil production – • In the conterminous U.S., there is an 6 percent of total domestic estimated 700 trillion cubic feet (TCF) production of coalbed natural gas, with about 100 TCF economically recoverable • Onshore Federal gas production – with existing technology. 15 percent of total domestic production • Onshore Federal lands nationwide are estimated to contain 31 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil.72 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Producing Oil and Gas Wells5.0 Conventional Energy Development 73
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsPermitting of oil and gas development onshore water permits for new wells with stricter safetyalso continues apace. In 2010, the BLM pro- standards, including the requirement that opera-cessed more than 5,200 APDs on Federal and In- tors demonstrate the ability to contain a deepwa-dian lands. In 2011, the BLM expects to process ter blowout. BOEMRE has also issued 26 permitsmore than 7,200 APDs. The BLM has also begun for deepwater activities that were not subject toclearing out large backlogs of protested leasing the deepwater drilling suspensions.3and permitting actions that built up in the mid-2000s. 5.1.1 Onshore OverviewOffshore, in 2010, the BOEMRE offered 36.9 The BLM manages nearly 700 million acres ofmillion offshore acres in the Gulf of Mexico for onshore subsurface mineral estate. The BLMoil and gas exploration and production; 37.9 mil- seeks to achieve balance in its management of thelion acres of the OCS are under active lease, of many resource uses and values found on the Na-which 6.5 million acres are producing. More than tion’s public lands. The leasing and development70 percent of offshore leases are not producing. of conventional oil and gas resources, like all re- source uses, can and does have short- and long-The Obama Administration has undertaken need- term environmental and social impacts. Impactsed reforms to make oil and gas development safer result from the exploration, drilling, production,and more environmentally responsible both on- and transportation necessary to find, produce, andshore and offshore. The DOI raised the bar for move oil and gas to market. Potential impacts as-safety and environmental responsibility, setting sociated with conventional energy developmentstandards and certification protocols for well de- are specific to each site, but may include impactssign, testing, and control equipment and estab- to wildlife habitat, scenic resources, surface orlishing rigorous performance standards to reduce groundwater quality, air quality, recreation, tribalworkplace error and require comprehensive safety and cultural resources, or rural life and commu-and environmental management. Operators must nities. Proper lease stipulations; project siting,now submit well-specific blowout scenarios and design, construction, and reclamation; and state-revised worst-case discharge calculations. Deep- of-the-art mitigation measures (best managementwater operators must also show that they have the practices) applied to the approved permit cancapability to contain a subsea discharge like the substantially reduce environmental and social im-Deepwater Horizon oil spill. These standards set pacts. However, effective inspection and enforce-a clear, achievable path for responsible offshore ment strategies as well as monitoring programsexploration, development, and production. are also necessary to ensure project mitigation measures are both implemented and effective.Even while strengthening safety standards, theAdministration has continued to facilitate new Wildlifeoffshore oil and gas development. Since the Deep-water Horizon oil spill, BOEMRE has approved The public lands serve as habitat for many impor-38 shallow water permits in the Gulf of Mexico. tant, sensitive, or threatened and endangered wild-BOEMRE also recently issued its first five deep- life species. Oil and gas development can result3 These data are current as of March 23, 2011.74 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsin the loss of vegetation that serves as habitat for vent contamination of freshwater supplies withwildlife. Linear disturbances, such as oil and gas drilling and completion fluids. Rarely, a casingroads, pipelines, and power lines, can also lead to or cementing failure may result in contaminationthe fragmentation of habitat into areas too small of freshwater be effectively used by certain species. Oil andgas truck traffic and its associated noise and intru- During the production phase of a well, watersion can also decrease habitat suitability. Unless within the oil or gas formation may be producedproperly mitigated, oil and gas development and out of the well and must be either treated and re-its associated infrastructure and traffic can lead to used or disposed of in accordance with state orlocal decreases in wildlife populations. Federal laws and regulations. Disposal typically occurs through surface infiltration and evapora-Scenic Resources tion impoundments, underground injection into formations not suitable for drinking water, orMany of the lands under the BLM’s management treating the water and discharging it into water-contain scenic landscapes. Development of oil ways. All methods require prior approval fromand gas resources typically includes well loca- the BLM and other regulatory agencies, such astions, production facilities, utility rights-of-way, the state or Federal EPA.and access roads that may dominate the characterof the landscape unless properly mitigated to re- Development of oil and gas may require sig-duce visual contrast. nificant amounts of water relative to available resources, and with some development, such asSurface and Groundwater coal bed methane production, aquifiers over manyQuality and Quantity square miles can be dewatered. In permitting new development, the impacts of these demands willThe public lands contain important sources of be considered, and actions that promote sustain-surface and groundwater. The drilling, comple- able water strategies will be identified.tion, and production of oil and gas wells may re-sult in impacts to surface and groundwater quality Air Qualityunless properly mitigated. Surface water runoffcan lead to sedimentation of waterways unless Unless properly reduced through devices to con-properly controlled through stormwater manage- trol or recapture emissions, conventional oil andment practices. Depending on the type of well gas development can result in emissions of par-being drilled, the use of large quantities of water ticulates, hazardous air pollutants, volatile or-may be necessary during the construction, drill- ganic compounds (VOCs), and greenhouse gas-ing, and completion of a well and the hydraulic es. Typical sources of these emissions includefracturing of the oil or gas producing zone. This (1) drilling rig engines, (2) well completion op-water may come from surface water bodies, un- erations, (3) emissions and dust from truck traf-derground sources, or municipal sources where it fic, (4) heavy equipment used to construct roads,may be in short supply. Oil and gas reservoirs well pads, and pipelines, (5) fugitive VOCs es-are typically located thousands of feet below the caping from storage tanks at production facilities,surface. Formations (or zones) containing fresh- (6) fugitive methane emissions from pneumaticwater are isolated through the use of well casing devices on oil and/or gas treatment equipment,and cementing during the drilling process to pre- and (7) wells flared during completion and pro-5.0 Conventional Energy Development 75
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsduction operations. These emissions are either lands are given comprehensive consideration,regulated as pollutants under the Clean Air Act or mitigation, and protection, while at the same timeserve as precursors to pollutants regulated under providing industry the opportunity to produce, inthe Clean Air Act. appropriate places, the energy needed to serve the Nation in a manner sensitive to environmentalRecreation concerns.The public lands contain unique opportunities for The BLM’s Resource Management Plan is theoutdoor recreation. Hunting, fishing, sightseeing, first step in ensuring environmentally responsibleand other recreation activities can be affected by oil and gas development. With extensive publicthe increased infrastructure and traffic associated input, the Resource Management Plan identifieswith oil and gas development. Oil and gas devel- areas open or closed to oil and gas leasing and de-opment may directly displace wildlife from areas velopment. Where lands are available for leasingof concentrated development or may detract from and potential resource conflicts have been identi-the recreation experience unless properly mitigat- fied, the BLM identifies lease stipulations for theed to reduce the presence of development. protection of important resource values, such as air, water, or wildlife habitat.Cultural Resources Under its new leasing reform policy, the BLMThe public lands contain many unique cultural conducts a more site-specific review of parcelsand tribal resources. While the BLM takes steps nominated for leasing to determine whether theto ensure consultation with tribes and surveys for allocation decisions and lease stipulations con-cultural resources, inadvertent impacts to tribal or tained within the Resource Management Plan arecultural resources can occur. still valid in light of changing circumstances and new information or science. The BLM then leas-Rural Life and Communities es individual parcels with either standard terms and conditions or special lease stipulations, or theThe public lands provide open space and rural BLM may defer leasing a parcel pending addi-landscapes for public enjoyment. Oil and gas tional land use planning.development can lead to the short- or long-termdevelopment of these landscapes. Local employ- After a lease has been issued, oil and gas opera-ment and property values may increase during tors proposing to drill their lease must first submitdevelopment. However, this new economic activ- a detailed permit application outlining their plans.ity can also lead to decreased property values of The APD must address the operator’s plans forhomes adjacent to oil and gas development; so- drilling and producing the well, including con-cial impacts associated with the influx of a large struction of any associated well pads, produc-temporary workforce; and boom and bust econo- tion facilities, roads, pipelines, and power lines.mies if not properly managed. The BLM conducts an additional environmen- tal review to analyze the operator’s site-specificManaging Impacts drilling and development proposal. During that review, the BLM typically analyzes alternativesThe BLM’s objective is to ensure that natural re- to the operator’s proposal and applies additionalsources and uses of public lands and adjoining mitigation measures necessary for reducing the76 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands environmental and social impacts of develop- Protecting Air Quality ment. The extensive oil and natural gas resources New technology and creative application of of the Uinta Basin in northeastern Utah have new approaches to drilling and production have enormous potential for domestic energy demonstrated that, with proper siting techniques production and for associated expansion of and environmental mitigation practices, the im- economic and employment opportunities in pact from development of our Federal oil and the area. gas resources can be substantially reduced. The BLM is working with industry to make these Recently, however, the challenge of best management practices a business stan- developing these energy resources without dard. For example, the increased of the use of compromising environmental quality has been horizontal drilling techniques has led to areas made far more complex with the finding that where operators drill multiple wells from a single energy development activities are associated development pad. This reduces the need for mul- with highly elevated concentrations of ozone. tiple pads, roads, and pipelines. Centralizing Recent ozone readings, according to the EPA, production facilities has reduced oil field traffic, are among the highest ever recorded in the helping to minimize dust and exhaust with a net United States. improvement in air quality and reduced impacts to wildlife. To address this challenge and other air quality issues associated with energy development 5.1.2 Leasing Reforms on public lands, the BLM is working closely with the State of Utah, EPA Region 8, and Decisions at the land use planning stage are the other stakeholders to create and implement first step in determining whether an area is ap- a comprehensive, collaborative air quality propriate for the siting of oil and gas activities on management strategy. public lands. At this stage, the appropriateness of offering lands for lease should be assessed. EPA Region 8 has agreed with the plan outlined in the strategy, and the BLM is In January 2010, Secretary Salazar called upon seeking additional support for the strategy the BLM to implement a number of leasing re- from other stakeholders, including the forms while maintaining its program to make ar- USFS, the Ute Indian Tribe, industry, and eas available for oil and gas development. These conservationists. reforms are intended to reduce potential conflicts that can lead to costly and time-consuming pro- The BLM continues to support a variety of tests and litigation of leases by improving the bu- research efforts that can contribute to an reau’s process for reviewing potential impact to effective air quality strategy for the Uinta air, land, viewsheds, water, and wildlife. Basin as well as other areas of high-density Four months later, the BLM finalized the leas- energy development activity. Among these ing reforms requested by the Secretary. Many are research partnerships with Utah State of these measures follow the recommendations University’s Energy Dynamics Laboratory and of an interdisciplinary review team that studied a the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. controversial 2008 oil and gas lease sale in Utah.5.0 Conventional Energy Development 77
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsUnder the oil and gas leasing policy reforms, the the pilot project to improve Federal permit coor-BLM will: dination. During the pilot’s first few years, the program achieved two key objectives:• Ensure potential lease sales are fully coordi- nated both internally and externally, includ- • The program has improved reliability in ing public participation, and interdisciplinary providing industry the permits needed to review of available information, as well as develop new energy resources for the Nation. onsite visits to parcels prior to leasing when necessary to supplement or validate existing • The pilot offices have made significant prog- data. ress on improving environmental steward- ship and mitigating resource impacts result-• Engage the public in the development of ing from energy development. master leasing plans prior to leasing in Section 365 established a pilot project with the certain areas where significant new oil and intent to improve the efficiency of processing oil gas development is anticipated. The intent and gas use authorizations and environmental is to fully consider other important natural stewardship on Federal lands. The project estab- resource values before making a decision on lished pilot offices in seven BLM field offices: leasing and development in an area and to en- Miles City, Montana; Buffalo and Rawlins, Wyo- sure orderly development in a way that does ming; Vernal, Utah; Glenwood Springs, Colora- not create unanticipated impacts (such as air do; and Farmington and Carlsbad, New Mexico. quality pollutant exceedances and wildlife This program focuses on enhancing interagency population declines). collaboration and environmental stewardship through the collocation of agency staff and has al-• Implement an “extraordinary circumstances” ready resulted in significant communication and review screen before applying the categori- process improvements. cal exclusions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to oil and gas drilling activities on BLM The BLM formed a partnership among several lands. Categorical exclusions are categories Federal agencies including the USFS, FWS, U.S. of actions that do not have a significant effect Army Corps of Engineers, BIA, EPA, and a va- on the quality of the human environment and riety of state agencies, including state fish and for which the BLM is generally not required wildlife departments, environmental quality de- to prepare extensive environmental reviews. partments, state oil and gas divisions, and state A review for extraordinary circumstances has historic preservation offices. As part of this part- been required for all administratively estab- nership, the BLM is reimbursing these collaborat- lished categorical exclusions and will now ing agencies for their costs in supporting the pilot apply to oil and gas categorical exclusions offices. Additional resources and oversight, par- established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. ticularly the expertise of geologists or petroleum engineers, natural resource specialists, archeolo- 5.1.3 Pilot Project to Improve gists, and wildlife biologists, have been to these Federal Permit Coordination offices.The BLM and USFS have completed implemen- While permit processing times have decreased,tation of Section 365 of the Energy Policy Act, there has been a substantial increase in the num-78 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsber of well inspections. This enhanced field in- claiming the site. Further, bond holders who de-spection presence has led to earlier detection of fault and fail to reimburse the bureau for the fullcompliance problems before they result in major cost of site reclamation may subject all of theirviolations. Pilot collocation of agency staff has leases under the bond to cancellation. Pursuant toalso improved communication and led to process a recent Government Accountability Office rec-improvements by allowing for participation of ommendation, the BLM is evaluating its bondingagency personnel on interdisciplinary teams and procedures to assess appropriate minimum bond-decisionmaking. ing levels and will increase minimum amounts through a rulemaking process.In the meantime, the BLM has worked aggres-sively to eliminate backlogs in the processing ofAPDs and in the issuance of parcels that have Process Improvementsbeen sold but not issued. for Oil and Gas on National Forest Lands 5.1.4 Oil and Gas Since the revision of Onshore Oil and Best Management Practices Gas Order No. 1, which provided for The BLM and USFS oil and gas programs—in submittal of master development plans, partnership with industry, conservation interests, the USFS has seen an increase in oil and and others—work diligently to identify the BMPs gas operators using that process. that can reduce or mitigate the environmental In doing so, the operators propose impacts of energy development activities. The multiple wells in their original plan BLM also initiated a director’s program evalua- submittal rather than submitting tion of the agency’s implementation of environ- applications one well at a time. mental BMPs. The evaluation emphasized theneed to ensure appropriate environmental BMPs This facilitates a more efficient and are incorporated into all oil, gas, geothermal, and comprehensive analysis of the associated rights-of-way permit approvals. potential environmental affects and the identification of reasonable mitigation 5.1.5 Bonding prior to reaching an impact threshold. This is also becoming an effective The BLM requires bonds to ensure that operators management tool as new technology is are able to financially support necessary and re- introduced in the oil and gas development quired efforts to meet lease and permitting obli- process. New drilling technology and gations. The BLM’s oil and gas program uses a equipment, given the right geologic “performance” bonding system. By regulation, setting, enables multiple wells to be operators seeking approval of an APD, who with-in the previous 5 years have caused the BLM to drilled from a single location, thereby demand a bond or financial guarantee upon the reducing the environmental footprint of operator’s failure to plug and reclaim, are re- development activities. quired to post a bond equal to the full cost of re-5.0 Conventional Energy Development 79
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands5.2 Coal Program in the location of the mine and, if the coal is fed- erally owned, an income stream to both Federal 5.2.1 Overview and state entities.Public lands are available for coal leasing only af- Elements of the environment that can be affect-ter the lands are evaluated through the BLM and ed by coal mining include air quality, culturalUSFS multiple-use planning processes. Leasing resources, Native American religious concerns,Federal coal resources is prohibited in units of the threatened and endangered species, migratoryNPS, national wildlife refuges, other conservation birds, hazardous or solid wastes, water quality,system units, and certain military reservations. In wetland/riparian zones, flood plains, invasiveareas where development of coal resources may nonnative species, and environmental justice.conflict with the protection and management of Depending on the lands associated with the pro-other resources or public land uses, the BLM or posed mine, prime farmlands, wild and scenicUSFS may choose not to lease or will identify rivers, and wilderness areas also can be of con-mitigating measures to be included in leases as cern. Coal production may also impact topog-either stipulations to uses or restrictions on opera- raphy, geology, mineral resources, soils, alluvialtions. valley floors, vegetation, wildlife, land use, recre- ation, paleontological resources, visual resources,The decision to lease Federal coal is made by the noise, transportation resources, climate change,BLM after a competitive process requiring the and socioeconomics. Impacts to these elementsgovernment, at a minimum, to receive fair market are identified and mitigation measures are out-value for the coal. Prior to mining a new Federal lined in environmental impact statements, envi-coal lease area, the leases must be permitted. The ronmental assessments, and resource manage-Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of ment plans of the BLM when Federal coal and/or1977 (SMCRA) gives the OSM the authority to Federal lands are present.administer programs that regulate surface coalmining operations. New or revised mining per- Surface mining of coal resources can disturb coalmits issued by the OSM must include mitigation aquifers in the overburden above the coal. Therequirements identified through the leasing pro- coal aquifer and any water bearing strata in thecess, but additional conditions or stipulations may overburden may be removed and replaced withalso be required by the permit. The BLM’s role relatively homogeneous, unconsolidated back-after leasing is to ensure the maximum economic fill. In the Powder River Basin, it is estimatedrecovery of the leased Federal coal and compli- that the re-saturation of coal mine pit backfill toance with coal lease stipulations. The OSM or the form backfill aquifers may take approximatelydelegated state agency is responsible for permit 100 years after cessation of mining. Groundwa-administration including oversight of the recla- ter in backfill aquifers following mining activitiesmation plan. often exhibits an increase in total dissolved solids concentrations; however, over time groundwaterImpacts from Coal Production quality in these backfill aquifers are predicted to return to near pre-mine conditions. Runoff eventsEnvironmental impacts are inherent to both sur- may carry additional sediment loads from dis-face and underground coal production. Those im- turbed sites that could impact surface water qual-pacts are accompanied by economic development ity.80 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsSurface mining activities lead to the progres- are reviewed for potential coal leasing. Require-sive removal of native vegetation resulting in in- ments for the land use plan include multiple use,creased erosion and loss of wildlife and livestock sustained yield, protection of critical environ-habitat. During mining, wildlife can be displaced mental areas, application of specific unsuitabilityand habitat lost in active mining areas. Wildlife criteria, and coordination with other Governmentmovement through mining areas may be restrict- agencies. There are four specific land use screen-ed, and shifts in habitat utilization can occur dur- ing steps that are unique to developing land useing the life of the operations. planning decisions for Federal lands with coal re- sources. These are:Restoration • Identification of coal with potential for de-Restoration of the environment is required pursu- velopment;ant to SMCRA under the OSM. Since SMCRAwas enacted in 1977, the science of restoration of • Determination if the lands are unsuitable fordisturbed lands has matured, and lands disturbed coal development;by coal mining are being returned to their origi-nal use. Mined areas are reclaimed as specified • Consideration of multiple-use conflicts; andin the reclamation plan portion of the mine per-mit approved and administered by OSM. The • Surface owner consultation.reclamation plan describes post mining land uses,the contouring plan for affected land, how top- The purpose of the coal screening part of the landsoil and/or subsoil will be stockpiled and redis- use planning process (43 CFR 3420.1-4) is totributed, re-vegetation practices, including steps identify those Federal lands that are acceptableto control invasive plant species and final hydro- for further consideration for coal leasing and de-logic restoration of the mined area. The recla- velopment.mation plan also includes a reclamation scheduleand associated costs and methods of evaluating 5.2.3 Competitive Leasing Processreclamation success. There are two distinct procedures for competitiveThe SMCRA requires contemporaneous reclama- coal leasing: (1) regional leasing where tracts aretion of the land to its pre-mining land use, thus selected within a region for competitive sale andminimizing the amount of disturbed land during (2) leasing by application where the public nomi-mining. Completed reclamation upon completion nates a particular tract of coal for competitiveof mining is also required. Upon successful mine sale. Regional coal leasing requires the selectionrestoration, the final reclamation bond is released, of potential coal leasing tracts based on multiplegenerally a minimum of 10 years following seed- land use planning, expected coal demand, anding with the final seed mixture. potential environmental and economic impacts. This process requires close consultation with lo- 5.2.2 Lands Suitable for Coal Leasing cal governments and citizens through a Federal/ state advisory board known as a regional coalNot all public lands are available for coal explo- team. However, because demand for new coalration or leasing. There is a rigorous land use leasing in recent years has been associated withplanning process through which all public lands the extension of existing mining operations on5.0 Conventional Energy Development 81
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Coal • Roughly half of the Nation’s • FY 2000-2010 electricity is derived from coal. - 4.53 billion tons of coal mined from • Forty-two percent of the Nation’s coal BLM-managed lands is produced from Federal leases. - 43 lease sales • The BLM administers - Coal generated $7.9 billion from 300 coal leases. bonuses, royalty, and rent payments82 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • Coal Fields and Federal Lands of the Conterminous United States5.0 Conventional Energy Development Coal Fields Land Status TL Tribal Lands Federal Lands BLM Bureau of Land Management FS US Forest Service NPS National Park Service Other: ARS Agricultural Research Service TVA Tennessee Valley Authority FWS US Fish & Wildlife Service COE Army Corps of Engineers DOS Department of State DOD Department of Defense AEC Atomic Energy Commission BRC Bureau of Reclamation83 New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsauthorized Federal coal leases, all current leasing the BLM and USFS to ensure compliance withis done by application. the terms and conditions of the lease. At a mini- mum, a bond is required that will cover one-fifthLeasing by application begins with BLM and of the bonus bid if there is any remaining unpaidUSFS review of an application to lease a coal balance, as well as 1 year of advance rental and ¼tract to ensure that it conforms to existing land year of estimated royalties, if the lease is in pro-use plans and contains sufficient geologic data duction. In addition, the SMCRA requires suf-to determine the "fair market value" of the coal. ficient bonding to cover anticipated reclamationUpon review of the application and consideration costs. This bond is submitted to the OSM or theof public comments, the BLM will reject, modify, state regulatory office. The BLM may require aor continue to process the application. change in bond amount, either an increase or de- crease, at any time the agency believes it is war-Once an application is accepted, the agency be- ranted.gins either an environmental analysis or EIS.When an environmental analysis or a draft ver- 5.2.6 Termination of a Leasesion of an EIS has been prepared, the BLM seekspublic comment on the proposed lease sale. At A Federal coal lease has an initial term of 20 years,the same time, the BLM will also consult with but it may be terminated in as few as 10 years ifother appropriate Federal, state, and tribal gov- the coal resources are not diligently developed. Aernment agencies. Federal coal lease can also terminate if a lessee fails to pay any of the deferred bonus bid pay- 5.2.4 Lease Terms and Conditions ments. In addition, if the lessee fails to comply with the provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act ofA Federal coal lease grants the right to explore 1920, as amended, or fails to comply with any ap-for, extract, remove, and dispose of some or all of plicable regulations, lease terms, or stipulations,the coal deposits that may be found on the leased the BLM may issue a decision to cancel the lease.lands. Coal leases are granted on the conditionthat the lessee will obtain the appropriate permits A lessee may, at any time, seek to surrender a leaseand licenses from the BLM, OSM, and any af- in whole or in part by filing a written request forfected state and local governments. For competi- relinquishment with the jurisdictional BLM of-tively issued leases, companies may pay bonus fice. However, the lessee must be in compliancebids in five equal annual installments. with all lease terms and conditions and have paid all payments and fees. The lease bond is in place 5.2.5 Bonding to ensure compliance with the terms and condi- tions of the lease.Before the BLM issues a coal lease, the lesseemust furnish a bond in an amount determined by84 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands5.3 Offshore Oil and • Bottom disturbances from platform and pipe- line emplacements and from anchors; andGas Development • Noise effects from seismic, operational, and decommissioning activities. “Our ultimate goal is to promote a culture of safety within industry and The OCS Lands Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to balance the potential for oil and gas dis- to serve as aggressive but reasonable coveries against the potential for environmental regulators who have the tools and or other harms from the continued development expertise necessary to do the job.” of our domestic energy resources on the OCS. In light of the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, this balancing takes on new meaning. All future offshore oil and gas activities must be 5.3.1 Overview guided by strict adherence to the rule of law, the best available science, robust environmental pro-The BOEMRE manages the Nation’s oil, natural tections, and effective oil spill prevention.gas, and other energy and mineral resources on the1.7 billion acres of the OCS. Within BOEMRE, The Deepwater Horizon spill triggered an exten-the Offshore Energy and Minerals Management sive review of all aspects of the OCS oil and gasprogram regulates OCS activities, including ad- program:ministering OCS leases, monitoring the safety ofoffshore facilities, and protecting our coastal and • Secretary Salazar presented a safety report tomarine environments. The OCS is believed to the President with more than 30 recommen-contain more than 60 percent of the Nation’s re- dations (many of which have already beenmaining undiscovered technically recoverable oil implemented).and almost 40 percent of its undiscovered techni-cally recoverable natural gas (MMS National As- • A joint investigation into the root and con-sessment, 2006). tributing causes of the event is being con- ducted by BOEMRE and the U.S. CoastOil and gas exploration, development, transpor- Guard.tation, and decommissioning activities and asso-ciated accidental events can lead to impacts on • President Obama formed a National Com-environmental resources, such as: mission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling to examine the• Oil spills; disaster and make recommendations for the future of offshore drilling.• Air emissions from drilling, transportation, oil spills, and other sources; All aspects of OCS activities are being investi- gated and evaluated and will be revised as nec-• Discharges of produced water, wastes, and essary. Significant changes are being made, and drilling materials; further changes can be anticipated in the near5.0 Conventional Energy Development 85
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsfuture. Due to the dynamic nature of this pro- strating access to, and the ability to deploy, sub-cess and ongoing investigations, this report does sea containment resources sufficient to promptlynot address the specific details regarding OCS respond to a deepwater blowout or other loss ofsafety management systems, inspections, and re- well control.lated activities. Rather, it describes the generalBOEMRE processes for OCS leasing, permitting, On January 8, 2011, Secretary Salazar establishedmonitoring, and reclamation, including points of an advisory body through which the Nation’s lead-coordination with other agencies. ing scientific, engineering, and technical experts will provide input on improving offshore drillingOn October 14, 2010, BOEMRE published an safety, well containment, and spill response. Theinterim final rule that implements certain safe- Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee willty measures recommended in the report to the also facilitate collaborative research and develop-President entitled, Increased Safety Measures ment, training and execution in these and otherfor Energy Development on the OCS. This rule areas relating to offshore energy safety. Thebecame effective immediately upon publication committee has 15 members representing Federaland amends drilling regulations related to well agencies, industry, academia, national labs, andcontrol, including: subsea and surface blowout various research organizations.preventers, well casing and cementing, secondaryintervention, unplanned disconnects, recordkeep- The principles and requirements of the OCSing, well completion, and well plugging. Lands Act remain the core statutory direction for BOEMRE’s offshore oil and gas leasing program.The BOEMRE issued a final Safety and Environ-mental Management Systems rule that became The OCS Lands Acteffective on November 15, 2010. This rule re-quires operators to develop a comprehensive In order to balance the priorities of national en-safety and environmental management program ergy needs, environmental protection, and receiptthat identifies the potential hazards and risk-re- of fair market value, the OCS Lands Act requires:duction strategies for all phases of activity, from the Secretary to consider information on the geo-well design and construction, to operation and graphical, geological, and ecological characteris-maintenance, and finally to the decommissioning tics of each region; equitable sharing of develop-of platforms. ment benefits and environmental risks; regional and national energy markets; other uses of theThe BOEMRE has also issued important guid- OCS; interest of potential oil and gas producers;ance, in the form of Notices to Lessees (NTLs), the laws, goals, and policies of the affected states;which provides operators additional direction the relative environmental sensitivity and marinewith respect to compliance with the bureau’s ex- productivity of different areas of the OCS; andisting regulations. Under NTL-N06, operators the relevant environmental and predictive infor-are expected to submit well-specific blowout sce- mation for different areas of the OCS.narios and worst case discharge calculations, aswell as provide the assumptions and calculations The 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Programbehind these scenarios. NTL-N10 establishes initiates the process of deciding how, when, andinformational expectations related to regulatory where it is appropriate to offer oil and gas leasescompliance and subsea containment, demon- on the OCS. As the leasing process moves for-86 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsward, the potential areas to be offered for lease a small portion of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico,cannot be expanded from those available in the Cook Inlet offshore Alaska, and Chukchi andprevious step without re-initiating the develop- Beaufort Seas in the Arctic will continue to bement of a new 5-year program. Thus, the entire considered for potential leasing before 2017.leasing process proceeds from broad-based plan-ning to a more narrow focus as actual develop- On December 23, 2010, Secretary Salazar issuedment is proposed. the Revised Program Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007-2012. ToAfter a new 5-year program is finalized, there inform the Secretary’s decision on the program,is further environmental review and consulta- the BOEMRE re-analyzed all 26 OCS planningtion with other Federal agencies and state, local, areas to better determine the relative environ-and tribal governments before holding any indi- mental sensitivity of several ecological compo-vidual lease sale. As with the development of a nents to multiple impacts of offshore oil and gasnew 5-year program, the individual sale process development. The expanded analysis not onlyis conducted in an open, transparent, predictable continued to analyze the sensitivity of shoreline/manner. From the call for information/nomina- coastal habitats, but also went further to analyzetions to the final notice of sale, the individual sensitivity of offshore/marine resources to oillease sale process, described in Section 19 of the and gas activities. This analysis relied on nearlyOCS Lands Act, includes many opportunities for 50 reports and studies, many of which were notpublic input, in addition to the opportunities of- considered when the original 2007-2012 relativefered by necessary procedures under NEPA and environmental sensitivity analysis was prepared.the Coastal Zone Management Act. In all, thereare eight opportunities for public comment before The BOEMRE identified three relevant com-a final decision is made to hold any OCS sale. ponents of the various areas of the OCS (the biological marine environment) that may be af-OCS 5-Year Programs (What Happens Next): fected by oil and gas activities: marine habi- tats, marine productivity, and marine fauna (e.g.,On December 1, 2010, Secretary Salazar an- birds, fish, marine mammals, and sea turtles).nounced an updated oil and gas leasing strategy The analysis considers the relative sensitivityfor the OCS. Based on lessons learned from the of the marine environment in all planning areasDeepwater Horizon oil spill, the DOI has raised to multiple impact-producing factors, such asthe bar in the drilling and production stages for oil spills, sound, and physical disturbance andequipment, safety, environmental safeguards, increased sensitivity due to climate change andand oversight. In order to focus on implementing ocean acidification.these reforms efficiently and effectively, criticalagency resources will be focused on planning ar- Seismic surveys, drilling and production activi-eas that currently have leases for potential future ties at OCS facilities, and support vessel trafficdevelopment. As a result, the area in the Eastern generate sound that could affect marine resourc-Gulf of Mexico that remains under a congressio- es. The BOEMRE requires monitoring and miti-nal moratorium, and the Mid and South Atlantic gation measures to minimize impacts from soundplanning areas are no longer under consideration on marine resources. For example, independent-for potential development through 2017. The ly contracted protected species observers moni-Western Gulf of Mexico, Central Gulf of Mexico, tor exclusion zones around the source vessels and5.0 Conventional Energy Development 87
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsshut down procedures when protected species are Alaskawithin the exclusion zone. Offshore drilling in Alaska is under careful reviewPhysical disturbance includes bottom disturbanc- and consideration by the DOI and from OCS platform and pipeline emplace- These efforts include scientific and environmen-ments, as well as from anchors. The BOEMRE tal studies, public meetings, and additional analy-requires site-specific surveys to assist in avoiding sis of oil spill response capabilities in the contact with marine habitats and archeo-logical sites. However, unavoidable or acciden- The BOEMRE recently held public meetings intal disturbances could result in physical destruc- Alaska to gather important public input and in-tion and burial of organisms and habitat. formation for an EIS that will help inform Secre- tary Salazar’s decision on whether and where toAs a result of environmental review and consul- schedule Alaska lease sales under the 2012-2017tations in the pre-lease sale process, additional program. The public meetings covered the Beau-areas may be excluded from leasing, and mitigat- fort, Chukchi, and Cook Inlet planning areas. Ining measures may be required to address any po- his March 31, 2010, announcement, the Presidenttential impacts from oil and gas exploration and withdrew the North Aleutian Basin (Bristol Bay)development. For example, BOEMRE has re- from consideration for leasing through 2017.quired protections for the Flower Garden BanksNational Marine Sanctuary in the northwest Gulf Decisions about the 2012-2017 program will beof Mexico by prohibiting leasing in the immedi- informed by an ongoing USGS evaluation ofate area and restricting activities in a surrounding what is known about the resources, risks, andbuffer zone. environmental sensitivities in Arctic areas and input from other Federal agencies, including theSpecific actions for each OCS region include: NOAA.Gulf of Mexico Though no further lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas will be held under the 2007-2012Lease sales in the Western and Central Gulf of program, BOEMRE will continue to honor exist-Mexico under the 2007-2012 program are cur- ing leases in the Arctic. The bureau is preparingrently scheduled to proceed in late 2011 and early additional environmental analysis of the area and2012, after BOEMRE completes appropriate en- is working closely with other Federal agenciesvironmental analyses. The DOI will also soon that also must approve aspects of any proposedbegin public meetings and environmental anal- drilling activity, including the NOAA and theysis to inform decisions about when and where sales in portions of the Gulf of Mexico cur-rently not under congressional moratorium will For any drilling operation that is approved,be held during 2012-2017. Most of the Eastern BOEMRE will have safety personnel on siteGulf of Mexico planning area remains under a throughout the drilling operation to monitor thecongressionally mandated drilling moratorium operation and hold the company accountable foruntil 2022 and is not proposed for leasing in ei- compliance with BOEMRE’s drilling safety andther the 2007-2012 program or the 2012-2017 environmental regulations.program.88 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Pre-lease Develop 5-Year Program 45-day Draft 60-day Proposed 90-day Proposed Final 60-day period 5-year Solict comment comment Program comment period Program with Congress Comments Proposed Program period Program period 45-day EIS Announced Draft EIS Final EIS 30-day period comment period Planning for Specific Sale 30-day 60-day Call for comment Define Proposed Notice comment Information period Sale Area of Sale period Final 30-day Consistency 90-day Notice of Sale Leases Notice of 45-day EIS period Issued Intent to 30-day comment Determination(s) period Sale comment Draft EIS* Prepare an period Final EIS* 30-day EIS* period period Environmental Consultations Post Lease Exploration Phase Regulatory Review Exploration Exploration Plan Permits Plan Environmental Approved Approved Exploration Delineation Submitted Assessment* including Drilling Drilling any required consultations Coastal Zone Management Review Development Phase Regulatory Review Development Permits First Oil/Gas 60-day public comment period on the plan 45-day EIS Plan Approved Production Development comment Approved Plan Notice of Intent to 30-day Prepare an EIS* comment Draft EIS* period Final EIS* 30-day Submitted period period Environmental Consultations Coastal Zone Management Review * Level of appropriate National Environmental Policy Act documentation to be determined based on the actual project proposed Abbreviation: EIS - Environmental Impact Statement The durations of comment periods are the minimum time frames requiredMid and South Atlantic PacificBecause the potential oil and gas resources in the Because of the lower resource potential and lowMid and South Atlantic are not currently well support for potential new leasing, no lease salesknown, the DOI is moving forward with an en- are scheduled in the Pacific in the 2007-2012 pro-vironmental analysis for potential seismic stud- gram or in the 2012-2017 program.ies in the Mid and South Atlantic OCS to supportconventional and renewable energy planning. Nolease sales will be scheduled in the Atlantic in the2007-2012 program or in the 2012-2017 program.5.0 Conventional Energy Development 89
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Offshore Oil and Gas • The Outer Continental Shelf is a significant source of oil and gas for the Nation. - There are 37.9 million leased OCS acres that generally account for over 10 percent of America’s domestic natural gas production and more than 25 percent of America’s domestic oil production. • BOEMRE’s estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources on the OCS (2006 mean estimates) total: - 86 billion barrels of oil - 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas • The OCS Lands Act requires the Department of the Interior to prepare a 5-year program that specifies the size, timing, and location of areas to be assessed for Federal offshore natural gas and oil leasing. • Other offshore mineral production includes sand and gravel extracted for use in coastal restoration and beach replenishment projects.90 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands5.0 Conventional Energy Development 91
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 5.3.2 Interagency Coordination In addition to the coordination mentioned above, the MMS (now BOEMRE) entered into an MOUThroughout the 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leas- with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in Program, individual sale, and regulatory pro- The BOEMRE interacts with the USCG on a mul-cesses, BOEMRE consults with various Federal, titude of mission areas at all levels from headquar-state, and local agencies that share a stewardship ters down to the field units. For example, BO-role in managing the OCS. BOEMRE consults EMRE is authorized to oversee the Fixed Platformwith the NOAA and FWS to meet requirements Self-Inspection Program on behalf of the USCG,of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine and frequently exchanges information with theMammal Protection Act. BOEMRE meets with USCG to clarify policy issues and provide com-tribal leaders in accordance with government-to- pliance statistics. The BOEMRE also interactsgovernment consultation requirements and to in- with the USCG at the region and district levels tocorporate their views in decisions. coordinate overlapping areas of offshore inspec- tion and accident investigation field activities.Exploration and production activities proposedto BOEMRE for approval must undergo envi- The BOEMRE has been consulting with the mili-ronmental reviews by other Federal agencies in tary for more than 25 years at both the planningcompliance with more than 10 statutes, executive and operational stages to ensure that each agencyorders, and international agreements, in addition meets the requirements of its mission while notto the extensive environmental analysis required unduly interfering with the other agency. Coor-under NEPA. For example, proposed activities dination under a 1983 MOU between the DOIare examined for potential impacts to: endangered and the DOD has yielded no serious conflict. Forand threatened species and any designated critical example, seven military communication towershabitat under the Endangered Species Act; fish installed by the U.S. Air Force offshore Mobile,and essential fish habitat under the Magnuson- Alabama, support Air Combat Maneuvering In-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management strumentation, and BOEMRE coordinates withAct; and cultural resources under the National the Air Force to ensure noninterference with mili-Historic Preservation Act. Evaluations of poten- tary operations in that area. Oil and gas activitiestial effects on marine mammals, birds, coral reefs, are restricted so that no activity can take placewater quality, air quality, Indian sacred sites, and within 500 feet of a tower site, and unobstructedenvironmental justice also take place under sepa- lines of sight must be maintained between tow-rate consultation processes. Further, BOEMRE ers. The MOU is in the process of being updatedcoordinates with affected states under the Coastal to more accurately reflect the current status of theZone Management Act to ensure any BOEMRE- OCS and the new offshore renewable energy pro-approved activities are consistent with a state’s gram.federally approved coastal management program.All of these environmental reviews are consid- 5.3.3 Siting andered by BOEMRE, along with the NEPA analy- Operational Considerationssis, to make decisions on whether to approve anactivity, and if so, what mitigation and monitor- The 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program,ing measures must be put in place to eliminate required under Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act,or minimize any potential adverse affects to these includes a 5-year schedule of proposed lease salesvaluable marine resources. that shows size, timing, and location of potential92 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsleasing activity as precisely as possible. The has incorporated 97 technical standards intoOCS Lands Act mandates that the 5-year program BOEMRE regulations.must balance the priorities of meeting nationalenergy needs, ensures environmentally sound and The BOEMRE recently issued a tough new drill-safe operations, and assures receipt of fair market ing safety rule along with new requirements forvalue to the taxpayer. Before any particular lease operators to institutionalize safety in their oper-sale is considered, it must be included in an ap- ational processes. The DOI believes these newproved 5-year program. rules will substantially improve the safety of new offshore drilling. The BOEMRE continues to re-The process to develop a 5-year program includes view its regulations and will further update andthree separate comment periods, two draft pro- strengthen them in the near future to ensure theposals, a final proposal, and the development of most effective requirements for promoting safetyan EIS that informs the Secretary’s decisionmak- and environmental protection on the During this process, BOEMRE evaluates:the economic, social, and environmental values Once a lease has been issued, a lessee/operatorof renewable and nonrenewable resources in the must submit plans for BOEMRE approval beforeOCS; the potential impact of oil and gas explora- beginning any activity. The lessee/operator musttion on other OCS resource values; and the po- meet certain criteria documented in a site-specifictential impact on marine, coastal, and human en- exploration plan before beginning exploratoryvironments. drilling on a lease. If exploration results are fa- vorable, the lessee/operator moves to the produc-Throughout the stages of developing the 5-year tion and development phase of its operations.program, BOEMRE analysis is based on science The lessee/operator must submit a developmentand research obtained through the BOEMRE and production plan or a development operationsEnvironmental Studies Program, the BOEMRE coordination document. In water depths greaterTechnology Assessment and Research Program, than 400 feet, the lessee/operator must also sub-and studies from other sources such as other Fed- mit a deepwater operations plan and a conserva-eral and state agencies, the National Academy of tion information document.Sciences, and universities. The purpose of the deepwater operations plan 5.3.4 Permitting Procedures is to ensure that BOEMRE has sufficient infor- and Requirements mation to review any development project that uses nonconventional production or completionThe BOEMRE’s regulatory framework encom- technology (in most cases, floating or subsea pro-passes a variety of components that address envi- duction systems) from a total systems approach.ronmental, safety, and conservation issues. Thisframework includes a three-tiered approach to reg- The BOEMRE evaluates the system to determineulation, relying upon prescriptive requirements, whether the project will be properly developed,performance-based goals, and consensus-based particularly from the standpoint of operationaltechnical standards incorporated into BOEMRE safety and environmental protection issues. Theregulations. Section 21(b) of the OCS Lands Act BOEMRE also utilizes the conservation informa-requires the use of best available and safest eco- tion document to ensure that all economicallynomically feasible technologies, and BOEMRE producible reservoirs are developed.5.0 Conventional Energy Development 93
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsEach exploration plan, development and produc- planning, preparedness, and response in Federaltion plan, or development operations coordination offshore waters. Recognizing the unique distri-document must demonstrate that the proposed ac- bution of authority related to the subject as settivities are conducted in a manner that: forth in the Oil Pollution Act, and the need to clar- ify roles and responsibilities, BOEMRE and the• Conforms to Federal laws and regulations; USCG entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA OCS-03) in May 2007. The document• Is safe; addresses oil spill response plans, unannounced drills, equipment inspections, oil spill response• Prevents waste, conserves natural resources, training, spill management team training, oil spill and protects Federal interests; financial responsibility, oil spill response, pollu- tion events databases, enforcement, interagency• Does not unreasonably interfere with other training, and area committees. uses of the OCS; and Implementation of the various components of• Does not cause undue or serious harm or the memorandum has been ongoing. For in- damage to the human, marine, or coastal stance, BOEMRE conducts approximately 20 environment. unannounced table top oil spill exercises, some of which require deployment of response equip-An APD must be submitted to BOEMRE ment, on an annual basis. Staff conducting thefor each and every well drilled on the OCS. exercises routinely invites USCG sector staff toWritten approval is required before an op- participate in the exercises as the Federal on-erator may begin to drill any well, sidetrack, scene coordinator or serve in other positionsor bypass, or to deepen an existing well. within the unified command. The USCG staff isThe BOEMRE requires each lessee/operator to also routinely invited to participate in BOEMREtake necessary precautions to keep wells under unannounced oil spill response equipment in-control at all times. The BOEMRE is in the pro- spections that are conducted for oil spill removalcess of strengthening its processes for reviewing organizations with equipment listed in BOEMREapplications for permit to drill, prior to approval. approved oil spill response plans. In another ini-Companies must also meet oil spill financial re- tiative, plans are underway to establish a digitalsponsibility requirements prior to drilling. means by which the USCG can access oil spill re- sponse plans for review and comment. And, in theOil Spill Program area of training, BOEMRE staff was allowed to attend a USCG-sponsored training session at theThe Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and Executive Or- BOEMRE National Oil Spill Response Test Fa-der 12777 give the DOI and BOEMRE author- cility (OHMSETT) in Leonardo, New Jersey.ity over oil spill planning and preparedness for During offshore discharges, BOEMRE serves afacilities in state and Federal offshore waters that critical role to the Federal on-scene commanderhandle, store, or transport oil (excluding deepwa- by providing engineering and technical expertiseter ports). on offshore facilities. Further, BOEMRE often provides the USCG data on responsible partiesThe BOEMRE and the USCG are actively en- for offshore spills and works with the Nationalgaged in numerous activities related to oil spill Pollution Funds Center in cases involving re-94 5.0 Conventional Energy Development
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landssponse claims. At the national level, BOEMRE 5.3.5 Monitoring and Compliancehas a representative on the National Schedule Over the Life of the ProjectCoordination Committee of the National Pre-paredness for Response Exercise Program. The BOEMRE conducts announced and unan- nounced inspections of OCS facilities and anySenior management of both agencies meets sev- vessels engaged in drilling or downhole opera-eral times per year to address priority issues. At tions to determine whether an operator’s per-the last meeting held at USCG headquarters, oil formance is acceptable year-round. Inspectionsdischarge planning, preparedness, and response foster a climate of safe operations, maintain awere key topics resulting in a joint recommenda- BOEMRE presence, and focus on operators withtion by BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich a poor performance record. Noncompliance withand USCG Rear Admiral Brian Salerno. The requirements for specific installations or proce-recommendation states that a special work group dures is followed by prescribed enforcement ac-be implemented to look at lessons learned from tions consisting of written warnings or shut-ins ofthe Deepwater Horizon event and to identify any platforms, zones (wells), equipment, or pipelines.regulatory gaps. In the event noncompliance is detected, the in- spector takes the appropriate enforcement action.The BOEMRE Oil Spill Program was established If an operator is found in violation of a safety orto oversee planning and preparedness activities of environmental requirement, a citation is issuedoperators of regulated facilities in offshore wa- requiring that it be in compliance within 7 days.ters. The goal of the program is to ensure that, The violation may call for the particular wellduring a response, those who will operate oil spill component, production component, or the entireresponse equipment or serve on management complex to be shut-in. The Secretary also hasteams are prepared to do so in a manner that pre- other remedies, including the assessment of civilvents or minimizes safety hazards to responders penalties for failure to comply with responsibili-and the public as well as negative impacts to the ties under the law, license, permit, or any regula-environment. tion or order issued. As with other safety-related aspects of BOEMRE operations, the agency isAffected offshore operators must prepare an oil in the process of making major improvements tospill response plan for BOEMRE approval that its inspection and monitoring programs, includ-includes details on how they will respond to a ing efforts to substantially increase the agency’sworst-case discharge scenario from both near- engineering and inspection workforce, developshore and far-shore locations. Contents of oil more aggressive inspection protocols, and evalu-spill response plans include spill management ate creative new ways to improve oversight (e.g.,team members, certification of contracts with oil monitoring key drilling processes through the re-spill removal organizations, notification require- view of real-time data sent to an onshore opera-ments, sensitive resources, dispersant use plans, tions center).platform and pipeline information, and specificemergency management procedures. Further, 5.3.6 Restoration and ReclamationBOEMRE conducts unannounced oil spill drillsto verify that operators are prepared to quickly The BOEMRE requires site clearance at theand efficiently respond to a spill from one of their end of a lease. Regulations are found in thefacilities. OCS Lands Act at 30 CFR 256, subpart Q. The 95
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsBOEMRE lease form, Section 22, Removal of 5.3.7 BondingProperty No Longer Useful and Upon Termina-tion of Lease, states: The BOEMRE requires a general surety bond on every OCS oil and gas lease, based upon the The Lessee shall remove all devices, works, potential level of activity on that lease: no op- and structures from the premises when no erational activity, exploration activity (wells), or longer useful to operations, but no later than development activity (wells and facilities). In ad- 1 year after termination of this lease in whole dition, a supplemental bond is required to cover a or in part except with the expressed permis- lessee’s liability for facility abandonment and site sion of the Regional Supervisor. Such de- clearance. The estimated cost for these activi- commissioning operations shall be carried out ties is determined pursuant to supplemental bond in a safe and timely manner and in accordance procedures and available data. The BOEMRE with applicable laws and regulations. The Di- reviews the information, and based on historical rector may require decommissioning at any data and industry information, the decommis- time. However, the Lessee may, with the ap- sioning amounts and supplemental bonds can be proval of the Director, continue to maintain adjusted. devices, works, and structures on the leased area for drilling or producing on other leases.96
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 6.0 Conclusion “Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs—but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation—workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors.” President Obama, June 15, 2010President Obama has said consistently that the renewable energy generation capacity withinonly way to avoid oil price spikes—like the one 3 years. The Administration also recognizes thatthe Nation is experiencing today and those expe- traditional sources of energy will continue to playrienced over almost four decades since the first an important role in achieving our energy goals,oil embargo in 1973—will ultimately be to tran- including reducing our dependence on foreign en-sition away from today’s heavy reliance on oil ergy sources.resources. The President has committed signifi-cant investments to clean energy so as to reduce The Departments of the Interior and AgricultureAmerica’s dependence on oil and its vulnerability manage 700 million acres of Federal land, 700to fluctuations in oil prices and the stability of un- million acres of onshore subsurface mineral es-friendly regimes abroad. tate, and energy resources on the 1.7 billion acres that comprise the OCS. Although these areasAs the President stated on March 11, 2011, have long been a significant source of mineral“(T)he bottom line is this. We’ve been having this exploration and development, they have not beenconversation for nearly four decades now. Every extensively used to develop renewable energy re-few years, gas prices go up; politicians pull out sources.the same old political playbook, and then noth-ing changes. And when prices go back down, we The Administration will continue to ensure thatslip back into a trance. And then when prices go land use decisions and authorizations for expand-up, suddenly we’re shocked. I think the Ameri- ing new energy development minimize its poten-can people are tired of that. I think they’re tired tial footprint and impacts on other resource values.of talk. We’ve got to work together—Democrats, Siting and permitting processes for various formsRepublicans, and everybody in between—to fi- of energy development will include, as a key ele-nally secure America’s energy future. I don’t ment, techniques that protect and restore sensitivewant to leave this for the next President, and none landscapes and habitats for wildlife. Moreover,of us should want to leave it for our kids.” the Administration will continue to take the ap- propriate steps to put necessary reforms in placeThe Administration is committed to clean energy to ensure mitigation and protection of our publicdevelopment as an avenue for progressing toward lands and resources while providing for the pro-energy security. In pursuit of this objective, the duction of energy, both renewable and conven-Administration set an ambitious goal of doubling tional, from Federal lands and offshore areas. 97
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 7.0 Appendices7.1 Appendix 1Secretarial Order on Developing Renewable EnergyORDER NO. 3285, Amendment No. 1 (Amended material italicized)SIGNATURE DATE: February 22, 2010Subject: Renewable Energy Development by the Department of the InteriorSec. 1 Purpose. This Order establishes the development of renewable energy as a priority forthe Department of the Interior and establishes a Departmental Task Force on Energy and ClimateChange. This Order also amends and clarifies Departmental roles and responsibilities to accomplishthis goal.Sec. 2 Background. The Nation faces significant challenges to meeting its current and future en-ergy needs. Meeting these challenges will require strategic planning and a thoughtful, balancedapproach to domestic resource development that calls upon the coordinated development of renew-able resources, as well as the development of traditional energy resources. Many of our public landspossess substantial renewable resources that will help meet our Nation’s future energy needs whilealso providing significant benefits to our environment and the economy. Increased production of re-newable energy will create jobs, provide cleaner, more sustainable alternatives to traditional energyresources, and enhance the energy security of the United States by adding to the domestic energysupply. As the steward of more than one-fifth of our Nation’s lands, and neighbor to other land man-agers, the Department of the Interior has a significant role in coordinating and ensuring environmen-tally responsible renewable energy production and development of associated infrastructure neededto deliver renewable energy to the consumer.Sec. 3 Authority. This Order is issued under the authority of Section 2 of Reorganization Plan No.3 of 1950 (64 Stat. 1262), as amended, and pursuant to the provisions of Section 211 of the EnergyPolicy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58).Sec. 4 Policy. Encouraging the production, development, and delivery of renewable energy is oneof the Department’s highest priorities. Agencies and bureaus within the Department will work col-laboratively with each other, and with other Federal agencies, departments, states, local communi-ties, and private landowners to encourage the timely and responsible development of renewable 99
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsenergy and associated transmission while protecting and enhancing the Nation’s water, wildlife, andother natural resources.Sec. 5 Energy and Climate Change Task Force. A Task Force on Energy and Climate Change ishereby established in the Department. The Task Force reports to the Energy and Climate ChangeCouncil. The Deputy Secretary and the Counselor to the Secretary shall serve as Co-Chairs. At thediscretion of the Co-chairs, the Task Force may draw on separate bureau and Assistant Secretaryrepresentation, as appropriate, to concentrate on the renewable energy agenda. The Task Force onEnergy and Climate Change shall: a. develop a strategy that is designed to increase the development and transmission of renew- able energy from appropriate areas on public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf, includ- ing the following: (1) quantifying potential contributions of solar, wind, geothermal, incremental or small hy- droelectric power on existing structures, and biomass energy; (2) identifying and prioritizing the specific locations in the United States best suited for large-scale production of solar, wind, geothermal, incremental or small hydroelectric power on existing structures, and biomass energy (e.g., renewable energy zones); (3) identifying, in cooperation with other agencies of the United States and appropriate state agencies, the electric transmission infrastructure and transmission corridors needed to deliver these renewable resources to major population centers; (4) prioritizing the permitting and appropriate environmental review of transmission rights- of-way applications that are necessary to deliver renewable energy generation to consum- ers; (5) establishing clear roles and processes for each bureau/office; (6) tracking bureau/office progress and working to identify and resolve obstacles to renew- able energy permitting, siting, development, and production; (7) identifying additional policies and/or revisions to existing policies or practices that are needed, including possible revisions to the Geothermal, Wind, and West-Wide Corridors Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements and their respective Records of Deci- sions; and (8) working with individual states, tribes, local governments, and other interested stakehold- ers, including renewable generators and transmission and distribution utilities, to identify appropriate areas for generation and necessary transmission;100 7.0 Appendices
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands b. develop best management practices for renewable energy and transmission projects on the public lands to ensure the most environmentally responsible development and delivery of renewable energy; c. establish clear policy direction for authorizing the development of solar energy on public lands; and d. recommend such other actions as may be necessary to fulfill the goals of this Order.Sec. 6 Responsibilities. a. Program Assistant Secretaries. Program Assistant Secretaries overseeing bureaus responsible for, or that provide assistance with, the planning, siting, or permitting of renewable energy generation and transmission facilities on the public lands and on the Outer Continental Shelf, are responsible for: (1) establishing and participating in management structures that facilitate cooperation, report- ing, and accountability across agencies, including the Task Force on Energy and Climate Change; (2) establishing joint, single-point-of contact offices that consolidate expertise to ensure a coordinated, efficient, and expeditious permitting process while ensuring appropriate sit- ing and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and all other applicable laws; and (3) working collaboratively with other departments, state, and local authorities to coordinate and harmonize non-Federal permitting processes. b. Assistant Secretary – Policy, Management and Budget. The Assistant Secretary – Policy, Management and Budget is a member of the Task Force and shall: (1) ensure that investments associated with Interior managed facilities meet Federal stan- dards for energy efficiency and greening applications; and (2) coordinate with the Energy and Climate Change Task Force, as appropriate. c. Bureau Heads. Each bureau head is responsible for designating a representative to the Task Force on Energy and Climate Change.Sec. 7 Implementation. The Deputy Secretary is responsible for ensuring implementation of thisOrder. This responsibility may be delegated as appropriate.7.0 Appendices 101
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsSec. 8 Effective Date. This Order is effective immediately and will remain in effect until its pro-visions are converted to the Departmental Manual or until it is amended, superseded, or revoked,whichever comes first. /s/ Ken Salazar Secretary of the InteriorSO#3285A1 2/22/10102 7.0 Appendices
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands7.2 Appendix 2Inquiries and Proposals for Wind Energy on National Forest System LandsNumerous inquiries have been received from companies regarding the siting of meteorological towers(met towers) which are needed to obtain viable wind data. The following table displays those inquiriesand/or wind energy proposals on National Forest System lands.Meteorological Tower Inquiries and Wind Energy Proposals on National Forest System Lands Region Forest Purpose Stage of Development Who EWindfarm, 1 Dakota Prairie National Grasslands Inquiry: met tower - wind Wind testing Inc. Arapaho and Roosevelt National Proposal: met tower - Clear Creek 2 To install met towers Forests wind Power Clear Creek 2 Pawnee National Grassland Inquiry: wind Wind testing Power Serves as power for ski 2 White River National Forest Proposal: wind Snowmass area and grid National Environmental Medicine Bow and Routt National 2 Proposal: 3 – met towers Policy Act (NEPA) Forests underway Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and 2 Inquiry: wind Wind testing Gunnison National Forests NextEra 3 Cibola National Forest Application: met tower Wind testing Energy Resources 4 Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Permitted: 1 – met tower Wind testing Salmon Ongoing wind testing for River Electric 4 Salmon-Challis National Forest Permitted: 1 – met tower several years Cooperative, Inc. 4 Sawtooth National Forest Proposal: met towers Currently processing enXco Horizon Wind 5 Lassen National Forest Permitted: met tower Wind testing Energy Coram FS 5 Los Padres National Forest Proposal: wind Wind testing Development, LP 5 Modoc National Forest Inquiry: met towers Wind testing Ewind Ltd. Ewind Ltd., 5 Plumas National Forest Proposal: met towers Wind testing Horizon Wind Energy7.0 Appendices 103
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsMeteorological Tower Inquiries and Wind Energy Proposals on Naitonal Forest System Lands(continued): Region Forest Purpose Stage of Development Who Debenham 5 San Bernardino National Forest Permitted: met towers Wind testing Energy, LLC 6 Wind testing; application Ridgeline Fremont-Winema National Forests Permitted: met towers to install a 159 wind Energy, LLC turbine farm 8 Cherokee National Forest Inquiry: met tower Wind testing Freedom Work 8 Ouachita National Forest Inquiry: met tower Wind testing Electric Coop British 8 NC Inquiry: met tower Wind testing Petroleum NEPA underway: 9 Green Mountain National Forest Proposal: wind farm Deerfield Wind Project104 7.0 Appendices
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands7.3 Appendix 3 Prohibits discharges of oil or hazardous substanc- es into or upon the navigable waters of the UnitedEnvironmental Laws and Regulations States, adjoining shorelines, or into or upon theBesides the basic land management legislative waters of the contiguous zone, or in connec-authorities, onshore and offshore energy devel- tion with activities under the OCS Lands Act, oropment projects on Federal lands are subject to which may affect natural resources belonging tofull compliance with all environmental laws and the United States.regulations. These include, but are not limited to: Coastal Zone Management Act, as amendedAmerican Indian Religious Freedom Act of (16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.): Specifies that coastal1978 (42 U.S.C. 1996); Executive Order 13007, States may protect coastal resources and manage“Indian Sacred Sites” (May 24, 1996): Requires coastal development. A State with a coastal zoneFederal agencies to facilitate Native American management program approved by the Nationalaccess to and ceremonial use of sacred sites on Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration mayFederal lands, to promote greater protection for deny or restrict development off its coast if thethe physical integrity of such sites, and to main- reasonably foreseeable effects of such develop-tain the confidentiality of such sites, where ap- ment would be inconsistent with the State’s coast-propriate. al zone management program.Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amendedU.S.C. 668-668c), enacted in 1940: Prohibits (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.): Requires Federal agen-anyone, without a permit issued by the Secretary cies to consult with the FWS and the Nationalof the Interior, from “taking” bald eagles, includ- Marine Fisheries Service to ensure that proposeding their parts, nests, or eggs. The Act provides Federal actions are not likely to jeopardize thecriminal penalties for persons who “take, pos- continued existence of any species listed at thesess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase Federal level as endangered or threatened, or re-or barter, transport, export or import, at any time sult in the destruction or adverse modification ofor any manner, any bald eagle ... [or any golden critical habitat designated for such species.eagle], alive or dead, or any part, nest, or eggthereof.” Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-58):Clean Air Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 7401 et Includes provisions for renewable energy that areseq.): Prohibits Federal agencies from provid- intended to increase production and use, advanceing financial assistance for, or issuing a license or technology development, and promote commer-other approval to, any activity that does not con- cial development. Other provisions establish re-form to an applicable, approved implementation source assessments, Federal purchases of equip-plan for achieving and maintaining the National ment and electricity, Federal land leasing, andAmbient Air Quality Standards. grants, all of which are subject to appropriations. Provisions are also included to increase develop-Clean Water Act, Section 311, as amended (33 ment of conventional energy resources from Fed-U.S.C. 1321), Executive Order 12777, “Imple- eral lands, including measures to increase accessmentation of Section 311 of the Federal Water to Federal lands by energy projects — such asPollution Control Act of October 18, 1972, as drilling activities, electric transmission lines, andAmended, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990:” gas pipelines.7.0 Appendices 105
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsFederal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 792 et seq.): fect the quality of the human environment, andGoverns licensing of hydropower development to consider alternatives to such proposed actions.on Federal lands and the OCS. Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, as amend-Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, as amend- ed (43 U.S.C 1331 et seq.): Governs energy anded (16 U.S.C. 661-667e; the Act of March 10, mineral leasing and development on the OCS,1934; Ch. 55; 48 Stat. 401): Requires consultation i.e., all submerged lands lying seaward of statewith the Fish and Wildlife Service and the fish coastal waters that are under U.S. jurisdiction.and wildlife agencies of States where the “watersof any stream or other body of water are proposed Resource Conservation and Recovery Act,or authorized, permitted or licensed to be im- as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Wastepounded, diverted . . . or otherwise controlled or Amendments of 1984 (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.):modified” by any agency under a Federal permit Requires hazardous waste treatment, storage, andor license. Consultation is to be undertaken for disposal facilities to demonstrate in their permitthe purpose of “preventing loss of and damage to applications that design and operating standardswildlife resources.” established by the EPA (or an authorized State) will be met.National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, asamended (16 U.S.C. 470-470t) and Archaeologi- Responsibilities of Federal Agencies to Protectcal and Historical Preservation Act of 1974 (16 Migratory Birds, Executive Order 13186, Janu-U.S.C. 469-469c-2): Require each Federal agen- ary 10, 2001: Requires that Federal agencies tak-cy to consider what effect Federal undertakings ing actions likely to negatively affect migratorymay have on historic properties and to consult bird populations enter into Memoranda of Un-with other parties, including the Advisory Coun- derstanding with the FWS, which, among othercil on Historic Preservation, appropriate the State things, ensure that environmental reviews man-or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer before al- dated by NEPA evaluate the effects of agency ac-lowing a federally licensed activity to proceed tions on migratory birds, with emphasis on spe-in an area where cultural or historic resources cies of concern.might be affected by the undertaking; authorizesthe Interior Secretary to undertake the salvage of Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899archaeological data that may be lost due to a Fed- (33 U.S.C. 401 et seq.): Delegates to the U.S.eral project. Army Corps of Engineers the authority to review and regulate certain structures and activities thatNational Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as are located in or affect the navigable waters of theamended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.): Requires Fed- U.S. The OCS Lands Act explicitly extends thiseral agencies to prepare an EIS to evaluate the authority to the seaward limit of Federal jurisdic-potential environmental impacts of any proposed tion.major Federal action that would significantly af-106 7.0 Appendices
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands7.4 Appendix 4Memorandum of Understanding for Hydropower7.0 Appendices 107
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  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands7.5 Appendix 5Applicable LawsRenewable Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf Responsible Statute/Executive Order Federal Agency/ Summary of Pertinent Provisions Agencies Requires Federal agencies to prepare an EIS to evaluate the National Environmental Council on potential environmental impacts of any proposed major Federal Policy Act of 1969, Environmental action that would significantly affect the quality of the human as amended Quality environment, and to consider alternatives to such proposed (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) actions. Requires Federal agencies to consult with the FWS and the • U.S. Fish and NMFS to ensure that proposed Federal actions are not likely Endangered Species Act Wildlife Service to jeopardize the continued existence of any species listed at of 1973, as amended • National Oceanic the Federal level as endangered or threatened, or result in the (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and Atmospheric destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat designated Administration for such species. • U.S. Fish and Prohibits, with certain exceptions, the take of marine mammals Marine Mammal Protection Wildlife Service in U.S. waters by U.S. citizens on the high seas, and the Act of 1972, as amended • National Marine importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products (16 U.S.C. 1361-1407) Fisheries Service into the United States. Magnuson-Stevens Requires Federal agencies to consult with the NMFS on proposed Fishery Conservation National Marine Federal actions that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitats and Management Act Fisheries Service that are necessary for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) maturity of Federally managed fisheries. • Environmental Prohibits, with certain exceptions, the dumping or transportation Protection Agency for dumping of materials including, but not limited to, dredged Marine Protection, • U.S. Army Corps material, solid waste, garbage, sewage, sewage sludge, Research, and of Engineers chemicals, biological and laboratory waste, wrecked or discarded Sanctuaries Act of 1972, (ACOE) equipment, rock, sand, excavation debris, and other waste into as amended (33 U.S.C. • National Oceanic ocean waters without a permit from the EPA. In the case of 1401 et seq.) and Atmospheric ocean dumping of dredged material, the ACOE is given permitting Administration authority. National Marine National Oceanic Prohibits the destruction, loss of, or injury to, any sanctuary Sanctuaries Act (16 U.S.C. and Atmospheric resource managed under the law or permit, and requires Federal 1431 et seq.) Administration agency consultation on Federal agency actions, internal or external to national marine sanctuaries, that are likely to destroy, injure, or cause the loss of any sanctuary resource. Executive Order 13186, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Requires that Federal agencies taking actions likely to negatively “Responsibilities of Service affect migratory bird populations enter into Memoranda of Federal Agencies to Understanding with the FWS, which, among other things, ensure Protect Migratory Birds,” that environmental reviews mandated by NEPA evaluate the January 10, 2001 effects of agency actions on migratory birds, with emphasis on species of concern.7.0 Appendices 119
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Responsible Statute/Executive Order Federal Agency/ Summary of Pertinent Provisions AgenciesCoastal Zone Management National Oceanic Specifies that coastal States may protect coastal resourcesAct of 1972, as amended and Atmospheric and manage coastal development. A State with a coastal zone(16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.) Administration’s management program approved by NOAA OCRM can deny or Office of Ocean and restrict development off its coast if the reasonably foreseeable Coastal Resource effects of such development would be inconsistent with the State’s Management coastal zone management program.Clean Air Act, as amended • Environmental Prohibits Federal agencies from providing financial assistance(42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.) Protection Agency for, or issuing a license or other approval to, any activity that • Bureau of does not conform to an applicable, approved implementation plan Ocean Energy for achieving and maintaining the National Ambient Air Quality Management, Standards (NAAQS). Regulation and Enforcement Requires EPA (or an authorized State agency) to issue a permit before construction of any new major stationary source or major modification of a stationary source of air pollution. The permit— called a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permit for stationary sources located in areas that comply with the NAAQS, and a Nonattainment Area Permit in areas that do not comply with the NAAQS—must control emissions in the manner prescribed by EPA regulations to either prevent significant deterioration of air quality (in attainment areas), or contribute to reducing ambient air pollution in accordance with an approved implementation plan (in nonattainment areas). Requires the owner or operator of a stationary source that has more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance in a process to submit a Risk Management Plan to EPA.Clean Water Act, • Environmental Prohibits discharges of oil or hazardous substances into or uponSection 311, as amended Protection Agency the navigable waters of the United States, adjoining shorelines, or(33 U.S.C. 1321); • Bureau of into or upon the waters of the contiguous zone, or in connectionExecutive Order 12777, Ocean Energy with activities under the OCS Lands Act, or which may affect“Implementation of Section Management, natural resources belonging to the United States.311 of the Federal Water Regulation andPollution Control Act of Enforcement Authorizes EPA and the USCG to establish programs forOctober 18, 1972, as • U.S. Coast Guard preventing and containing discharges of oil and hazardousAmended, and the Oil substances from non-transportation-related facilities andPollution Act of 1990” transportation-related facilities, respectively. Directs the Secretary of the Interior (BOEMRE) to establish requirements for preventing and containing discharges of oil and hazardous substances from offshore facilities, including associated pipelines, other than deepwater ports.120 7.0 Appendices
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Responsible Statute/Executive Order Federal Agency/ Summary of Pertinent Provisions Agencies Marking of Obstructions U.S. Coast Guard The Coast Guard may mark for the protection of navigation any (14 U.S.C. 86) sunken vessel or other obstruction existing on the navigable waters or waters above the continental shelf of the U.S. in such manner and for so long as, in his judgment, the needs of maritime navigation require. Clean Water Act, Sections Environmental Requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 402 and 403, as amended Protection Agency (NPDES) Permit from EPA (or an authorized State) before (33 U.S.C. 1342 and 1343) discharging any pollutant into territorial waters, the contiguous zone, or the ocean from an industrial point source, a publicly owned treatment works, or a point source composed entirely of storm water. Clean Water Act, Section • U.S. Army Corps Requires a permit from the ACOE before discharging dredged or 404, as amended (33 of Engineers fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. U.S.C. 1344) • Environmental Protection Agency Ports and Waterways U.S. Coast Guard Authorizes the USCG to implement, in waters subject to the Safety Act, as amended jurisdiction of the United States, measures for controlling or (33 U.S.C. 1221 et seq.) supervising vessel traffic or for protecting navigation and the marine environment. Such measures may include but are not limited to: reporting and operating requirements, surveillance and communications systems, routing systems, and fairways. Rivers and Harbors U.S. Army Corps of Section 10 (33 U.S.C. 403) delegates to the ACOE the authority Appropriation Act of 1899 Engineers to review and regulate certain structures and work that are located (33 U.S.C. 401 et seq.) in or that affect navigable waters of the United States. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act extends the jurisdiction of the ACOE, under Section 10, to the seaward limit of Federal jurisdiction. Resource Conservation Environmental Requires waste generators to determine whether they generate and Recovery Act, Protection Agency hazardous waste and, if so, to determine how much hazardous as amended by the waste they generate and notify the responsible regulatory agency. Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of Requires hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal 1984 (42 U.S.C. 6901 et facilities (TSDFs) to demonstrate in their permit applications that seq.) design and operating standards established by the EPA (or an authorized State) will be met. Requires hazardous waste TSDFs to obtain permits. National Historic • National Park Requires each Federal agency to consult with the Advisory Preservation Act of 1966, Service Council on Historic Preservation and the State or Tribal Historic as amended • Advisory Council Preservation Officer before allowing a Federally licensed activity (16 U.S.C. 470-470t); on Historic to proceed in an area where cultural or historic resources might be Archaeological and Preservation located; authorizes the Interior Secretary to undertake the salvage Historical Preservation Act • State or Tribal of archaeological data that may be lost due to a Federal project. of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 469- Historic 469c-2) Preservation Officer7.0 Appendices 121
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Responsible Statute/Executive Order Federal Agency/ Summary of Pertinent Provisions AgenciesAmerican Indian Religious • National Park Requires Federal agencies to facilitate Native American access toFreedom Act of 1978 Service and ceremonial use of sacred sites on Federal lands, to promote(42 U.S.C. 1996); • Advisory Council greater protection for the physical integrity of such sites, and toExecutive Order 13007, on Historic maintain the confidentiality of such sites, where appropriate.“Indian Sacred Sites” Preservation(May 24, 1996) • State or Tribal Historic Preservation OfficerFederal Aviation Act of Federal Aviation Requires that, when construction, alteration, establishment, or1958 (49 U.S.C. 44718); Administration expansion of a structure is proposed, adequate public notice be14 CFR part 77 given to the FAA as necessary to promote safety in air commerce and the efficient use and preservation of the navigable airspace.Federal Powers Act Federal Energy While BOEMRE will issue leases, easement and right-of-way(16 U.S.C 792-823a) Regulatory for hydrokinetic projects located on the OCS, FERC will issue Commission licenses for the construction and operation of hydrokinetic projects on the OCS.122 7.0 Appendices
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands7.6 Appendix 6 implementation decisions. The VRM ClassesPrinciples of the BLM’s have delineated boundaries by which the surfaceVisual Resource Management is managed in accordance with respective class objectives. VRM Classes range from I to IV, withPre-Planning Visual Resource Inventory VRM Class I being the most restrictive on visible landscape modification and VRM Class IV allow-Visual values are documented and analyzed ing for major visible landscape modification. Re-through the objective and systematic visual re- lationships between energy activities and VRMsource inventory (VRI) process, which docu- Class objectives are evaluated for compatibilityments scenic quality, public levels of sensitivity, providing the opportunity for protecting visualand visibility. Data is collected for each of the resources while allowing for sustainable levels ofthree inventoried values and entered into a geo- energy resource development activity.database for mapping and thoughtful planninganalysis. Scenic quality, sensitivity, and visibil- VRM Implementation and Evaluation of Landity are mapped and layered in order to classify Use Projects/Activitiesthe landscape based on the combined product ofthese three measured values. The approved VRM management class objectives impart visual management standards for the de-The inventoried visual values are informational sign and development of future projects and re-only and used for decisionmaking during the habilitation guidelines for existing projects. En-resource/forest management planning process. ergy proponents are encouraged to factor visualThey are used to quantify and disclose impacts management objectives into the early phases ofand weigh loss of scenic values due to other high- project planning and incorporate visual designer priority resource uses during land use planning principles into all surface disturbing site develop-and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ment plans to meet the VRM Class requirements.processes. The VRM mitigation strategies are developedVisual Resource Management (VRM) and through thoughtful use of visual design tools andResource Management Plans (RMP) expertise to minimize visual impacts associated with a proposed activity or project. As design de-The results of VRI become an important com- velops, project plans are evaluated for ways andponent of resource or forest management plans means of reducing contrast through applying afor a given area. The RMP establishes how the range of best management practices for mitigat-public lands will be used and allocated for differ- ing visual impacts.ent purposes, and it is developed through publicparticipation and collaboration. Visual values are The overall VRM goal is to minimize visual im-considered throughout the RMP process, and the pacts, beginning with thoughtful project siting.area’s visual resources are then assigned to VRM Different types of energy resources have variableClasses with established objectives. siting constraints that affect the efficiency of en- ergy generation. The Bureau of Land Manage-The VRM Class designations are considered a ment (BLM) continues to reinforce the conceptsland use plan decision that guides future land of strategic location selection in less visible andmanagement actions and subsequent site-specific less sensitive areas, minimizing disturbance, and7.0 Appendices 123
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Landsrepetition of the basic elements (form, line, color, niques that help reduce surface disturbanceand texture). include: collocating or concentrating proj- ects; undergrounding utilities along side orThree design fundamentals can be used for all under the surface of an existing road; estab-forms of activity or development, regardless of lishing limits of construction disturbance;the resource value being addressed. Applying maximizing slope when it is aestheticallythese fundamentals will help solve most visual and technically appropriate; locating con-design problems: struction staging and administrative areas in less visually sensitive areas; and requiring1) Proper Siting or Location - Siting and select- restoration of disturbed areas after construc- ing the proper location for a proposed project tion has been completed. is the most effective design technique and normally yields the most dramatic results. 3) Repeating the Elements of Form, Line, Basic principles include distancing a project Color, and Texture - Every landscape has away from viewing receptors. The further the basic elements of form, line, color, and into the background, the lesser the contrast. texture. Repeating these elements reduces Avoid locating facilities near prominent contrasts between the landscape and the pro- natural topographic features that already at- posed activity or development and results in tract attention. Design the shape and place- less visual impact. The BLM evaluates the ment of projects to blend with topographic project’s design effectiveness of using the forms and existing vegetation patterns. Use existing landforms, vegetation patterns, and topographic features and vegetation to screen natural lines in the landscape to reinforce the all or a portion of the proposed development. design of the proposed activity or develop- ment. By imitating these naturally occurring2) Reducing Unnecessary Disturbance - As a elements, the design of the proposed devel- general rule, reducing the amount of land opment will be in closer harmony with the disturbed during the construction of a project natural landscape. reduces the extent of visual impact. Tech- This is an untreated cellular tower viewed This is the same cellular tower from Arches National Park. after color treatment.124 7.0 Appendices
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands Minimizing disturbance, placement of facilities, utilizing landform, and surface reclamation Improper placement of turbines and This location shows how topography roads lead to a large visual footprint and can partially conceal wind turbines and environmental damage. reduce visual dominance. Improper surface management creates a greater level of Preservation of vegetation visual contrast with natural under transmission lines landscape line, color, and texture. eliminates visual contrast and minimizes an otherwise visually dominant structure. Vegetation manipulation can reduce visual dominance created by contrast in line, color, and texture while also mitigating for other resource management challenges (fire fuel reduction, wildlife habitat enhancement, etc.).7.0 Appendices 125
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsThe fundamentals and strategies are all interre- National Operations Center, and the BLM Wyo-lated and, when used together, can help resolve ming Renewable Energy Coordination Office.visual impacts from proposed activities or devel-opments. The techniques presented here are only Several renewable energy initiatives that incorpo-a portion of the many design techniques available rate VRM are funded through the American Re-to help reduce the visual impacts resulting from covery and Reinvestment Act. These initiativessurface-disturbing activities or projects. contribute to employment opportunities for BLM and/or DOE contractors and include the follow-The BLM’s visual resource contrast rating pro- ing:cess outlines procedures for evaluating a project’scompliance with the VRM. Visual contrast rating • The BLM National Operations Center hiredprocedures are defined with the BLM Handbook a visual resources landscape architect leadH-8431-1, Visual Resource Contrast Rating, to work directly with the field offices, BLMfor evaluating the level of contrast anticipated Renewable Energy Coordination Offices, andbetween a proposed development and the natu- renewable energy proponents with minimiz-ral setting. Visual contrast level is determined ing visual impacts.through analysis of the project’s form, line, color,and texture and how they interrupt or comple- • The BLM is updating VRIs in areas withment the form, line, color, and texture of the natu- high solar energy potential including targetedral landscape setting. field office areas in Arizona, California, Col- orado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. TheVRM Training inventory will be used to evaluate the visual suitability of site locations for concentratedThe BLM provides VRM training to all BLM solar energy development analyzed as a partemployees, other Federal agencies and contrac- of the solar programmatic environmentaltors, and industry proponents and consultants. impact statement and planning, design, and visual impact analysis of individual solar VRM and Renewable Energy Initiatives energy projects.Visual Risk Assessment Process - The BLM is • Staff members utilizing the BLM’s VRMworking with the Argonne National Laboratory program and the National Landscape Conser-on developing a refined geographical information vation System’s National Scenic and Historicsystem (GIS)-based system for (1) developing vi- Trails program are collaborating to developsual impact risk maps for areas under consider- guidance for establishing and inventory-ation for wind energy development and (2) iden- ing the extent of visual settings associatedtifying location-specific visual impact mitigation with scenic and historic trails. The guidancemeasures and best management practices to avoid includes evaluation procedures for visual im-or reduce potential visual impacts associated with pacts from renewable energy and other formswind energy development. This is funded by the of development.U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) grant pro-gram titled 20% Wind by 2030: Overcoming the • The BLM and Argonne National LaboratoryChallenges. BLM offices involved with this ef- are collaborating on a field study to system-fort include the BLM Washington Office, BLM atically evaluate visibility and visual impact126 7.0 Appendices
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands threshold distances for modern utility-scale mitigating the visibility of obstacles during wind, solar, and geothermal energy devel- light hours as well. opment and electric transmission facilities on lands in the western United States. The • The BLM Washington Office is collaborating study will examine the visual effects associ- with the BLM Wyoming Renewable Energy ated with these developments in a variety Coordination Office in researching the ap- of seasonal, weather, and lighting condi- plication of advanced camouflage technology tions. The study should yield substantially to mitigate the visibility of renewable energy improved baseline values for visual impact facilities. Each form of renewable energy threshold distances that will benefit visual has different common facilities and struc- impact assessments for proposed renewable tures, such as wind turbines for wind energy. energy developments on Federal lands. The camouflage technology might not have practical application for each renewable• The BLM is collaborating with the Federal energy structure, but preliminary investiga- Aviation Administration (FAA) on visibility tion indicates that this technology will prove requirements for obstacles that rise more effective to many ancillary structures and than 200 vertical feet and present a risk for facilities. low-flying aircraft. To warn pilots, the FAA requires the obstacles to have continuous • The BLM Washington Office is collaborating flashing lights during dark hours. The BLM with the BLM Wyoming Renewable Energy and FAA are researching and evaluating Coordination Office on the publication titled the application of on-demand audio/visual Visual Resource Design and Best Manage- warning systems technology as an alterna- ment Practice Guidelines for Renewable En- tive means to warn aircraft pilots of poten- ergy Development. The guidelines will draw tial risk. The objective is to find acceptable from known global successes in mitigating alternatives that will help preserve night sky visual issues as well as from the current integrity in rural landscape settings. This BLM research projects described above. technology may also lead to opportunities for7.0 Appendices 127
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands 8.0 Acronyms Used in This ReportACEC area of critical environmental FERC Federal Energy Regulatory concern CommissionACOE Army Corps of Engineers FWS Fish and Wildlife ServiceAPD application for permit to drill FY fiscal yearARRA American Recovery and GIS geographical information system Reinvestment Act GW gigawattBIA Bureau of Indian Affairs kWh kilowatt hourBLM Bureau of Land Management LOPP lease of power privilegeBMP best management practice MMS Minerals Management ServiceBOEMRE Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation MOU memorandum of understanding and Enforcement MW megawattBOR Bureau of Reclamation NAAQS National Ambient Air QualityCFR Code of Federal Regulations StandardsDOD Department of Defense NEPA National Environmental Policy ActDOE Department of Energy NFS National Forest SystemDOI Department of the Interior NHPA National Historic Preservation ActEDIN Energy Development in NLCS National Landscape Island Nations Conservation SystemEIS environmtal impact statement NMFS National Marine Fisheries ServiceEPA Environmental Protection Agency NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationEPAct Energy Policy Act of 2005 NPDES National Pollutant DischargeFAA Federal Aviation Administration Elimination System 129
  • New Energy Frontier: Balancing Energy Development on Federal LandsNPS National Park Service SMCRA Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977NREL National Renewable Energy Laboratory SMS Scenery Management SystemOCRM Office of Ocean and Coastal SRMA special recreation management area Resource Management TCF trillion cubic feetOCS Outer Continental Shelf TEPAC Tribal Energy PolicyOIA Office of Insular Affairs Advisory CommitteeOSM Office of Surface Mining TSDF treatment, storage, and Reclamation and Enforcement disposal facilityPEIS programmatic environmental U.S.C. United States Code impact statement USCG U.S. Coast GuardPSD prevention of significant deterioration USDA Department of AgricultureREAT renewable energy action team USFS Forest ServiceRECO renewable energy coordination office USGS U.S. Geological SurveyRMP Resource Management Plan VRI Visual Resource InventorySDZ solar demonstration zone VRM Visual Resource Management130 8.0 Acronyms